Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hannibal, MO

I have a lot of catching up to do. Haven't blogged for a couple of months.

Last summer, we took a trip to visit LDS Church history sites in Illinois and Missouri.

We began our trip in Hannibal, Missouri. My impressions:

As Garrison Keillor says about his fictional Lake Wobegon, Hannibal's a "town time forgot and the years have not improved." Its only claim to fame seems to be that a famous man (Samuel Clemens / Mark Twain) was born here. Nothing much else to recommend it now.

Symbolic of the town's demise is a beautiful stone building (formerly a hotel?) on the main thoroughfare into town. It now appears as a haunted mansion with a bar in the basement.

The Mark Twain Museum was well done with good use of Twain's own words. There was a full-scale picket fence with a display of “treasures” Tom Sawyer got in return for letting his friends whitewash.

I hadn't realized Twain was a world traveler (his first book -- a travelogue: Innocents Abroad).

The Mark Twain house / interpretive center: again – they let Mark Twain speak for himself. I hadn't known he lost two children and his wife before he died. He was bankrupt after Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn published and began a world tour, giving speeches to repay his debts (ironic that his writing career began with Innocents Abroad).

We lunched at LuluBelle’s (a restored brothel, now a bed & breakfast, nestled next to the River and close to the railway station...). I had a catfish club sandwich. Excellent.

We also visited Mark Twain Park near the boat landing. There's a statue of Twain behind a boat wheel. Learned that he had captained approximately 20 riverboats in a 4-year career.

Then to Becky Thatcher’s Ice Cream Emporium. Huckleberry ice cream.

Out of town to Tom Sawyer Cave. Real-world Jesse James hideout. Graffiti alley. Our guide had a staccato delivery from the back of his throat.

Back, and to Lover’s Leap above the town. Amazing that the plaque carried the same story as for Squaw Peak in Provo - misunderstood Indian lovers.

We took the Mark Twain Riverboat Dinner Cruise. There was a large tour group from BYU-I. We had a great table with a window to the River, and next to stage. Spent a pleasant evening after dinner on the the top deck, with a gentle breeze, a lazy ride listening to a banjo/harmonica singer over loudspeakers.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know that many of Mark Twain's books are available online free like
The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc is available online here

1:03 PM  

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