Late September is vacation time. Being in retail, as the holiday season approaches, it gets harder to get time off so we try to go around this time of year, before the holidays and after school has resumed to lessen the crowds. When Momma said she wanted to go to Arkansas I was all in as it was a State I had never been to. So the plan was to do two nights in Hot Springs in the Ouachita( wash-i- ta) Mountains and two nights in Eureka Springs, the southern gateway to the Ozarks. We also planned a trip to the Clinton Library in Little Rock but it was closed due to Covid-19.
We were speeding up the freeway and came to Hope, Arkansas and decided to stop at the birthplace home.
This small historical site we were to learn has the second longest name in the National Park Service system. What could be longer? Well, we learned that the NPS site with the longest name by letter count is the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and Battlefield.
The Clinton Birthplace Home contains two buildings the actual home and a neighbors house that was purchased to be the visitor center. There is a short film about the first years of Clinton’s life in Hope, 4 years before the family moved to Hot Springs.
We then took a short tour of the home. The house is at the corner of Hervey and Division streets along the railroad tracks. Clinton’s grandfather ran a store across the tracks in the black neighborhood. Clinton hung out there with his grandfather and played with the black children, one of the few white kids allowed to do so.
Inside the place was decorated with period furniture but none of which was owned by Clinton’s grandparents.
Yes Clinton was raised his first years by his Grandparents. Shortly before his birth his natural father died in a car accident. His mother moved in with her parents to have her baby and spent most of his early years in New Orleans attending nursing school.
Although the house looks large compared to some around it, Clinton’s grandparents were in no way that well to do. His grandfather ran a lot of credit in his store, his grandmother did in house nursing throughout the neighborhood. They had a large house because when they purchased it in 1938 the country was still coming out of the Depression and there was no market for large homes so it was purchased on the cheap.
After Clinton became President a committee was formed to purchase and restore the house which was in bad shape. The town then gave it to the NPS to develop the National Historic Site
It was a quick stop as it takes just a few minutes to go through the house (downstairs only) and look at pictures of the upstairs. Safety concerns I guess.