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.


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  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home