Eighteen years ago, the groundbreaking for the Clinton Library took place on December 5, 2001. It was dry and about thirty degrees warmer than the actual opening would be in November 2004.
The former president was joined by then-Mayor Jim Dailey, City Director Dean Kumpuris, contractor Bill Clark, Clinton Foundation executives Skip Rutherford & Stephanie S. Streett, and other dignitaries in turning the dirt. The location for the ceremony is now actually the parking lot for Sturgis Hall – the home of the Clinton School of Public Service and Clinton Foundation offices.
President Clinton was the only member of his family to attend the ceremony, which drew over 400 people. His wife, then the junior Senator from New York, was expecting some important floor votes in Washington DC, and daughter Chelsea was studying in England.
At the ceremony, Clinton joked “We’re going to try to build it in less than it took to build the medieval cathedrals and the Egyptian pyramids, but if I can’t rein in my team it may cost as much!” Of course by then the date was set for November 2004. Coordinating schedules of the current and former Presidents is an intricate act.