WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the formal establishment of the President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site in Hope, Arkansas.
"We are very proud to include this important historical birthplace home within the National Park System and to interpret the story of President William Jefferson Clinton's early, small-town life for the American public,” Secretary Salazar said. “President Clinton spent his first formative years in Hope and credits his family and the community with helping to shape his understanding of the world and influencing his development into the international statesman that he has become.”
"I am pleased and proud that President Clinton's birthplace home has been formally established as a national historic site," Senator Mark Pryor said. "This is good for Hope, good for tourism, and a fitting tribute to Arkansas's native son."
“I applaud the Administration's action today, which honors former President Clinton, the community of Hope, and the entire state of Arkansas,” Senator Blanche Lincoln said. “Arkansans should feel proud to know that one of our state's notable sites is being preserved after years of work to make this designation a reality.”
“As a 1979 graduate of Hope High School and as the Congressman for the people of Hope, I have worked tirelessly over the past nine years to help reach today's milestone,” said Congressman Mike Ross. “We have always placed great significance on the homes of presidents because they represent the core of what makes America unique in world history: that any person, regardless of his or her beginning, can one day become the leader of the most powerful country in the world. This national historic designation will help protect this important historical landmark and improve economic development in and around Hope by boosting overall tourism for the area. This is a great day and an historic occasion for the people of Hope, the state of Arkansas and the United States as we honor the life and legacy of our 42nd President, Bill Clinton.”
Though Congress had passed legislation and President Obama had signed the bill into law on March 30, 2009, the birthplace home could not be officially established until the property deed had been transferred to the federal government to allow for effective management by the National Park Service. The deed was transferred today.
The unassuming house on Hervey Street was home to the 42nd President of the United States for the first four years of his life. He lived with his widowed mother and maternal grandparents, who helped care for him during the times his mother was in New Orleans pursuing her nursing degree to support her young son.
The Clinton Birthplace Foundation restored the home and opened it to the public in 1997. The National Park Service will have personnel on site and will work closely with the Clinton Birthplace Foundation to transition from private to federal ownership. The official dedication of the site will happen in the spring of 2011.
The home is open to the public for tours.