You simply can’t go to Arkansas without paying homage to its most famous politician. No, not Mike Huckabee. Of course, I’m talking about Bill Clinton, former Arkansas Governor and 42nd President of the United States.
Bill Clinton’s legacy is everywhere around Arkansas, and you’ll run into his trusted (and sometimes mistrusted) face in gift shops throughout The Natural State. In Little Rock, you can also visit Clinton’s presidential library — but I decided for me, that might lead to Slick Willy overload. So, I opted to explore the halls of power which he once roamed, at the Arkansas State Capitol building.
It doesn’t take long before you find Bill Clinton’s portrait hanging on the wall in the capitol building.
[tmt_info =””]Bill Clinton was the 40th and 42nd Governor of Arkansas, serving from 1979-1981, and again from 1983-1992. [/tmt_info]
The Arkansas State Capitol Building is everything you’d expect in a grand state capitol building. The marble on the floors came from Vermont, the columns from Colorado, and the wide staircases from Alabama. The exterior walls were quarried from Batesville, Arkansas, while the dome came from Indiana limestone.
[tmt_info =””]The Arkansas State Capitol Building is open to visitors 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. After you check in (at a desk that’s just past the security checkpoint), you’re free to wander around on your own.[/tmt_info]
From each level, you can look down into the vast space below the rotunda. Up above, there’s a suspended light fixture that weighs two tons.
[tmt_info =””]Smaller stairways lead to the third floor, where you can gain access to the House and Senate galleries. [/tmt_info]
If the doors are unlocked, you can walk through the galleries above the House and Senate chambers. These pictures are from the senate chamber, where 35 senators are seated, when the assembly is in session.
Above the desks, there’s a sunroof. Stained glass was added to cut down on the sunlight, and the drapes help dampen reflected sound.
Back on the second floor, on the opposite end of the building from the Governor’s office, you can check out the former Supreme Court chamber. The Arkansas high court used this room from 1912 (3 years before the capitol building was completely finished) until 1958. Now the Supreme Court meets in the nearby Justice Building.
[tmt_info =””]You can also visit the building that served as Arkansas’ capitol, before the current building was finished. The Old State House is located on President Clinton Avenue (a.k.a 1st Street or Markham Street). Drive a little further, and you’ll find the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park (the Clinton Library).[/tmt_info]
Here’s a time-lapse, dash-cam video of my drive around Little Rock, Arkansas: