Mark Twain House

On a whim last week we decided to go out of town for the weekend.  We ended up in Hartford Connecticut.  We had been there before but we weren’t able to do some of the stuff we wanted to do on previous trips so we decided that this time we would visit the places we wanted to but never could fit in.

One of those places was the Mark Twain House.  In the past we drove by it and stopped and wandered the grounds, but since we had our dog we couldn’t tour the actual house.   This past weekend the pooch stayed in Boston and so we were welcome on the tour.

I have always been a huge fan of Twain so I was quite curious to see the place where Samuel Clemens (Twain’s real name) worked on some of his most impressive works including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and The Pauper and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

The outside of the house looks impressive.  Construction on the house began in August of 1873 and the family settled there in September of 1874.  The architect was Edward Tuckerman Potter and the structure is an example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture.   The brickwork, the eaves and the gables makes the exterior look quite busy and at times it feels overwhelming to take in all the detail.

From the outside the house looks large but it isn’t until I toured the house did I realize just how large.  It has 25 rooms, including seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, an impressive grand hall, a large library, a glass conservatory, and a billiard room.  Sam worked in the billiard room and according to our tour guide he kept stuff on the pool table so he wouldn’t stop writing and play pool.  Apparently he was easily distracted and if the pool table was well kept and ready to play he would put down his pen.  In an effort to focus he kept odds and ends on the table so it would be an effort to clean the table to play pool.  Unfortunately no photographs are permitted inside the house.  However, if you are in the area I would suggest this tour!

The family resided in the house until 1891 when financial woes forced the family to live in Europe.  After they returned to America the family did not return to Hartford due to the death of their beloved daughter Susy in 1896.  Mrs. Clemens could not bear to live in the house with so many memories of Susy.  They sold the house in 1903.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast (lesbianswhowrite.com) with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (iheartlesfic.com), a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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94 Responses to Mark Twain House

  1. theveryhungrybookworm says:

    Some of my favorite trips are literary-based. I don’t really live that far from Hartford…I should add this one to my list! Nice pictures.

  2. This house is stunning! Im Enchanted, what beautiful pictures!

  3. Jordan says:

    Wow! It’s so interesting and beautiful! The detail is amazing. Great post!

  4. Thanks for sharing. The house is so beautiful. 🙂

  5. I too am a big Mark Twain fan. I’m currently listening to the audiobook of his autobiography and your post brings this to life. I can now picture the house when I listen. Thanks for posting this. 🙂

  6. Laura says:

    I love the Mark Twain house! I live near Hartford, and it’s a “Must See” destination whenever I have out of town visitors. Now it’s hard to imagine, but Hartford was a publishing mecca at that time. Enough so to entice Twain and his family to move here.
    Thanks for reminding me what a treasure this place is!

  7. I work two minutes from this house and I still haven’t taken a tour. Perhaps this post will be the catalyst. Thanks for sharing!

  8. What a beautiful home!

    One of my favorite local excursions is to go to the offices of the Territorial Enterprise, a 30-minute drive from where I live in Reno to Virginia City, Nev., to see the place where Samuel Clemens practiced his craft as newspaper editor. It’s incredible to see, feel and experience the place. I can imagine the home is no different.

    Thank you for sharing!

  9. Scarlett DuBois says:

    Their home is beautiful! Too bad you couldn’t take photos of the interior. I could just imagine…

  10. 4myskin says:

    Wow! That looks so cool. I need to visit the East Coast, so many historical places to see!

  11. I haven’t visited the Mark Twain house in more years than I care to remember–but thanks for bringing it to my attention. Now I want to see it again!

  12. merediiith says:

    it looks amazing! beautiful.

  13. Great house! You should check out Hannibel, Missouri too… Whole town is dedicated to Twain.

  14. Moona says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m a great fan of architecture so this house got me excited lol! What a beautiful place! You know, I don’t think I’ve ever read a whole Mark Twain book. I’m a big fan of the quotes he has that float around the internet, and I actually own the Huck Finn novel (I think that’s the one) but I have never read it. I guess I should get around to doing that soon!

  15. cori bailey says:

    I saw this house on an episode of ghost hunter’s on the syfy channel, the rooms are really beautiful, and the detail of the woodwork was awesome. I’ll have to pack the family and visit soon. Sounds like a nice trip.

  16. Roda says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for sharing a lovely piece of history. I loved reading MT as a kid and can still recall so much of Huckleberry Finn from memory. What an amazing looking house all angles and curves…… the only thing I now think of when I look at a house …is it easy to keep clean. I have this amazing indoor garden inside my house with a little fountain and though everybody goes ooh and aah when they see the huge ceilings …they are a nightmare to keep free of cobwebs.

  17. I always find going through an artist’s home enlightening to their process. Congrats on being pressed.

  18. As a pool player myself, I completely understand the distraction that would be present if I had one sitting in my own house. I’d love to play each day (I do play weekly!), but I rapidly grow tired of the bar scene so I often opt to stay home while my billiard-insatiable boyfriend heads out on his own.

