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President Bill Clinton's Hometown Homepage


Bill Clinton
The 42nd President of the United States


William Jeffferson Clinton moved to Hot Springs when he was a second grader from his birthplace in Hope, Arkansas, with his mother, now Mrs. Virginia Kelley, who is a retired licensed certified registered nurse anesthetist. Young Bill's father, William Jefferson Blythe III, had been killed in an automobile accident before Bill was born, so Virginia Blythe carried the responsibility of raising him as a single mother.

Virginia Blythe married Hot Springs native Roger Clinton in 1950, and later Bill took the surname that he carries today.

In, 1953 the Clintons moved to Hot Springs and Bill enrolled in St. John's Catholic School. Even then the nuns recognized in the boy a spark that led them to predict that he was one day "going to be president."


Bill Clinton credits the outstanding teachers of the Hot Springs schools with having an important influence on his life, and many of them have been ardent campaigners in his behalf as his political star was rising.

Friends from those days still recall that young Clinton became personal friends with many of his teachers and credits them with helping form his lifelong commitment to education reform.


Bill Clinton, once enrolled in the Hot Springs Public Schools, attended Ramble Elementary School, where he began acquiring the education and leadership experiences that helped instill in him the qualities that have led him to political success.

At Hot Springs High School, Bill Clinton was an active student politician as well as a leader in the school's activities. He was Band Major and was active in the Beta Club, National Honor Society and chorus. He also was active in the Hot Springs Key Club and the Order of DeMolay.

He became an all-state saxophone player during that time, a talent he gleefully displayed on television shows such as "The Tonight Show" and "The Arsenio Hall Show."


In 1963 he was a Hot Springs High School delegate to Boys State, where he was elected as Arkansas' delegate to Boys Nation. While attending Boys Nation in Washington, D.C., Mr. Clinton had an experience that set him on the road to political greatness: He shook hands with President John F. Kennedy. A photograph of that meeting, only four months before President Kennedy was assassinated, is one of President Clinton's proudest possessions.


Bill Clinton attended Park Place Baptist Church in Hot Springs and formed close and lasting relationships with Hot Springs classmates and civic leaders.

Bill Clinton's education and active youth in Hot Springs gave him the back-ground and experiences that enabled him to gain admission to Georgetown University and later saw him become a Rhodes Scholar and a Yale Law School graduate.


  1. HIGH SCHOOL PROMS- Central at the fountain. The Arlington Resort Hotel's Crystal Ballroom is where President Clinton attended both his Junior and Senior Proms.

  2. SENIOR PARTY- 201 Central. The top floor of the DeSoto Hotel, now closed, was the site of President Clinton's Senior Party.

    President Clinton recounted a story about that night during the opening of Mountain Valley Water's International Headquarters across the street, that at the Senior Party he had lost his wallet and his mother was "pretty upset about it."

  3. GRADE SCHOOL- Off Park Avenue at Ramble and Ramble Terrace. Ramble Elementary. Now the location of the First Apostolic Church, the red brick auditorium is all that remains of the original school.

    A fellow classmate remembers students marching into the auditorium every morning for pledge, prayer and song.

    Another remembers lunchtime assemblies where President Clinton, who was in the city-wide grade school band program under George Gray, would play his saxophone.

  4. EARLY BOYHOOD HOME- 1011 Park Avenue. President Clinton was eight when the family moved into this home. They resided there from 1954 until 1961 when the family, including his German Shepherd, moved to his new home on Scully.

    In his youth, the President was responsible for yard upkeep on both the family homes.

  5. CHURCH- 721 Park Avenue. Park Place Baptist Church is where President Clinton was baptized.

    The President's mother recounted that he never missed a Sunday. Often she had to work, so, on his own, he would pick up his Bible and walk to the church.

  6. HAMBURGER HANGOUT- 510 Park Avenue. The Polar Bar, now Bailey's Dairy Treat, was owned by the father of Bill's good friend, Ronnie Cecil.

    President Clinton and his friends would walk down and enjoy the dairy and grill delights. His favorite was a chili cheeseburger with a Grapette, a locally produced soft drink.

  7. SENIOR BANQUET- 217 Park Avenue. As part of graduation ceremonies, the Roundtable Restaurant, now Trumpets, was the site of President Clinton's Senior Banquet.

