Second World War: Trip to Camp David

Army wife talks about accidentally stumbling onto Camp David during the Second World War.

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Gasoline and tires were rationed during the Second World War. We seldom used the car except for my husband, an Army officer, who drove to work six days a week at the newly opened Camp Detrick in Frederick, Maryland. 

One Sunday afternoon we decided we would take our small baby and drive around. We were from the south, and wanted to see the beautiful Maryland country with its apple and cherry orchards.

We found a wooded mountain road and drove up it. It ended in a clearing, with some buildings in the woods beyond. Two men stopped our car.

"You are not supposed to be here," one said. "Turn around and go back. This is private property." We apologized and left.

An item in the paper caught my attention the next week. It stated that President Franklin Roosevelt had spent the weekend relaxing at his secret Shangri-la retreat in the Catoctin Mountains.

We had driven into Shangri-la, which is still used by the presidents, but is now called Camp David.

Gypsy Damaris Boston
Shreveport, Louisiana


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.