He rarely comes here himself. But President Obama chose to meet Thursday with representatives from the Mideast at Camp David.

Known formally as the Naval Support Facility Thurmont, Camp David is in wooded hills about 60 miles northwest of the nation’s capital. It’s a military installation in Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland staffed primarily by the Navy and Marine Corps. The camp was built for federal employees in the 1930s.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt converted it to a presidential retreat in the 1940s, renamed it Shangri-La and modeled the main lodge after his family’s winter vacation home in Warm Springs, Ga. President Dwight D. Eisenhower later renamed what had become the president’s country residence in honor of his grandson, David.

This is Obama’s 37th visit to Camp David, according to CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller, who maintains an authoritative record of presidential activities. By contrast, George W. Bush had made 122 visits at this same stage of his presidency, totaling 149 by the end of his second term. Bill Clinton, in his eight years, made 54 visits. Ronald Reagan made 86 visits. Eisenhower made 43 visits in eight years.

McClatchy Washington Bureau