The World’s Smallest Significant City
President Herbert Hoover holding the key to Hot Springs
Photo and Info Courtesy of the Garland County Historical Society
Such a small town. Such an unimportant spot on the map. Yet Hot Springs is the smallest presidential city in America, with a rich history of governing visitors and residents. This rich heritage goes all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt’s visit on October 10th, 1910. At that time he was retired from the highest office in the land, but he came to be a speaker at the state fair held in Hot Springs.
Historians tell us that Herbert Hoover came and was given the key to the city, and Harry Truman’s visit included playing poker for small stakes. In 1957, the future president John F. Kennedy came to the Spa City to speak to the Arkansas Bar Association. Lyndon B. Johnson graced our fair city in 1962.
The most gala of all presidential events was the visit by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in June of 1936. That year, the state was having its centennial celebration and the president and his wife arrived in the presidential train at the Missouri Pacific train station. The mayor of Hot Springs declared a half-holiday from 6am until noon on June 10th, 1936 with all businesses closing. Streets were blocked and thousands of people lined the sidewalks to get a glimpse of the commander-in-chief’s motorcade. The visit included a breakfast for the First Lady at the Arlington, a cruise on West Mountain, Hot Springs Mountain and Bath House Row.
Besides the visiting presidents, Hot Springs claims President Bill Clinton as the hometown boy. Although he was born in Hope, Arkansas, he and his family moved to Hot Springs when he was 7 years old. He was raised in Hot Springs, and graduated from Hot Springs High School. His mother lived here until her death, and his stepfather still lives in Hot Springs.
Such a small town. Yet no other small town west of the original colonies can claim such a rich heritage of involvement with the men that rule the greatest country on earth!
Dr. RandoPhD of Wit
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