The home where the man from Hope spent the first four years of his life became the 394th unit of the National Park System by legislation signed by President Barak Obama in 2009.
The two and one-half story frame house on Hervey Street in Hope, Arkansas, was home to the president-to-be; his widowed mother, Virginia; and maternal grandparents, Eldridge and Edith Grisham Cassidy; from his birth in 1946 to 1950.
Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, was born at the Julia Chester Hospital on August 19, 1946, as William Jefferson Blythe III, named for his late father who had died in an auto accident three months earlier (Clinton later took the surname Clinton from his stepfather after his mother’s remarriage in 1950).
The Cassidy family began living in the house in 1938 and purchased the home—an American foursquare, a popular home design with four rooms on each floor, which form a cube—in 1946. Many foursquare houses were built in neighborhoods across the U.S. between 1900 and 1930. The Clinton house dates from 1917. The restored interior includes original details like the living room staircase, a small kitchen pantry, flooring, and bead-board paneling in rooms on the second floor.
Clinton’s parents Virginia and Bill planned to both return to the Cassidy home in Hope for the birth of their child. The father-to-be insisted that his wife travel by air and that he would come by car. Tragically, he died in an accident en route.
Clinton spent much time with his maternal grandparents and extended family while living on Hervey Street as his mother was away often completing her nursing studies. It is said that his grandmother taught him numbers by pinning playing cards to the kitchen curtains.
The non-profit Clinton Birthplace Foundation, Inc. acquired the home in 1994 and opened the restored house as a museum in 1997. An Exhibit Center is adjacent to the home and features exhibits on Clinton’s childhood, personal and political life, family history, and friends from Hope. It also houses a museum store with Clinton’s favorite books and Fair Trade craft items reflecting the Clinton Global Initiative.
The home is open to the public for tours.