Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hannibal, MO.

About 60 miles south of Nauvoo lies Hannibal Missouri. I suppose if one is not a Mark Twain fan, it wouldn't be worth the drive, but to anyone who appreciates his work, it is such a great place to remember the fine works of a great author. He only lived here about 10 years, but the people of Hannibal knew a good thing when they saw it and declared themselves his hometown. This was Mark Twain's desk. It is located in the museum that houses many of the things that belonged to him and his family. There's also a large riverboat steering wheel and a riverboat whistle here. They have Norman Rockwell pictures that he painted to illustrate Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. There's a stage coach, an ongoing movie of Huck Finn, and a representative cave along with posters depicting the novels of Mark Twain.
This staircase leads to a lighthouse that stands of the top of the hill. It is listed on the National Historic Register. It's 244 stairs to the top and another 244 back down, but we made it. Half way up is a small portion of the original Mark Twain Memorial Bridge built as one of the FDR projects of the 30s. A new bridge has replaced it. When you get to the lighthouse, you have the most spectacular view of the Mississippi River. The light house is no longer in operation, but it stands as a reminder of the many years of service this great river has given to America.

This statue stands at the end of the street where all the boybood memorabilia is located. I think it's so great that they included two of the most notable Twain characters. I caught myself singing some of the songs from the muscial Tom Sawyer.

This is Grant's Drug Store, most probably where Aunt Polly got some of the "remedy" she fed to Tom, who, in turn, fed it to the cat. There is a great Rockwell painting of that incident on the wall behind my vantage point. There was a small tape playing while we were standing there that said most of their medicines were about 75-95% alcohol. No wonder people felt like they needed to keep taking it.

This is Judge Clemens law office and court. When I looked inside, I thought of some of the John Grisham works I have read describing a law office in Mississippi. Judge Clemens never was very successful in his lifetime. In fact, he ended up closing the office "due to the lack of interest".

The haunted house described by Twain in Tom Sawyer. When I was here 10 years ago, you could walk through this wax museum. If you look really hard at the right window, you can see Injun Joe. Now you see the For Sale sign in front. Many of the attractions in Hannibal have been closed because people can't afford to keep them open. In fact, Becky Thatcher's house is in need of several million dollars for rennovaton, so it sits closed.

In each of the rooms of the boyhood home of Mark Twain, they have a statue of him standing by a quotation from one of his books. This was the library of the home. They have glass keeping you from walking into the rooms and it is all a self-guided tour as you walk through the home. He worked in a printing shop for a while as a boy. I found the comparison to Ben Franklin amazing. Maybe there is something to putting words together literally that helps to make literary genius.

This is the Huck Finn House. He was a real person with another name. His life was pretty much as Mark Twain wrote about it. They were very poor. His mother died, so it was just him and his "pap", and often they had very meager settings on their table. It's a two room home, one where you see each window.

This is a model of a statue that was planned to be built in Hannibal, but it was too expensive. This is just a small part of it,but notice the characters that are included from his books, with Mark Twain and Tom Sawyer in the very center. You'll, of course, recognize the prince and the pauper, Becky Thatcher and Cousin Sid, as well. It really is a remarkable walk down memory lane of some of his most notable books.


sallie789 said...

Very interesting. Thanks!

Bressler Bunch said...

WOW. 244 stairs? I would have had to be carried all the way up! Back down too.