President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site

Location: Hope, Arkansas

Webpage: National Park

General Description: The President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site is where President Clinton spent the formative years of his life.  Although he only lived in this house until he was four years old, he still considers Hope, Arkansas to be his home.  Bill Clinton was born in 1946 as the son of William Jefferson Blythe Jr who died in an automobile accident three months before Bill was born.  His mother, Virginia, moved to Hope and left Bill with his grandparents as she attended nursing school in New Orleans.  His grandparents, Eldridge and Edith Cassidy, lived in this modest home in the segregated southern town of Hope.  His grandfather owned a small grocery store in town where he extended credit to all races and instilled in Bill the deep felt equality of all races.  His grandmother worked as a home care nurse during the day, taking care of the elderly in town.  In 1950, his mother graduated and returned to Hope where she married Roger Cinton, Sr, a co-owner of automobile dealership in Hot Springs.  They soon moved to Hot Springs where they had Roger Clinton, Jr in 1956.  When Roger Clinton started school, Bill decided to have his name changed to Clinton so his 10 year younger brother would not have to explain why he had a different name.  He was not adopted by his step-father who was a drunken and abusive parent.  He continued to have family living in Hope and would often return for summer vacations and holidays.  From these beginnings Bill Clinton grew up to be the Governor of Arkansas and the 42nd President of the United States.

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Impressions:

1) President Clinton’s home in Hope, Arkansas is a modest size two story home right alongside some busy railroad tracks.  Hope’s only claim to fame is as the crossroads of seven railroad lines and is still very busy today.  There is a very nice film, recently done, that includes a number of clips from Bill Clinton and his childhood friends.

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2) The Park Rangers conduct tours of the inside of the home which they have furnished with period pieces based on old photographs and recollections of the family.  Unfortunately, there are very few artifacts surviving from the time Bill Clinton lived there in the 1940s.