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Published: July 14th 2014
Mark Twain boyhood home
Across the street from his father's law office on Hill Street
Today's target was the Mark Twain country of Hannibal Missouri. Driving from St. Louis to Hannibal you travel the Avenue of the Saints, a 4 lane expressway (not freeway) presumably so named because it goes form St. Louis to St. Paul. It allows you to see agricultural America at its most bland. Miles of corn and soybeans. Miles.
Hannibal is a small town of 17,000 people that long served as a hub of commerce with a good rail connection and frequent stops by Mississippi River riverboats. It is, of course, best known now as the hometown of Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens), and much of the town now revolves around Twain tourism. In later life, Twain revealed the real-life inspirations for many of his characters, and their homes (or reputed homes) have in some cases been preserved. They are sparsely furnished, and you get the impression that they are underfunded, but the Twain Museum is interesting, and contains a complete collection of the Norman Rockwell originals used as illustrations in new illustrated versions of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn published in 1935.
Following our visit to these sites, we took a one hour ride on a riverboat, unfortunately conventionally
And the whitewasher-in-chief
powered rather than by a paddlewheel. The river is at a high flood stage, with railroad tracks under water and the usual riverboat dock site unreachable, but the water has apparently gone down a few feet in the last few days. At this point, the Mississippi is ⅜-½ mile wide, and is flowing at several knots, with logs and tree trunks occasionally drifting by.
Other famous (or infamous) notice sons: William Lear (founder of Lear Jets, inventor of 8-track tapes), Clarence Earl Gideon of the famous SCOTUS ruling setting in place the right to appointed counsel), Cliff Edwards (voice of Jiminy Cricket), and Col. Potter from M*A*S*H
Lodging is not of high quality in Hannibal, so we are spending the night in the booming metropolis of Quincy IL.
Tomorrow: Hollenberg Pony Express station
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