When I originally posted this blog, I misidentified the retreat as Pine Knob.
The indefatigable researcher (and old house aficionado) Mark Hardin sent me an email and said, “The name is not Pine Knob, but Pine Knot,” and he also sent me a link that contains much contemporary information about the place, including an address!
This early 20th Century version of Camp David is located at 711 Coles Rolling Road, Keene, Virginia. According to that website, the 15-acre farm was purchased by Edith Roosevelt (Teddy’s wife) from the estate of William Wilmer, and included a fairly new “worker’s cottage,” which would become their first couple’s little love nest.
It was Edith that named the property, “Pine Knot,” and it was Edith that hired workers to do a little upgrading to the property (although it’s hard to imagine what these “upgrades” could have been).
Total cost of renovations and property: $280.
The website states, “After their first visit there together in June 1905, Teddy Roosevelt wrote to one of his sons, ‘Mother is a great deal more pleased with it than any child with any toy I ever saw.’”
Edith and Teddy’s retreat is (and was) extremely primitive, lacking indoor plumbing and electricity.
The amazing story of this “new” retreat first appeared in the Spring 1906 issue of American Carpenter and Builder. The article included photos about the new presidential retreat, built for president Theodore Roosevelt (26th president, 1901-1909).
This amazing piece in American Carpenter and Builder also included photos of the staff, and they were a pretty rugged looking group.
And I found this in the December 1905 New York Times.
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