The boyhood home of President Bill Clinton is today a private residence located at 1011 Park Avenue in the northern part of Hot Springs (Garland County). On May 18, 1995, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Also known as the Birnbaum-Shubetz House, it was constructed between 1896 and 1900, originally built in the Queen Anne style and redesigned in the Tudor Revival style in 1938. Although a two-story wood frame structure, it appears to be one and a half stories due to a steeply pitched gabled roof. Its exterior is stucco, stone, and wood half-timbers. The front porch has been described as Swiss Chalet style. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program has termed it the area’s finest example of the Tudor Revival style, which was popular in Arkansas from the mid-1910s through the early 1940s.
The house was built by the Birnbaum family. Ohio-born Civil War veteran Charles Birnbaum (1834–1901) and his wife, Catherine Charity (Kate) Birnbaum (1854–1938), came to Hot Springs in the early 1880s. He was listed as a member of the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce in 1894 as a wholesale grocer. She was a founding member and long-time supporter of the Interstate Orphans Home (currently the Ouachita Children’s Center). They are buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
The Birnbaum house was sold in 1938 when the home was remodeled into its present Tudor Revival style. Transformative features include curved half-timbers set in stucco, a curved roof over the porch, and a decorative porch balustrade. Apart from its architectural significance, the house is noted as the home where Bill Clinton, the forty-second president of the United States, lived as a child from 1954 to 1961.
Clinton’s family relocated from Hope (Hempstead County) to Hot Springs in 1953 after Clinton’s mother, Virginia (Cassidy) Clinton Kelley (1923–1994), married Roger Clinton Sr., who was in the automobile business in Hot Springs. They moved into the Birnbaum house in 1954. In Hot Springs, Bill Clinton attended St. John’s Catholic Elementary School, Ramble Elementary School, and Hot Springs High School, where he was active as a student leader until his graduation in 1964.
Although the Clinton family moved in 1961 to a home at 213 Scully Street in Hot Springs, while he still lived at 1011 Park Avenue, he exchanged his previous career goals in the fields of either music or medicine for the goal of a public service career.
According to Garland County property records, the home is owned by Frank and Helena Shubetz, whose surname gives the property the alternate name by which it is known on the National Register. As it is a private residence, the home is not open for tours.
For additional information:
“Bill Clinton Boyhood Home (Birnbaum-Shubetz House).” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/GA0144.nr.pdf (accessed June 10, 2015).
Clinton, Bill. My Life. New York: Vintage Books, 2004.
Creason, Katherin B. “Hot Springs Children’s Home and One Devoted Worker.” The Record 3 (1965): 78.
Garland County Historical Society