What Do Our 42nd President and DIAMONDS Have in Common?
Oct 10, 2012
|Waking up on Saturday to pouring down rain and temps only going to be in the mid 50's our bodies could hardly stand the shock since it had been in the upper 70's to 80 all week. Going from shorts to sweaters wasn't in our plan for the day! Having two things we wanted to do over the weekend we headed for Little Rock as we knew at least part of our day would be inside. Arriving at President Bill Clinton's Library, with it pouring, drenched is the word to get from the car to the Library so didn't spend any time outside seeing the gardens and walking around the park on the banks of the Arkansas River where the Library sits. The Library is beautiful, contemporary and modern. A stark contrast to President Clinton's public personality. The inside of the Library is gorgeous but also very contemporary and not at all warm like other Presidential Libraries we have been to, which really surprised me as I have always seen Clinton as a very warm and friendly person. The exhibits were broken up into alcoves which focused on significant policy areas during his presidency rather than timelines which was very well done but harder to follow. That area also includes boxes of archives of the 80 million pages of documents. He grew up very poor and was raised by his grandparents and extended family and was born in Hope, Arkansas but spent his childhood in Hot Springs where his grandfather owned a store. There was a full-scale replica of the White House "Cabinet Room" where critical decisions are made, with all the direct feeds to anyone needing to be involved in the decision making. It was easy to feel the tense discussions made in that room with onscreen pictures of the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State out of the country and being piped in live to the critical discussions. A beautiful display of gifts given to the Clinton's by Foreign Leaders for the American People are on display and are incredible. I couldn't help but wonder how the Ipod with all his speeches given as a gift to the Queen of England from President Obama is displayed. I must admit that I felt a huge sense of embarrassment after seeing the gorgeous things given to the Leaders of our Country. One of the gowns that Hillary wore for Bill's inauguration is also on display as is a table setting for a state dinner for Heads of State with the beautiful White House tableware. Makes one so proud of the beautiful things the American People own. The Library also included a life-size replica of Clinton's Oval Office which is warm like his personality. I understand the grounds and park surrounding the library are breathtaking but will have to save that for another time. We also went down to the famous River Walk area but because of the rain and cold not much was going on, however we did end up with some amazing fruit and veggies at the Farmers Market.
Not only is Arkansas home to a President but it is also home to the world famous Open Pit Diamond Crater and is the only diamond-producing area in North America open to
the public. Over 75,000 diamonds have been found at "the Crater," an eroded volcanic pipe. On average, more than 700 diamonds are found each year, including such notable finds as:
◆ 1924 ~ The Uncle Sam. At 40.23 carats, the largest
diamond found in North America
◆ 1956 ~ The Star of Arkansas - 15.33 carats
◆ 1975 ~ The Amarillo Starlight - 16.37 carats
◆ 1981 ~ The Star of Shreveport - 8.82 carats
◆ 1997 ~ The Cooper Diamonds - 6.72 & 6.0 carats
◆ 1998 ~ The Dickinson-Stevens Diamond - 7.28 carats
◆ 2006 ~ The Roden Diamonds - 6.35 carats
◆ 2006 ~ The Sunshine Diamonds - 5.47 carats
◆ 2009 ~ The Arabian Knight - 5.75 carats
In 1998 The Strawn-Wagner Diamond, a cut white
Crater diamond weighing 1.09-carats, was graded by the
American Gem Society (AGS) as a "D" Flawless 0/0/0
perfect diamond. A "one-in-a-billion diamond," stated
Peter Yantzer, Laboratory Director for the AGS. This
spectacular diamond is on display in the visitor center. Although genuine diamonds are the chief attraction to "the Crater," other semi-precious stones can be found.
Amethyst, agate, jasper, quartz, calcite and barite are but a few of the gems and minerals that make this Arkansas State Park a rock hound’s delight. Sadly we didn't find the "Hope" diamond (no diamonds at all) but did find some beautiful Jasper that we will polish.
We have truly enjoyed our visit to Arkansas even though we ended up having the fuel pump go out which had to be replaced. Thank goodness it was the small one as had the big one gone out, we'd have been looking at over $2500. just for the pump! It is a beautiful state and there is much more we would like to discover here, especially down in the Delta area which is rich in agriculture. Did you know that Arkansas is the "Duck Capital" of the world, grows more rice than any other state and is home to Walmart and Tyson one of the largest meat processors in the world and not only processes chicken but beef and pork as well. We are anxious to come back and explore the eastern and southern portion of this beautiful state. There is a lot of history here in Fort Smith which is where we are now for the Good Sam Rally and will then hurry back to Oklahoma for the Good Sam Rally there.