Friday, 9 June 2017

The Mark Twain House and Museum: One of the best historic homes in the world

The home of the writer Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) is located in Hartford, Connecticut and today it is known as The Mark Twain House & Museum.
Built in High Gothic style by Edward Tuckerman Potter, the house today is a National Historic Landmark. Twain wrote many of his best-known books in this house including the Adventures of Huckleberry FinnThe Prince and the Pauper, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
The Mark Twain House & Museum  Photo Credit
Inside, there are 25 rooms with many dramatic features, and according to National Geographic, this house is one of the ten best historic homes in the world.The Clemens family moved into the home in 1874 and went to Europe in 1891 because of financial difficulties. Together with his wife and one of his daughters, he traveled around Europe and gave lectures to make money and pay off his debts.
The house from the south  Photo Credit
The other two daughters stayed at home at that time and on August 18th, 1896, one of them, Susy, died of meningitis. After this tragedy, the family couldn’t live in the house anymore, so they sold it in 1903. A few years later, the building became a school, and later it functioned as an apartment building and a public library.

The library
In 1929, the non-profit group Mark Twain Memorial rescued the house from demolition, and in 1962 it was declared a National Monument. During the time when the family lived in the house, the top floor was Mark’s private study where he wrote many of his books. He didn’t allow anyone to get inside except the cleaning staff.
It is built in American High Gothic style Photo Credit
On the second floor, there was a school room where Mrs. Clemens tutored her daughters, and they also had their own playroom and nursery.
It is said that Clemens played with his children very often and sometimes he would dress like an elephant. He loved his home so much and the people who lived around him. Some of his neighbors were authors including Isabella Beecher Hooker and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Also, some of the most notable guests who visited Mark often were George Washington Cable, William Dean Howells, Thomas Bailey Aldrich and the authors Edwin Booth and Henry Irving.
The living room  Photo Credit
After his book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer had become a real success, Twain renovates the house inspired by the story in 1881 with the help of the architect Louis Comfort Tiffany. He was one of the first people that installed an early telephone at his home. Later, Mark formed a publishing company called Charles L. Webster & Company which published his writings. Unfortunately, in 1894, the company went bankrupt, leaving the author with a significant amount of debt.
The entrance hall with the main staircase
Soon, the family moved to Europe because the cost of living was more affordable. In 1929, the house was saved by Katharine Seymor Day who was the grandniece of the author Harriet Beecher Stowe. She founded a non-profit organization and raised $100, 000 to restore the building.
The billiard room on the third floor
Many years had passed before the total debt had been paid off and the process was finally finished in 1974, at the time when the house was celebrating its 100th anniversary. In 1977, because of its exemplary restoration, the house earned the David E. Finley Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Today, many tourists from all around the world come in Hartford to see the house which can be visited only by guided tours. The House & Museum host many events such as writers’ workshops, various lectures, and family events. In 1999, it underwent major restoration which brought the house into its original state. Inside the house, 50, 000 artifacts can be found including family furnishings, Tiffany glass, many manuscripts, and historical photographs.


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