In the northwestern part of Arkansas, in the heart of the picturesque Ozarks, remarkable for their soft hilly appearance and scented air, the traveler comes across a brick unassuming house, manor-like, built in the Tudor style, sometime in the interwar time. It was built in 1931 precisely, at a time when this popular style of the 1880s was finally leaving room to the all-encompassing modernism.
This Tudor revival building located now on W. Clinton Drive at No. 930 hosts the house where Hillary and Bill Clinton lived in the years 1975-1976, while they were teaching Law at the nearby University of Arkansas. They met at Yale Law School in 1971 (1). Bill Clinton got the house in June 1975 and married Hillary in October that year. They left the house in the last part of 1976 when Clinton family moved to Little Rock as he was named Attorney General of Arkansas. The house was owned by the Clintons until 1983; they rented it to various college students. They sold it afterward to the jazz musician and composer James Greeson, an acclaimed artist and a professor at the University of Arkansas. Many times since then music has been a presence in the house, in both private and public events, thus reminding of the other owner`s known passion for jazz saxophone.
Registered as a National Historic Place since 2010, the house is now a museum that comprises personal objects of Clintons, faithful replicas of the family objects but also comprehensive collections of newspapers and presidential campaign memorabilia, for those interested in contemporary American history. It also gives a personal touch by displaying the picture of Socks, the black and white stray cat of the Clintons which, although it never lived in this very house (2), it surely was a distinguished inhabitant of the White House.
The most impressive part of the manor is the so-called guest room, a comfy hall that kept its original wood beams. Here, the Tudor style features are the most visible, at the level of the window panes, of the peaked and timbered ceiling, but particularly of the fireplace area. The hall contains an inglenook, a small room connected to the fireplace, which was a typical finding in the classic Tudor houses and palaces of 1480-1600. The inglenook of Clinton House catches the attention due to its blue-green tiles, a living testimonial to the fact that Bill Clinton, was good at Law, politics, and music, but also at tiling the floor! Moreover, the guest room is the place where the Clintons held the marriage ceremony. The story says that Hillary did not intend to have a wedding dress. On hearing this, her mother got upset, so the daughter compromised and bought a 50 dollar dress… The museum hosts a replica of the dress.
The other rooms are small square ones, another feature of a Tudor revival construction. The kitchen and the dining room with their vivid colors and vintage air given by the wallpaper, cupboard, and pottery are definitely an eye-catcher. Although the objects are replicas, the design and the type of the items follow the originals almost 100%, hence the effect is guaranteed. Other objects like the doorknobs, the doors, the lamps, the bathroom tap, and tiling are original of the house, so it means they date since 1931.
Notably, the garden behind the house has on display a collection of plants named after the first ladies of the US. It means that all first ladies` favorite flowers have been planted here, in dedication of Hillary Rodham Clinton. The small garden surrounding the house echoes the one of a late nineteenth-century English manor.
If your journey leads you to here, in the beautiful Ozarks, visit this cozy-chic place. Admission is free but donations are welcome. (3)
- Watch Hillary Clinton telling the amusing story of how she and Bill Clinton met: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAlK6zxYknQ [accessed 27th August 2019]
- Socks was born in 1990 and died in 2009
- The Internet Page of the Museum: https://clintonhousemuseum.org