Governor Sanders announces Hope as Arkansas’ capital for a day on January 11, 2024, state officials say

Fort Smith, Ark. – According to the state officials, Hope was settled in 1852 and named after the daughter of James Loughborough, the Cairo and Fulton Railroad Land Commissioner. It grew quickly alongside the railroad.

The town became famous for its watermelons in the 1920s when local John S. Gibson started a watermelon-growing contest to promote the area.

The Hope Chamber of Commerce continues to sponsor the annual Watermelon Festival every year.

Hope is the birthplace of former Arkansas Governor and U.S. President Bill Clinton and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, both of whom went on to national prominence.

The city is now home to the President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site, a house on South Hervey Street where the former president lived until the age of four.

Visitors to Hope can also explore the Hope Visitor Center and Museum, located in the old Missouri-Pacific Railroad and featuring local history and railroad artifacts. It still serves as a functioning AMTRAK stop.

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