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Mark Twain: Hannibal, MO: Day 8–June 22, 2016

Huck Finn Home

Huck Finn Home

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.

100_9510Right 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.

100_9511Once 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.

20160621_165619Next 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 100_9550several 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.

AM…Page 449



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Mark Twain Lighthouse Overlook, Hannibal, MO. June 22, 2016

100_9526Louise Speaks:  In case you didn’t know, Missouri is very, very, very humid.  Way too humid for this Arizona girl.  So as we arrived in Hannibal this morning, we decided to climb to the Mark Twain Lighthouse Overlook before doing

Notice this is about half way up and you still can't see the lighthouse.

Notice this is about half way up and you still can’t see the lighthouse.

any Mark Twain touring.  My reason for this is that in order to get to the lighthouse you must climb 244 stairs.  Now I counted more stairs than that because there were.  My only explanation is that whoever came up with the number of stairs did not count the landings.  Now if you’re climbing stairs and you have to step up to or down from a landing, would that not count that as a step?  At any rate it was a long climb up, on a very humid morning, and many stops were made along the way.

lh005The history of the lighthouse is that in 1935, while still suffering through the Great Depression, Mark Twain’s 100th birthday gave Hannibal a reason to celebrate. A committee decided to prepare a yearlong celebration, of which there would be two main centerpieces: a temporary Mark Twain Museum,  and a new monument, the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse, perched on the bluffs of Cardiff Hill.

On November 11, 1934, construction on the lighthouse was commenced. The lighthouse was dedicated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt from the White House on January 15, 1935, to open a yearlong celebration. Technicians installed lines that connected the beacon of the lighthouse to the president’s desk in the Oval Office so that he could light the beacon with the turn of a key.

p001In June 1960, an enormous windstorm with seventy mile per hour gusts of wind, blew apart the lighthouse on Cardiff Hill.  When the structure was originally built in 1935, designers had only lighthouseplanned for it to be in place for twenty-five years.  How ironic, that the storm destroyed the lighthouse 25 years after it’s completion.  However, by the time of the storm, the 100_9536lighthouse had become part of Hannibal’s landscape, and many wished to see it restored, and it was.  The newly constructed lighthouse was dedicated on May 24, 1963.  The beacon light atop the lighthouse was donated by the United States Coast Guard and was ceremoniously lit by President John F. Kennedy at the White House in the same manner as the original dedication in 1935 by Roosevelt.

100_9534The view from the top is breathtaking.  You can see the boats going up and down the Mississippi River as well as the entire town of Hannibal.  Although the walk up was hot and long, coming down was much easier, and the view definitely made the walk up worth it.

We were glad we did this first thing in the morning, because we had worked up quite a sweat before going on the Mark Twain tour.  I suggested if you decided to visit this attraction, go early in the day or late in the evening, but I do suggest you put this on your list.


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Quirky Hannibal, MO: Day 7: June 21, 2016

Louise Speaks:  Our plan was to stay in Hannibal tonight, but we couldn’t find an RV park.  There is so much to see in Hannibal that we decided this was going to have to be completed tomorrow.  However, while in Hannibal, we couldn’t go without seeing a few quirky things or things off the beaten path.

100_9515Our first stop was the Large Mug of Root Bear at the Mark Twain Family Restaurant.  It is pretty big and right on main street and the mug even spins.




Not too far from the Root Beer Mug is a carved wooden statue of the bust of Mark Twain in front of another sea food restaurant.  The entire town of Hannibal is dedicated to Mark Twain so his face and statues are everywhere.  I can’t imagine what Hannibal would be like on the 4th of July as it is said that that is the time Hannibal and Mark Twain really come to life.


100_9521Along the river in Hannibal is the Mark Twain Steamboat Pilot.  There is a statue of the steering wheel in the Glascock’s Landing Park over looking the Mississippi River.  It commemorates Mark Twain’s training to become a Steamboat pilot.



We did miss a few things like the Unsinkable Molly Brown’s birthplace.  We did go by it and had plans to visit, but the house was up a very steep driveway, and with a motor home seemed like that was probably not our best idea. Another attraction from Patricia’s book “1000 Places To See Before You Die” that we missed was the Garth Woodside Mansion.  According to Patricia this is quite the place to stay or at least visit.  Again we did drive by it, but the driveway was beautifully tree lined and again with an RV would not be a smart thing to do.  However, these are two things that we would like to see so another trip to Hannibal may be in our future travels.

We are going to stay in Monroe City tonight and drive back to Hannibal in the morning to see the rest of the Mark Twain attractions on our list.  We drove 216 miles today for a week total of 2,052 miles.  We’re cutting back on our stops but we have seen 42 attractions on our list.  Still only 5 states but we are enjoying them all.