Thursday, October 25, 2012


The other day I happened to be in Hannibal, Missouri, on the broad Mississippi River, and naturally had to pay a visit to the place where the American novel was born: Mark Twain's boyhood home.

The history is expectably fascinating, but everything on the little street that also contains Samuel Clemens' father's law office and what purports to be Becky Thatcher's house looked brand spanking Disneyland new, which was a bit disappointing. The designers seem to have rebuilt to 21st century kitsch instead of restored to 19th century funkiness. As a result, the place just doesn't carry much of an air of authenticity.

Expectably, everything in Hannibal seems to be named for Twain. The Mark Twain Hotel, the Mark Twain Dinette, the Mark Twain Caves, and so on. (There's an Injun Joe Campground, but fortunately Jim of Huck Finn fame has escaped the tarbrush of commercial insensitivity.)

Other than the myriad touristy connections with the writer, the town would be just another mouldering ruin on the river.

1 comment:

  1. I went by there a year ago while out storm chasing. I thought the house looked a bit new for something built in the 19th century.

    To be honest it looks like a model railroad kit. :-)