Being a tourist in your home town?
Oct 22, 2008
|OK, I will admit that Hannibal is not our home town, but it is close to our home towns, and we do spend a lot of time here each year. In that vein, here goes....
I have been asked to post a few pictures of Hannibal for readers interested in visiting this area. Because this request has come from different people in different forms, and from different parts of the country, I have decided to include some information about Hannibal to go along with the pictures.
Hannibal was founded by Moses Bates in 1819. Bates built a two story log building on the corner of what is now Main and Bird streets. This was known as Bates Trading Post.
Sitting on the west bank of the Mississippi River, Hannibal grew slowly and by 1840 had a population just barely in excess of 2000 people.
One of Hannibal’s most famous citizens, Samuel L. Clemens, moved to Hannibal when he was only 4 years old, in 1839. Sam was later to become famous under the pen name of Mark Twain.
Growing up in this small town, Sam had many childhood friends who were the basis for characters he described in his books. “Tom Sawyer” is based on Sam Clemens himself, as well as Nat Brady, a boyhood friend. “Huckleberry Finn” is based on Tom Blankenship, who lived about one short block behind the boyhood home of Sam Clemens. “Becky Thatcher”, was based on Laura Hawkins, who lived across the street from the young Sam. The Cave now known as Mark Twain Cave, was purchased from the government by Dr Joseph Nash McDowell around 1848, and became known as McDowell’s Cave.
The young Sam Clemens and his friends played in this cave, and it is interesting to note that Mark Twain called the cave described in his book, McDougal’s Cave.
“The adventures of Tom Sawyer”, published in 1876, was the book which really made Mark Twain famous.
The home, where Sam lived as a young boy, and many places he described in that book are still here, in the historic district, and may be seen by strolling along the pleasant, tree lined, Main Street. Quaint shops and restaurants are abundant in this area.
Another citizen of Hannibal became famous for surviving the Titanic disaster. When that ship sank in the north Atlantic in April, 1912, Molly Brown, from Hannibal, MO, was on board. She was ever after known as the “Unsinkable Molly Brown”. Her birthplace is now a tourist attraction in Hannibal.
As a young boy, I lived just 60 miles north of Hannibal, in the town of Kahoka, MO. That is where I graduated from High School. I had been to Hannibal but never toured the historic district, and had never been inside the Mark Twain Cave. I later lived only 19 miles west of Hannibal for over 20 years, but still paid little attention to these historic attractions.
Now that we visit Hannibal several times a year, and stay here where I serve as a part time guide for the Mark Twain Cave as well as the Cameron Cave, my interest in the history of this area has grown considerably.
So today I will post a few pictures of the historic district of Hannibal. Later I will tell you of interesting places in and around Hannibal. Of famous mansions, things to do, places to visit, and of course, some of the history associated with this area.
I may not have all of the names spelled correctly and want you to know that any mis-information inadvertently included here is due to my own mistake. The thoughts about the events I describe and the events I write about are my own and presented with the best of intentions. I hope you enjoy this little cyber-tour each day.
Now, I just can’t wait to see what adventures this day has in store…..