August 17, 2005 11:06 AM
Hope Springs Eternal
Little Rock and environs are enjoying the fruits of what tourists are calling the "Billgrimage": Visits to Little Rock's recently opened Bill Clinton Presidential spilling over to the Bubba birthplace 115 miles away in (a place called) Hope. Clinton Birthplace director Crystal Altenbaumer reports that the site turned its first profit last year after being $51,000 in the red the year before. Curiously, though, it seems few of the visitors stay long:
Many, [Altenbaumer] said, simply drive by the house and slow down, but don't have time to see the memorabilia, the house's 1946 decor, rotating photograph exhibits on loan from the library archive and the gift shop.
Mainly, though, it's that close-up view of the animatronic pony-ride-on-the-ex-president's-lap display that causes the casual drive-by tourists to speed up with such alacrity. -- HOLLY MARTINS
Clinton Fans Make "Billgrimage" to Arkansas [AP, via CNN]