Louise Speaks: We did a bit of back tracking today based on where we camped last night, but with the rain and weather, it was not a bad thing. We headed back to Hannibal, MO the home of Mark Twain and Huck Finn. This really is what Hannibal is about. Everything in town is some how related to Mark Twain…Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Half of the town bears the name Mark Twain and the name is on every street and business. The other half of town bears the names of his fictional characters.
Right on Main Street, in the center of town, is a “Bronze statue of Mark Twains’ fictional heroes”. The statues were sculpted in 1926 by Frederick Hibbard. This statue was actually the first US statue erected to fictional characters. It marks the beginning of the Mark Twain home and museum tour.
As you enter the Mark Twain Museum there is a time line of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain’s) life. There are many photos and a short video telling his story. The museum houses a collection of 15 original oil paintings by Norman Rockwell, who was commissioned in the 1930’s to illustrate special editions of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
Once outside and to your left is the “Tom Sawyer Fence”. The fence is called “crowd sourcing” as it tries to get people to work for free. In the story, Mark Twain’s character, Tom Sawyer, tricked people into painting a fence for free. Today at the fence is a bucket of paint brushes, trying to lure people to pick up a brush and paint.
Next to the fence is Mark Twain’s boyhood home. The tidy two story white clapboard house where the family lived in the 1840’s is open to tour. You are able to tour both floors of the home and several of the items in the home are authentic pieces that belonged to the Samuel Clemens family. A half dozen other buildings line the street of Mark Twain Village. Becky Thatcher’s home, Mark Twain’s first love, is directly across from Mark Twain’s home. The other buildings include the office where Sam Clemons father practiced law, and the Grants Drug Store.
There is much more to see about Mark Twain, like the Mark Twain Cave. We did not take the tour and almost camped here, but they were closed when we arrived. One interesting fact about the RV Park and the Cave is that if and when there is a tornado warning, all the campers from the RV park are rushed to the cave for shelter…even if it is in the middle of the night…now that would be an experience, and it has happened more than once.
Patricia list Hannibal all by itself in her book “1000 Places To See Before You Die”. Since I was one that was not raised on Mark Twain or Samuel Clemens, this was not an attraction that I could say I was dying to visit..but it is always fun to visit original buildings or see a town that is so dedicated to one famous person. That being said, I would rate Hannibal, and Mark Twain a B…it was a fun stop and a great town.