  8. WEEKEND DANCES- 500 Quapaw Avenue. The Quapaw Community Center is now housed in the buildings that were the YM and YW during President Clinton's school days. The "Y" was the site of weekend dances for area high school kids.

    These were also the sites of special "swung pretty hard with some cool jazz" performances of President Clinton's jazz trio The Three Kings. They were sometimes referred to as the Three Blind Mice because of the dark sunglasses they wore.

  9. MOUNTAIN VISTA- West Mountain. The view of the city below from near the sheltered overlook on West Mountain Loop was the President's favorite.

    He and friends would look for the "duck"- the outline that the street lamps made below.

  10. ICE CREAM 314 Albert Pike. Cook's Ice Cream was both the manufacturing site and the soda fountain location for the product. Gene Lockwood's SportsMart is now located in the original building. This was a favorite place to go after the dances at the "Y."

  11. BARBECUE- 505 Albert Pike. McClards Bar-B-Que was "the" place when President Clinton and his friends craved barbecue. It is owned by the father of fellow classmate, Brenda Thompson.

    McClards was chosen by NBC Weathercaster Willard Scott as "the country's best" in his cookbook.

    An old photo of McClard's was used during the opening of CBS sitcom "Evening Shade" which is set in Arkansas.

  12. LATER BOYHOOD HOME- 213 Scully. Located between Summer and 7th, off Wheatley, was the family home from 1961 to 1964, the year when President Clinton went to Georgetown University on a full scholarship- the only college to which he applied.

    The two blocks of land directly in front of the home were peony fields; grown in Springs and harvested in time for Mother's Day each year. His yard was adjacent to the yard of the Yelldell family, home to lifelong friend, Carolyn Yelldell Staley, who now resides in Little Rock. Carolyn went to Girls Nation the same summer the President went to Boys Nation. Both met then President John F. Kennedy during that event.

  13. BOWLING 3917 Central Avenue. President Clinton and his friends spent many hours trying to knock down pins at Central Bowling Lanes.

  14. MASONIC TEMPLE- 311 West Grand. This is where the DeMolays met. President Clinton served as Master Counselor of DeMolays while in high school. He also received his Degree of Chevalier, which is the highest honor an active DeMolay can receive.

  15. JUNIOR AND SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS- 215 Oak. Located one block off Central Avenue via Orange Street. This structure was the High School until 1968; the Junior High was the adjacent building. The building, now closed, recently served as Hot Springs Middle School.

    In the field house just behind the school is where President Clinton received his numerous scholastic awards during Senior Awards Day assembly.

    As a member of the Trojan Band, the President played numerous concerts in the field house. During basketball games, especially, he would lead the "wild-n-crazy" Trojan Pep Band.

  16. MOVIE THEATER- 817 Central Avenue. The Malco was the theater most often visited by the President and his friends for first-run motion pictures. They liked to sit in the middle, way up front.

    Favorite movie times were during the summer months when the local theater would have all-day movies where admission was RC Cola bottle caps.


Hot Springs National Park is proud to have been the boyhood hometown of President Bill Clinton.

The world--famous resort city is credited by Mr. Clinton as being responsible for the early educational experiences that led him to a career in the public service first as Arkansas Attorney General, then Governor of Arkansas and now, President of the United States.

The schools, churches, friends and natural environment of Hot Springs receive credit from Mr. Clinton and his family for instilling in him many of the values and experiences that have made him a world leader.


Hot Springs has always been a special place. President Andrew Jackson made Hot Springs the first Federal Reservation in 1832, the first piece of America protected for future generations. Hot Springs was, in essence, America's first national park.

Hot Springs is America's favorite spa, a world-famous resort built around the thermal waters. In the beautifully restored National Park area, you'll experience the architectural treasures of the bath houses, Victorian building, art and sculpture galleries, interesting and educational museums and attractions. Historic Hot Springs is a European-style spa providing rest and relaxation, yet just across the street are shops, restaurants and attractions- an unusual blend of nature and commerce which has lured visitors for 150 years.


Information found at this website was gathered through interviews with President Clinton's classmates, Carolyn Yelldell Staley, Paul David Leopoulos, Mike Turbyfill and Carolyn Jackson Neff, and the President's mother, Mrs. Virginia Kelley.

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