    I’ve not toured the Twain house, but it’s on my to-do list. I’ve seen the Hawthorne House in Salem, MA and the Hemingway House in Key West, FL. I love touring old homes and seeing the past lair of an iconic writer, very inspiring to my own work. Love the exterior photos!

  19. thor27 says:

    Mark Twain is an American treasure,good blog nice photos. Give me a peek at http://thor27.wordpress.com

  20. Néa says:

    I believe I just found my dream house!

  21. Christine says:

    I just went there 2 weeks ago during our visit to UMASS. Very interesting
    :).

  22. Kenny Penny says:

    I lived a few miles from there for a few years and my first painting was of him. Such a delight having his house nearby. A depressed neighborhood now, but you could imagine the beauty of it all back in the day.

  23. enjoibeing says:

    damn thats a dope ass house! very very nice

  24. esmeowl12 says:

    What a cool house. I would love to visit there sometime. Thanks for the info.

  25. BabyBird says:

    What strange timing! I was watching Ghost Hunters last night and they were investigating this house! 🙂

  26. The Hook says:

    Gorgeous home. I wonder what Twain would make of our modern trappings – and our treatment of his work!

  27. ournote2self says:

    That’s definitely a tour I’d love to go on. Thanks for sharing!

  28. jacobull says:

    If you like his house in Hartford, you should check out the family farm house in Elmira, NY. Elmira College owns the property as a retreat for Twain Scholars but upon request they will let you walk the grounds, incredible in the Autumn!

    Elmira College also has Twains octagonal writing cabin on their campus that the students respect which is nice. Again, upon request you can get someone to unlock the door and allow you to walk around inside the cabin. According to the person that I met at Elmira, he wrote 80% of his books in that cabin. Granted the cabin was not originally on the Elmira College campus, it was on a hill slightly above the family farmhouse that was clear cut so that Twain could have an inspiring view of the surrounding landscape. Worth the trip!

  29. Alex says:

    That is a really gorgeous house! Wow you can really tell how big it is by how small the people are next to it in the photo. I’d like to visit it one day.

    http://1ldroppout.wordpress.com

  30. Eva McCane says:

    that house is amazing!

  31. Kai says:

    lovely pics. I’ve never been there so thanks for this.

  32. lazyreviewer says:

    That’s a nice house. Who’s this Mark Twain?

  33. G.A.S. Guys says:

    Wow! What a beautiful place. God Bless this man. A true American!

  34. TOC says:

    I grew up in that area, and actually had friends that lived in an old farmhouse a few towns over… Way back, in their back yard they had a sort of an outdoor area with a table made from an old millstone… the original owner of the house would sit back there with his pals, drinking whiskey, smoking cigars and playing cards “away from the women” …one of those cronies was Mark Twain. pretty cool.

  35. I lived near Hartford for a while and I am kicking myself (figuratively) that I never visited this magnificent house! It’s on my list the next time I’m there. Thanks for the post!

  36. Ryan Bauer says:

    The Ken Burns documentary mentions that Twain did a lot of writing in a little one-room, octagonal building on a nearby hilltop. He would smoke his cigars, take in the view and write. Was that part of the tour?

  37. Touching story I must say (especially the end about Susy’s death).

    Thanks for sharing this. I love the pictures and hopefully, someday, I’ll visit this lovely house too.

  38. Ken Morrill says:

    I love the photos. Thanks for sharing pics and the story of Clemens’ home. He has some history in western NY where I grew up too. If you like visiting historic homes, check out Susan B. Anthony’s and George Eastman’s homes in Rochester, NY and the Sonnenburg Gardens and Mansion in Canandagua, NY.

  39. Way cool! I love little historical jaunts. They’re so enriching!!! Thanks for sharing!

  40. Sauna says:

    Sauna sauna satış malzemesi malzemeleri

  41. If you like Mark Twain and are in Central California, visit Jackass Hill his cabin the California Gold Country

  42. sallykwitt says:

    Excellent post! I grew up in CT and one of my all time favorite books was “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”. I visited this house while I was in college at Storrs, CT. It was a lovely set of memories to see your photos! Thank you.

  43. I’d love to sit in Twain’s library! How fascinating, thanks for sharing.

  44. eternallyemo says:

    Great pictures! I was there maybe 10 years ago. Really enjoyed it.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  45. Hello –

    Mark Twain has been my favorite author since I was in school. He still is today. Thank you for the reminder and btw…… a fabulous house, for certain. WOW! Have a good Thursday evening. 🙂

  46. How large it is. that would be a great icon for horor film making or some thing like that. Nice Picture with oldest era

  47. Pollyanna says:

    What an amazing house! I want one. Thanks for sharing your pics and the information. I never knew about his real name. x

  48. Calvinball says:

    Amazing!

