This year’s presidential election marks a historic occasion with Hillary Clinton in the running to become the next U.S. president. Clinton has already had a political impact on many different levels. She was the first lady of Arkansas, the first lady of the United States, a U.S. senator, the U.S. secretary of state, and now her current role as the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major party.
Bill and Hillary Clinton have strong ties to Arkansas. The airport in Little Rock was even renamed in honor of the couple. Bill Clinton, the nation’s 42nd president, was born in Hope, grew up in Hot Springs, married Hillary in Fayetteville, served as governor of Arkansas in Little Rock, and made acceptance and celebration speeches in the state when he was elected and re-elected as the U.S. president.
There are a range of attractions across the state for those interested in learning about the Clinton connection in Arkansas. Below is a peek at some of these sites.
The Clinton House Museum in Fayetteville: Bill Clinton married Hillary Rodham in the living room of this bungalow home in the 1970s. Their home in the Ozarks was near the University of Arkansas, which is where the Clintons taught law. The former residence is now a museum that highlights their time in the city via photos, campaign material, and other memorabilia. The home, which is listed on the National Historic Registry, is located at 930 W. Clinton Drive.
Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock: This building at 1200 East President Clinton Avenue has the largest collection of presidential papers and artifacts in the U.S. Here you can learn about the life of Bill Clinton, what life was like in the White House for the president and first family, and his post-presidential work. There is even a replica on site of the Oval Office and Cabinet Room. The Clinton Presidential Park Bridge, which is part of the Arkansas River Trail, is a ramped pedestrian pathway located next to the presidential center. Also adjacent to the center is the Presidential Park Wetlands. This park preserves 13 acres of wetlands along the Arkansas River and is perfect to walk in after a visit to the presidential library. Next door is the historic Choctaw Station, which was built in 1899 and is now the home of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
The Clintons lived in various residences while in Little Rock, including the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, located at 18th and Center streets. A bronze bust of Bill Clinton can be seen on the grounds of the mansion.
Also in town, Bill Clinton announced his bid for the presidency in 1991 at the Old State House Museum at 300 West Markham Street and made acceptance and celebration speeches there when he was elected and re-elected as the U.S. president. The Old State House once served as the first state capitol and is now a museum of Arkansas history.
The small town of Hope in Southwest Arkansas is the birthplace of Bill Clinton. His boyhood home, which is located at 117 South Hervey, is now the President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site. The two-story white frame house belonged to Clinton’s grandparents and is where he lived the first four years of his life. Near the home is the Hope Visitor Center and Museum, which is located in the former Union Pacific Railroad Depot at South Main and Division streets. Exhibits and videos on the history of the town and Clinton’s connection to Hope can be seen here. A hand-carved wooden sign honoring Clinton is located in a park adjacent to the visitor center.
Bill Clinton’s childhood home on Park Avenue in Hot Springs is just blocks from schools he attended and his favorite hangouts. A hand-carved sign honoring him is located in the Hill Wheatley Plaza on Central Avenue downtown.
More information about Clinton sites in Arkansas can be found at www.Arkansas.com/things-to-do/arts/clinton-library.