Monday, June 22, 2009

Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri is a small city on the west bank of the Mississippi River about 100 miles north of St. Louis. Hannibal is the home of Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, and is the setting for his most well known novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Samuel Clemens born in 1835, was forced to leave school at the age of 12 in 1847 after the death of his father. Clemens worked as a printer's apprentice in Hannibal, New York, Philadelphia and Cincinnati until 1857 when he was inspired by a trip down the Mississippi to become a river boat pilot. In 1859 he received his pilot's license and worked at that profession until 1861 when the outbreak of the Civil War curtailed most travel on the Mississippi River.

Clemens then moved west, tried his hand at and failed at silver mining. In 1863 he began his career as a journalist and started using the name Mark Twain. His first great success as a writer came when his humorous tall tale "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" was published in the New York Saturday Press in November, 1865. After that time his career sky rocketed and if you want to know more – Google him.

We set out to do a walking tour which quickly turned in to a climbing thing as we went up 244 steps to a lighthouse. Now get this picture, it is 95 degrees, 95% humidity, and I'm old, fat and out of shape and we did 244 steps for – nothing. The lighthouse is not open to look inside and the view of the river was not very good from there. Back down the 244 steps and on to the street where Clemens lived. Thankfully it was a very short street. Did not do any more exploration of the town as it was just too darn blasted hot.

One final note about Hannibal.

Let's not forget that Hannibal was the birthplace of Cliff Edwards (14 June 1895 – 17 July 1971), also known as "Ukelele Ike". He was an American singer and musician who enjoyed considerable popularity in the 1920s and early 1930s, specializing in jazzy renditions of pop standards and novelty tunes and was the voice of Jiminy Cricket.

No comments: