Eldridge Cassidy's Store
1946 to 1956
President Bill Clinton has written and spoken about the importance of his grandfather's influence in his life. Although Eldridge Cassidy died in 1957, when Bill was only ten, it was Eldridge's love and attention, the experiences and events they shared, and especially Eldridge's small store on the corner of Berry and Hazel streets, near Rosehill Cemetery that set the ground for the development of President Clinton's ideas and policies.
Eldridge Cassidy's store was located at the intersection of the black and white communities. Almost every day Billy and the family's little dog Puggie went with Pawpaw Eldridge to that small store, which was a social place as well as a place to buy goods. Billy met a diversity of people there, black and white, prosperous and poor, old and young folks, all sorts of people, and he played with all the kids who came. At a time when segregation and racism were strong in this area, Billy witnessed his grandfather's genial welcome to both the black and white communities. People sat and talked. Mr. Cassidy's store set a tone of dignity and diversity. In this atmosphere young Bill absorbed not only his grandfather's ideas, but saw those beliefs in action every day.
Billy later noticed that his grandfather often gave groceries to people having trouble. He didn't wait for them to ask, he just "added to.". Several visitors to the museum have recounted their experience of being on the receiving end, remembering Mr. Cassidy's kind attention more than the groceries. The visitors speak with sincere appreciation of times when Mr. Cassidy's quiet generosity made all the difference in their family's lives.
A photograph of Eldridge Cassidy has been on President Clinton's desk since he was Attorney General, and has remained on his desks. One of Clinton's long-time friends and advisors remarked once that he had observed instances when Bill was working with a difficult problem and would pause to touch his grandfather's photograph.
NOTE: Transitions in Progress 2010-2011
The Clinton Birthplace Foundation, Inc. gifted President Bill Clinton's 1st Home to the National Parks Service in January 2011, a gift to the nation and the world. Location: 117. S. Hervey St., Hope, AR. Home is open daily for interpretive tours 8:30-4:30. Free.
Interim website: www.nps.gov/history
Telephones: 870-777-4455; 870-722-8508.
The Clinton Birthplace Foundation, Inc. and The Clinton Museums Association of Friends continue to preserve Clinton's 2nd Home at 321 E. 13th St. (passive exhibits through porch windows) and to work with the National Parks to benefit Clinton's 1st Home.
P.O.Box 1925 Hope, Arkansas 71802 | Telephone 870-722-6929
On-line store is pending.
(C) 2009, 2010, 2011 Clinton Birthplace Foundation, Clinton Museum Association of Friends, Clinton Childhood Home Museums