  49. Sandra Stone says:

    How I’d love to read more details about interior from those who’ve toured the house. Details would enable us to envision the space. Reading cubbies? Original furniture?
    What kind? Gingerbread carving? Did the master bedroom have a fireplace? This really
    would create vignettes of the Twain’s private life. That cabin in Elmira must be the same one described as being originally at Hartford? Interesting to writers to learn of how many writing cabins Twain had, completely separate from the hullaballoo of laughing children. To learn more of Suzy’s death … read the last couple of biographies which also detail the sad last years of a depressed, submissive Twain. The intimate glimpse into the lives of the great show us not all is as it was touted to be. America’s greatest humorist died a broken man. Thanks to those who mentioned other great houses to visit in the north east. I live west … but going there feels almost an imperative. Thanks too for the really great close-up photos. Mysterious and magical.

  50. Love Mark Twain. I knew about his financial woes — bet this house cost a lot to build. Am thinking that was an interesting tour and I’d like to take it sometime.

  51. richannkur says:

    Nice article and pics too…………

  52. melafiles says:

    home sweet home

  53. whatsaysyou says:

    Mark Twain is a brilliant writer and I love his works Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as a child despite the fact I, as a young girl, grew up in a classroom surrounded by girls who prefer to read Sweet Valley. What a beautiful house that represents Twain’s history and legacy.

  54. Yuni says:

    Is a great house with traditional architect, woowww..i like it..dream i have house like that..have a small room near the roof..cute 😀

  55. tliztom says:

    awesome pics 🙂
    mark twain’s one of my favorite authors.

  56. zookyshirts says:

    Thanks for the photos and description of Mark Twain’s house. It’s beautiful, and it’s easy to imagine a bright and comfortable house inside — with the glass conservatory and the porches on the third floor. I remember seeing Twain and his family living in this house in Ken Burns’s documentary and thinking how nice it looked. Thanks for your post!

  57. aRya says:

    the house is beautifuull

  58. Xuhui Shi says:

    It’ great! I like it!

  59. I’m a literary fanatic so I should stop by sometime! Nice post and thanks for sharing!

  60. coolestkeya says:

    Wow! This house is amazing.

  61. Xhisoka says:

    I wish I had a house like that (with lesser rooms, though).

    Nice pictures!

  62. abhishek says:

    the house is captivating. It is good to know that a great personality once lived here!
    website designer in delhi

  63. barrycyrus says:

    Beautiful! The house is insane, kinda creepy but aha, I would stay there for a night with my friends if given the chance! 😉

  64. Siobhan says:

    Wow that is a stunning house. Great story about the pool table.

  65. claire2 says:

    What a lovely piece. As a kid, I loved Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer; they were so vivid and real in my mind. I would love to step inside the world of Mark Twain, just for a second, just to see where he was when he wrote those wonderful books.
    We have visited Haworth, the home of the Brontes, a few times. The first time I went was when I was a child, and I am afraid I did not appreciate it at all; instead my sisters and I spent the whole time playing hide and seek behind the gravestones and the grave looking mannequin wearing Charlotte Bronte’s grey dress.

  66. Thanks for visiting us as part of your challenge. It’s a true treasure, and we appreciate your kind review and support.

    Jeff Nichols
    Executive Director, MTH&M

    • TBM says:

      Thanks! It is so wonderful that you and your staff work so hard to maintain such a lovely place for Twain fans to visit.

  67. such old house alway give a lot of thing,

  68. thor27 says:

    Check out todays blog. http://thor27.wordpress.com

  69. maqsoodarfi says:

    so fascinating, congrats on being freshly pressed.

    Nice sharing thanks.

  70. That’s a gorgeous house… I don’t usually like anything that intricate but it’s really pretty stunning. Reminds me of some of the old “gingerbread” houses in Ferndale, CA… though not nearly as colorful. 😀

  71. Pingback: Albert Berg’s A Prairie Home Apocalypse or: What the Dog Saw | Sonia G Medeiros is Doing the Write Thing

  72. jeannynicole says:

    It’s eally a wonderful house, kinda my favorite style.

  73. Mark Twain is a brilliant writer and I love his works Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as a child despite the fact I, as a young girl, grew up in a classroom surrounded by girls who prefer to read Sweet Valley. What a beautiful house that represents Twain’s history and legacy.

  74. Thanks for the photos and description of Mark Twain’s house. It’s beautiful, and it’s easy to imagine a bright and comfortable house inside — with the glass conservatory and the porches on the third floor. I remember seeing Twain and his family living in this house in Ken Burns’s documentary and thinking how nice it looked. Thanks for your post!

  75. Caroline says:

    I did not see this !
    Those photos are amazing. I’ve never seen this house, it’s brilliant.

    • TBM says:

      It is a wonderful house to see. I’m a big fan of Twain and it was a thrill to wander through his home. I hope to read a couple of his books soon.

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