Sunday, May 3, 2015

Old Mill at T R Pugh Memorial Park - Little Rock - 4/18/2015

Sigrid had a secondary target to visit as we left Little Rock to head home.  As she checked out tourist site for Little Rock, she found the Old Mill at T R Pugh Memorial Park.  The mill was built in 1933 as a park attraction and was never actually used as a mill.  The mill was used as a backdrop for the opening credits on the movie "Gone With the Wind" so it has gained recognition for that fact.

The park is just beautiful and another place where many a wedding and photos have been taken.  A wedding just completed as we arrived.

Sigrid and Edel check out the mill.

We did take advantage of all the great photo ops that the park presents.

After the park visit, we headed for home.  It has been a great five day vacation.  It has also been a really good test for my less than 3 month old hip replacement.  I don't know how many miles we walked over the five days, but it was a lot for me.  The new hip did great.

Little Rock, Arkansas River Market Area - 4/17/2015

We worked up an appetite touring the Clinton Library so we headed to the River Market area which is just down the street from the library.  We left our car parked at the library and took the free shuttle tram to the Market.  The tram takes you to the Clinton Gift Shop in the Market area so you can buy some last minute souvenirs.  I don't know why they don't have the shop in the library, but they don't.  Maybe they needed more room to display all the plastic saxophones.  When you are done shopping, the tram will take you back to the library parking lot.  We did much more sightseeing in the Market than we did shopping.

The River Market reminds me of the Westport area of Kansas City or the KC River Quay before the mob blew it up....old buildings with lots of clubs and restaurants.

The Flying Fish was the top ranked restaurant in the River Market area.  It was a fun dining experience.  Sigrid loved her crab legs.  I was not as impressed with the catfish....too much breading not enough fish.

President Clinton Ave runs from the River Market to the library.

An indoor food court at the Market.

We ended up eating at Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken.  Another fun experience.  The chicken was good but Popeye's remains my favorite (better than Strouds).

We were there after the lunch crowd but before dinner.

Edel and Sigrid anxiously waiting for the chicken.

Sigrid deep in thought.

This riverfront theater would be a great place for a small concert.

The two Farmers Market buildings.

You can see the large letters on top of the building in this photo.  The letters face the river.  The second building has the "Rock" on it.

After lunch, Sigrid wanted to visit the Little Rock Central High School.  It had shown up as a historical landmark as she did internet research for our trip.  I told her it was a pretty shaky part of town and there was risk involved particularly with all our our recent racial tensions around the country.  She still wanted to go so we did.  Before we got to the high school, she was scared to death by the neighborhood and the less than friendly faces and begged me to get out of there but we were already committed.  We did a quick drive by and photo and then headed for the hotel.

In case you don't know the history, here is what Wikipedia has to say:
The Little Rock Nine were a group of nine African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Their enrollment was followed by the Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Orval Faubus, the Governor of Arkansas. They then attended after the intervention of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 347 U.S. 483, on May 17, 1954. Tied to the 14th Amendment, the decision declared all laws establishing segregated schools to be unconstitutional, and it called for the desegregation of all schools throughout the nation.[1] After the decision, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) attempted to register black students in previously all-white schools in cities throughout the South. In Little Rock, the capital city of Arkansas, the Little Rock School Board agreed to comply with the high court's ruling. Virgil Blossom, the Superintendent of Schools, submitted a plan of gradual integration to the school board on May 24, 1955, which the board unanimously approved. The plan would be implemented during the fall of the 1957 school year, which would begin in September 1957.

By 1957, the NAACP had registered nine black students to attend the previously all-white Little Rock Central High, selected on the criteria of excellent grades and attendance.[2] The nicknamed "Little Rock Nine" consisted of Ernest Green (b. 1941), Elizabeth Eckford (b. 1941), Jefferson Thomas (1942–2010), Terrence Roberts (b. 1941), Carlotta Walls LaNier (b. 1942), Minnijean Brown (b. 1941), Gloria Ray Karlmark (b. 1942), Thelma Mothershed (b. 1940), and Melba Pattillo Beals (b. 1941). Ernest Green was the first African American to graduate from Central High School.

Later that night we walked from the hotel, which was in the River Market area, to Dugan's Irish Pub for one of the best meals of the trip.

William J Clinton Presidential Library - Little Rock, Arkansas - 4/17/2015

Today, we will check the box on the last major goal of our driving trip when we tour the Clinton Presidential Library.  We have been to the Eisenhower and Truman Libraries so it will be interesting to see how this one stacks up against them.

The library is part of a campus which includes the Clinton School of Public Service. The Clinton School’s main campus is located at Sturgis Hall in the historic Choctaw Station of the Rock Island Railroad. A generous grant from the Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable and Educational Trust funded the renovation of the Choctaw Station, which has two classrooms fitted with advanced audiovisual technology, a commons, student lounge area, library reading room, administrative and faculty offices, and conference areas.  Also on campus is Heifer International, a charitable/educational organization.  Heifer International's mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.  We also toured the Heifer Center after the library.
The library is located in downtown Little Rock and on the banks of the Arkansas River.  We thought all the staff members had gather at the front door to greet us but then three busloads of high school students drove up and then we knew the truth.

The library acquired an old railroad bridge so now there is a Clinton Bridge to add to the campus attractions.

The Library Park has extensive walking trails along the river bank.

Edel and Sigrid on the bridge.

Clinton's presidential limo.

The library has a modern-industrial feel to it that I never warmed up to.  It looks like a warehouse on the outside and it is very sterile looking inside.  This is different from the other two libraries we visited.  On the other hand, those libraries are older and built around artifacts from a different time so that may be part of the issue.

A recreated Presidential Cabinet Room.

The columns hold hundreds of paper binder boxes.  It looks impressive but my guess is that they are empty since referring to anything inside would be disruptive to the library and inconvenient to reach given the height of the columns. 

One of Bill's saxophones.

Each year of Clinton's presidency is summarized on a panel.  After looking at them, you realize that not much really happened in the 8 years.  The most notable things were the failure of Hillary Care, the Kosovo war, and Welfare Reform.  The Welfare Reform was an impressive piece of bipartisan legislation that has largely been gutted since it was passed.

Presidents receive truck loads of gifts from individual people, businesses, and foreign countries.  Presidents keep very little of what is given due to rules requiring reimbursement/taxes on gifts kept.  It is okay to display them in a library like this.

A White House table setting.

More saxophones.

The Oval Office recreated as it was when Bill was there.

The high school kids that we saw at the entrance undergoing some kind of training program.

A blown glass tree given to the Clintons for use in the White House during the 1999 holiday season.

I had a few cute/mean things I could say, but I won't.

It is time for lunch and to explore the River Market in Little Rock.