The Clinton Presidential Center was the highlight of Little Rock. I stayed at an RV Park right on the banks of the Arkansas River, and simply walked across a pedestrian bridge to the entrance of the Clinton Presidential Center.
Here’s a few quirky stories related to the Clinton Presidential Center:
Nearly President Blythe
It was really, or nearly, President William Jefferson Blythe. The future president was born William Jefferson Blythe, three months after his father was killed. His mother later married Roger Clinton, and the young Billy adopted the Clinton name. He officially changed his last name while in high school.
And he does not stand alone in the name changes among presidents. 38th President Gerald Ford was actually born a King, well at least his last name was officially King. His parents divorced and his mother later married a Ford, and the last name of a future president was changed.
Bullet Proof Presidential Limo
We are all familiar to some degree with the bullet-proof limousine used by presidents. The specific limo used by President Clinton durinh his tenure is on display at the Clinton Presidential Center.
A bullet-proof vehicle with additional security measures was not used to transport presidents until 1941. So how did a bullet-proof limo for the president get started?
In 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor, there was an immediate need to heighten security of the president – even on American soil. There was also urgency, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt was preparing to leave the White House for a short trip to Capial Hill for the Declaration of War that would bring the United States squarely into World War II.
There was a bullet-proof car, known as Sunshine Special, that was sitting behind the U.S. Treasury building. The car had actually been seized from Al Capone when he was sentenced to Alcatraz prison. Capone’s car was hastily brought out of storage and served as the official Presidential Limo for the trip to Capital Hill, as well as the next two years until the first bullet-proof presidential limo was delivered.
Oval Office a Little Short
Inside the Bill Clinton Presidential Center is an exact replica of the Oval Office. That in itself is somewhat ironic – that the Oval Office would be selected as a significant portion of the Clinton Presidential Center.
Regardless, every aspect, dimension, photo and decor of the Oval Office has been meticously replicated. During the final stage of construction on the second floor of the new Clinton Presidential Center, one of President Clinton’s staff members was being escorted through the new replica to ensure every detail of the Oval Office was accurately replicated.
The staff member commented that something was just not right, the room did not have the same feel as the Oval Office. Every measurement was re-checked and sure enough the ceiling was seven inches shorter than the actual Oval Office in the White House. With considerable effort and an additional $600,000, the ceiling was raised by seven inches to be an exact replica.
While in high school in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Bill Clinton participated as a senator in Boys Nation, a program where two high school students from each state are selected to travel to Washington, D.C. and learn about the workings of the government.
While on this high school trip, Bill Clinton shook hands with President Kennedy. A photo of this handshake appeared in Bill Clinton’s high school yearbook. That yearbook turned out to be like no other. Bill Clinton’s high school yearbook is the only high school yearbook that contains a photo of two presidents.
Washed Ashore is a temporary exhibit featured at the Clinton Presidential Library. The artwork made from plastic waste found along beaches is the work of Angela Haseltine Pozzi.
For more than 35 years, Pozzi has used the beautiful art to educate others and bring attention to the oceans and the amount of plastic and other waste.
Washed Ashore encourages everyone to Leave No Trace… the next time you travel to the beach, river, or any wilderness, leave only footprints and take only photographs, memories and trash home.
President Bill Clinton
Don’t forget to click on these links to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram!
Here’s another Presidential Library I recently visited: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library
Thanks to everyone who has joined me on this journey as I live and travel full-time in my RV! I enjoy sharing my experiences with you.