I Love the Ark-La-Tex: Bill Clinton's first house

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 7:18pm

Growing up, I was sure I was going to be president. Now, I know that's probably not going to happen, so I live vicariously through other presidents, touring the houses they grew up in. With President Bill Clinton's first house in the Ark-La-Tex, there was no way I wasn't going to check it out.

But boy, was I surprised when I got there; the house was huge, but a park ranger at the house told me appearances weren't as they seemed. Everybody in the Clinton house worked to pay the rent on the massive house, and they moved there after their farm was foreclosed on during the Great Depression,

During my tour, I met some visitors from Manchester, England, and they too were impressed by the size of the house, as well was what was inside.

Clinton's mother, Virginia, toured the house to help state it for the museum. She ensured that it was full of authentic items from the 40's and 50's with touches of the family throughout.

One of the personal touches are flash cards above the kitchen table, where toddler Bill first sat down to start his studies. In his bedroom, young Bill's bed has Hopalong Cassidy bed spread and is a picture of him dressed as Hopalong.

Visitors have told the park rangers many times, that Clinton's first house is one of the few president's homes that they can connect to. They are hoping that connection will result in a future president.

And now is your chance to help build the future of the Clinton Birth House and museum.

The National Park Service (NPS) is preparing a Cultural Landscape Report and Environmental Assessment (CLR/EA) to identify key landscape features within President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site (the park) and to provide recommendations for protecting the site while accommodating visitor use.

The purpose of the proposed action is to guide management, treatment, and use of the landscape at the site. Treatment recommendations would focus on specific components of the landscape to assist the NPS in managing the historic property, provide support for neighboring landowners interested in preservation, and establish a foundation of information that will permit the development of an interpretive program at the site.

The proposed action is needed at this time to provide park staff with a detailed plan that supports cultural resource management in accordance with NPS planning and management policies. The site is also in need of guidance for providing necessary visitor services, including accessibility, while minimizing impacts on the cultural landscapes. The site, which was established as part of the national park system in December 2010 and dedicated in April 2011, is still relatively new. As such, plans and policies for management of the site have not yet been established.

The CLR/EA is 75% complete and three treatment alternatives have been developed. The NPS is conducting a public open house from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., May 30, 2013. The open house will be held in Room 203 of the Student Center building on the campus of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope. UACCH is located at 2500 S. Main St. The purpose of the open house is to offer the public an opportunity to learn about the preliminary schematic treatment alternatives and to provide comments on them.

Information about the planning process and the CLR/EA is posted at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/wicl.

The park is currently inviting public comments regarding potential issues and concerns that should be considered during the planning process. We welcome your input on the CLR/EA. To share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns with us, we encourage you to comment electronically via the website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/wicl


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