A Literary Landmark
Resting peacefully between some trees and situated above the noise of traffic and passing pedestrians, rests a beautiful historic home. It was the home of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and his family from 1874-1891. Clemens wrote many of his best known works there including: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, Life on the Mississippi, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Tramp Abroad, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.
In 1873 Sam and Olivia Clemons engaged NY architect Edward Tuckerman Potter to design their Hartford home. It’s built with a Victorian Gothic Revival-style architecture. Legend says the home was made to look like a riverboat.
Construction began in August of that year‚ while Sam and Olivia were abroad. Although there was still much work to be completed‚ the family moved into their house on September 19‚ 1874. Their home measures 11‚500 square feet‚ and has 25 rooms distributed through three floors. It displayed the latest in modern innovations when it was built in 1874. The couple spent $40‚000 to $45‚000 building their new home‚ so once they moved in they kept the interior simple. Mark Twain and his family enjoyed what the author would later call the happiest and most productive years of his life in their Hartford home.
Financial problems later forced Sam and Olivia to move the family to Europe in 1891. The family would never live in Hartford again. One of their daughters, Suzy, had died from spinal meningitis in Hartford in 1896. This tragedy made it too hard for the family to return. The Clemenses sold the property in 1903.
Today, the Mark Twain House is open for tours but photos are not allowed inside. Photos of the interior can be found online, but if you are in the area I highly recommend a stop at this literary landmark. The top room in the home was the billiard’s room and his private study where he would write late at night. Being able to walk through the same space that Mark Twain used to take his ideas and form literary favorites… it’s simply amazing. The tour guides are extremely informative. They give a detailed history of Mark Twain and his family in all stages of their lives, as well as details about the home in particular.
Lindsay View All →
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!
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