I know this entry is REALLY, REALLY late being posted. I sat down several times to get it done, and was sidetracked by all that has been going on in November & December, as well as just enjoying Austin & Fort Worth!! Oh well, better late than never, right?!
We left Boulder, CO for Austin, TX and traveled via Abilene, Kansas. It really wasn’t too far out of the way and we really wanted to add to our list of presidential museums visited. Anyone know which of our presidents grew up in Abilene, KS?? If you said Eisenhower, you were right! It was well worth the trip, as all of our visits to the presidential museums have been.
The Eisenhowers lived in this house from 1898 until mother Ida died in 1946. It is located on its original site and contains furniture and items left by Mrs. Eisenhower.
This table was used by General Eisenhower and other Allied commanders during planning sessions for Operation Overlord. On May 8, 1955 the table was presented to President Eisenhower to commemorate the tenth anniversary of VE Day.
When it was retired from service in 1956 it registered nearly 200,000 miles and was using its third engine.
A “typical” 1950 home
Dwight D. Eisenhower
One of the highlights of the Eisenhower center was the display of artwork titled “War and Peace” done by a woman named Shin-Hee Chin. A native of South Korea and now professor of fine art at a U.S. college, she is recognized as a leader in the world of contemporary fiber arts and is personally connected with Eisenhower and his impact on the Korean peninsula. Every piece of work you see here is done in some type of fiber or cloth.
“In the 80-year span covered the causes of war have changed, but the nature of war remains unchanged. No war is justified, yet, every life is marred in some way by the misfortunes of war. These three woman have seen times of war and times of peace…”
This piece is titled “Comfort Women” and is a tribute to the thousands of young Korean women, aged 10-18 years, who were forcibly removed from their homes to serve as sex slaves in Japanese military camps throughout the Japanese involvement in the Asian-Pacific wars. Each square is actually the photograph of a woman’s face, created in fabric.
This is titled “38th Parallel” in reference to the latitude line that has divided North and South Korea since the war ended in 1953. Did you know that the 38th parallel also happens to cross through the state of Kansas, thereby serving not only as a divider but also as a connective thread between America and Korea?
While in Abilene we found out the there is an Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas (where else would it be?!) so we HAD to make that trip. This side trip was also well worth it, especially if you’re a Wizard of Oz fan.
In one of the museum rooms the motion picture was playing
After Wamego our route took us through Topeka, which was one of the sites where Brown vs. Board of Education was put to the test. We stopped at the National Historic Site there.
The cases consolidated in Brown vs. Board of Education were deliberately drawn from different areas of the country. Topeka was chosen as the lead case because the African American schools there were essentially equal to white schools, so segregation itself, not equality, would be the issue in question.
Our route then took us close enough to Arkansas that we decided the Clinton Presidential Museum would be our next detour. We arrived in Little Rock shortly thereafter and spent a full afternoon touring the library and museum. While at the museum we found out that the town in which Bill Clinton spent most of his childhood, Hot Springs, AR, was on our route to Fort Worth. Naturally we planned to stop there. Our route also took us past Clinton’s birthplace, Hope, Arkansas, and we stopped there briefly also.
Clinton’s presidential limo, a 1993 Fleetwood Cadillac, is parked just inside the entrance to the museum. Clinton’s is the first presidential museum built after 9/11, so it is the first to have extensive security measures in place. All other museums will eventually be equipped similarly.
The Clinton Presidential Park Bridge, formerly know as the Rock Island Railroad Bridge, was constructed in 1899 by the Choctaw and Memphis Railroad with a lift span added in 1972. Due to bankruptcy, the bridge was closed in 1980. The city of Little Rock acquired the bridge in 2001 to complete the eastern loop of the 14-mile Arkansas River Trail.
Our next stop in Little Rock was the Central High School National Historic Site. In September 1957 this high school became a crucial battleground in the struggle for civil rights. Our nation watched as nine African-American teenagers attempted to enter the all-white school only to be turned away by the Arkansas National Guard troops. The crisis that followed put on trial America’s commitment to its founding principles. Today the high school still operates as a public school with more than 2400 students in attendance.
Once named “America’s Most Beautiful High School”, Central High was known for its size (100 classrooms; capacity for more than 2000 students; a huge auditorium and stage) and its beautiful Art Deco blended with Gothic Revival styles.
In the Central High Commemorative Garden, in a park across the street from the school, reflective arches echo the school facade and symbolize triumph over intolerance. Nine trees and benches honor the nine students.
We left Little Rock and headed for Hot Springs, Arkansas, the town where Bill Clinton spent most of his youth. Just outside of Hot Springs on top of Hot Springs Mountain is the Mountain Tower, from which you can see 70-mile views in every direction. First built in 1877, it rises 216 feet above the ground.
View of Hot Springs, Arkansas from the top level of the Tower
The park is about 55 miles southwest of Little Rock in the ZigZag Mountains on the eastern edge of the Ouachita Mountains. The hot springs are located on the lower western side of Hot Springs Mountain. The restored Fordyce Bathhouse is in the middle of Bathhouse Row and now serves as the National Park Visitor Center.
Something that has definitely changed since the first hot spring opened is the prices!
In the 1800’s, springs were considered a practically guaranteed source of safe-to-drink water. In the early 1900’s people sipped at almost every seep in Hot Springs National Park. Today the Park Service provides specific fountains where visitors may collect the water. Though it does not claim the water is curative, it DOES certify that it is safe to drink! It dispenses at a lovely 143 degrees.
Ozark Bathhouse re-opened as a Museum of Contemporary Art of Hot Springs in the 1960’s
Historic Arlington Hotel stands at the intersection of Central Avenue and Fountain Street. Originally opened in 1875, it was razed & rebuilt in 1893. Parts of this structure were destroyed by fire in 1924, though much of it remains today and is still in use.
By the time we arrived in Hope, Arkansas it was well past dark and everything was closed so we only got a glimpse through the windows of the home where Bill Clinton’s birth parents lived at the time of his birth
We bought tickets a year in advance, & they were well worth it!
As the weathermen had predicted, Saturday turned out to be a VERY wet, rain soaked day. But in spite of the downpour and the tons of mud we encountered where once there had been grass, we enjoyed many hours of music.
Roberta’s son Mike was planning to make some improvements to their home in Austin, so naturally Dave pitched in to help out. Here Dave is chopping up some old dead trees to use as firewood in the fire pit that Mike plans to build in his backyard, along with a new patio. Little did Dave know that this was just the beginning of a LOOOONG month of work!!
Unfortunately, Dave discovered poison ivy in Mike’s backyard! After two days of pure misery, Roberta dragged him, kicking and screaming, to a local doctor. (He thanked her later!) He eventually recovered completely (and fearlessly went back to work in the yard.)
And now for November……I promise you won’t have to wait TOOOO long for that update 🙂