Twain and Stowe

When planning our recent historical trip and traveling in the area of  Hartford, Connecticut, we wanted to visit two points of interest – the homes of Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

We drove to the Harriet Beecher Stowe Visitors Center, parked and while walking up to purchase our tickets, were amazed at the large, gorgeous home right next door. Much to our surprise, we learned that it was Mark Twain’s home. Twain and Stowe were next door neighbors.

Depending upon which home you mapped, you arrived at one of the two Visitor Centers. The homes were next door to each other, but the Visitor Centers were on different streets.

StoweHarriet Beecher Stowe, an American abolitionist and author, wrote and published more than thirty books on a wide range of topics and interests.

Ms. Stowe’s best-selling novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, chronicled the life of an African-American slave that changed our world forever.

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s home was a lovely, large cottage beautifully appointed with an abundance of items related to her writings.

It was interesting to hear about her impact on President Lincoln and the start of the Civil War. It was reported that when President Lincoln met Ms. Stowe in 1862, he warmly remarked “so you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

We finished touring the Stowe cottage and went over to the Mark Twain Visitor Center to purchase tickets to tour the majestic three-story home.

National Geographic claims it is number 7 of the top 10 historic homes in the world. I think I can easily go along with that assessment.

The pen name, Mark Twain, came from Samuel Clemens Twainworking as a paddle boat captain and hollering ‘Mark Twain” which meant 2 fathoms (12 feet) deep and indicated safe water ahead.

The woodworking in the home was beautiful and many of the walls were covered in stencils done by Tiffany. Even as you stood there looking at the stencil work, it was amazing to think that Tiffany had gone to the house to do the work himself.

Part of the tour included the information that Samuel Clemens’ wife paid for the home, and she only put her name on the deed so he couldn’t go bankrupt and lose their home. Wow – she was way ahead of her time.

During the years Samuel Clemens and Harriet Beecher Stowe were neighbors, they were at different points in their lives. Ms. Stowe was already a literary success with grown children, and Mr. Clemens was just starting his climb to popularity while enjoying his young family.

Neither home allowed photographs. But, I’m here to say that if you are in the Hartford area I’d highly recommend a short stop to see these gifts from our past.

The homes and the special people who lived there were inspiring yesterday and today.

Granddaughter (12) comments: Both homes were very interesting. I really liked the story about Mark Twain sleeping upside down in his bed so he could look at his beautiful headboard and how he let his children take the angels off the posts to play with and bathe during the day as long as they were back at night.

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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5 Responses to Twain and Stowe

  1. I keep meaning to visit Mark Twains house. I enjoyed the post.


  2. How wonderful you took the grandchildren to see this wonderful piece of history…they will never forget it.


  3. Grandma Kc says:

    This is what I mean when I say I have to travel vicariously through others — I learned so much reading this. So glad your granddaughter enjoyed it, too. Mark Twain is Richard’s favorite author. Seems so funny to see the picture of him so young — and very nice looking, too! I am so familiar with the older version of him. Thanks!!


  4. Joyce says:

    I really enjoyed this! The two authors are among my favorites. How nice to be able to add two more literary places (along with Hawthorne) to your list of sites you’ve seen! Isn’t the home of Louisa May Alcott in Concord or Lexington, MA? So much history packed into your part of the country! Lucky grandkids to be able to see it all!


  5. What is always fun to read is the grands comments and perspective added in 🙂


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