#Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the latter often called “the Great American Novel.” Wikipedia
Full name: Samuel Langhorne Clemens
- #Mark Twain’s Hartford
Hartford was in its glory during what Mark Twain facetiously termed The Gilded Age, and the story still lives here and there in Connecticut’s capital city. Begin your tour in the “home” of Huckleberry Finn and then continue the journey through the second half of the 19th century (with a break for lunch, of course).
“A Home – & The Word Never Had So Much Meaning Before”
by Patti Philippon‚ Beatrice Fox Auerbach Chief Curator |firstname.lastname@example.org
Samuel and Olivia “Livy” Clemens were married in 1870 and moved to Hartford in 1871. The family first rented a house on Forest Street‚ in the Nook Farm neighborhood‚ from Livy’s friends‚ John and Isabella Beecher Hooker‚ and later purchased land on Farmington Avenue. In 1873‚ they engaged New York architect Edward Tuckerman Potter to design their house.
Livy had strong opinions about the design of her home; she drew sketches and sought the counsel of trusted friends on her ideas. Construction began in August 1873‚ while Sam and Livy were abroad. Although there was still much finish work to be completed‚ the family moved into their house on September 19‚ 1874. Construction delays and the ever-increasing costs of building their dream home frustrated Sam. In spite of this‚ he was enamored with the finished product‚ saying‚ “It is a home – & the word never had so much meaning before.”
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. He wrote:
Financial problems forced Sam and Livy to move the family to Europe in 1891. Though he would complain about other places the family lived compared to the Hartford house (”How ugly‚ tasteless‚ repulsive are all the domestic interiors I have ever seen in Europe compared with the perfect taste of this ground floor”)‚ the family would never live in Hartford again. Susy’s death in 1896 made it too hard for Livy to return to their Hartford home‚ and the Clemenses sold the property in 1903.
Experiences Types: History
Driving Tip: Approximately 19 miles
MARK TWAIN HOUSE & MUSEUM
Begin in The Mark Twain House & Museum, the magnificent Victorian Gothic mansion where Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, lived with his family from 1874 to 1891 as he wrote Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Life on the Mississippi and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, among other works. Clemens spent his happiest days in the 19-room house, and some of his saddest as well. Tours are available throughout the day. The handsome Museum next door is devoted to Twain’s legacy.
HARRIET BEECHER STOWE CENTER
Clemens lived in a cluster of properties called #Nook Farm, where other writers, editors and local luminaries also settled. One neighbor was Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose historic house remains open to the public as the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. The author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin spent her last 23 years in Hartford, and many of her belongings are on display. Afterward, head up Farmington Avenue for lunch. Possibilities include and Asian touch at Tisane Tea & Coffee Bar, Irish pub food at Half Door and vegan fare at Fire & Spice.
ASYLUM HILL CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
Reverend Joseph Hopkins Twitchell, pastor of Asylum Hill Congregational Church for nearly 50 years was said to be Mark Twain’s closest friend. Twitchell officiated at Twain’s wedding in 1870 and christened his children, two of them at this church. Twain and his family often attended Sunday services here.
SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MEMORIAL ARCH
The conception, fundraising and completion of Hartford’s Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch almost exactly coincides with Twain’s time in the city. Made of brownstone from quarries in nearby Portland, the Gothic-style arch is a memorial to the Civil War dead and those who served – and it is the first permanent triumphal arch to be erected in America.
CEDAR HILL CEMETERY
Twain is not buried in Hartford’s #Cedar Hill Cemetery, but many of his contemporaries are, including writer and editor Charles Dudley Warner, financier John Pierpont Morgan, businessman Gilbert F. Heublein and many others. The cemetery’s 270 acres are beautifully landscaped and many of the monuments are works of art. Others interred here include actress Katharine Hepburn, Samuel Colt and poet Wallace Stevens.