Biographical / Historical
The Cozy Inn was an eighty five year old business when it closed in 2014. Located on a major highway near Gettysburg and the Catoctin Mountains, Wilbur Freeze started what was then called Camp Cozy in 1929, with just three cabins, later adding a gas station to attract tourists, and in the 1930s, he added in a small lunch counter, and eventually a full service restaurant. It is an excellent example of a 20th century business that started small and grew large, increasing the services offered over time. The Inn grew both in size and popularity, and the Freezes added entertainment attractions in order to increase business, including festivals and special offerings for various holidays. Some of the attractions were eccentric, such as hot air balloons and live animal shows.
In 1942, the presidential retreat Camp David (then known as Shangri-La) was established just six miles away. This led to the Cozy Inn becoming the headquarters for Secret Service agents, reporters and photographers during events that occurred at Camp David. Sometimes foreign dignitaries stayed there. State and local politicians such as members of the Senate, governors of states, cabinet members, and Presidents' family members, also were guests.
The Freezes were fond of boasting that they were the oldest family-run restaurant in the state. They also capitalized on their proximity to Camp David, using the fact in their advertising and naming the Inn's rooms after presidents. In 2005, they started a small Museum on the history of the Inn, its famous guests, and its connection to Camp David. They also sold souvenirs that related to that connection. They regularly hosted weddings and other events and were famous for their lavish holiday decorations. At Christmas they set up gingerbread houses, multiple Christmas trees, a miniature railroad village, etc. The Cozy Inn's restaurant cultivated a large number of repeat, loyal customers with its family atmosphere and comfort food. Some of its dishes became locally famous, like its clam chowder.