A trip to Hannibal MissouriPosted Wednesday, October 26, 2011, at 12:08 AM
Hannibal Missouri is a great place to visit! I have been there a couple times and would gladly go again to see the wonderful sights and to walk the cobblestone streets.
Close to the Mighty Mississippi River, there are many "places" that have been mentioned in Mark Twain's books. You will find the "fence" that needs whitewashing. A few museums and other theme related shops and eateries.
The first time I visited there, we only stopped for a brief time and walked the river front. I also put my quarter in and rode a horse in front of an old store. No matter that I was too old for such childish things, I just can't pass up a carousel or those old horse rides that you used to find in front of shoe shops and other venues.
The 2nd tour was with a group of my friends and we took an extended tour of the town. I like to tour towns on foot if I can. You seem to get the benefit of all the nuance of the history that way. You can reach out and touch the cool bricks and marvel at the imaginations of the builders and architects that planned many of the historic homes and businesses that exist there today.
There is a white Lighthouse built in the memory of Mark Twain and restored in 1993. An Old Dry Goods Store, several churches built in the 1800's and the steamship that will take you on a tour of the Mississippi.
Several Lumber Barons lived in Hannibal. They built some beautiful stately mansions that still exist today. The one particular mansion that we took a tour of was breathtakingly beautiful. 13,500 square feet of all the finest materials that money could buy. Italian Marble; Tiffany Glass, the finest hardwoods from all over the world. A grand double staircase.
John Cruickshank moved into this mansion with his wife and four daughters. Mark Twain gave a farewell speech on the steps of his home. Many dignitaries stayed there also.
Louis Comfort Tiffany was a visitor there too. If my memory serves me right, one of the chandeliers was made by him in the dining room and the glass in the door for the tools on the 3rd floor. If you can imagine having a special window made just for the tool closet in your house by Louis Comfort Tiffany!
But no home can exist without love and care. In 1924, John Cruickshank died and his widow left the house and the grand furnishings without a backward glance. She moved across the street to her daughter's house and never returned. Most of the closets still contained a majority of her clothes when they came to restore the mansion.
For 43 years, the house was unoccupied. The tour guide said that kids challenged each other to run through the house and up the stairs to the school rooms to tear parts of the maps off as proof of their bravery. In fact, this beautiful home was doomed for the wrecking ball if two families had not stepped in and found the monies to restore this home to its original glory.
Of all of the sights and experiences, visiting this home was one of the most memorable ones. It was hard for any of us to imagine leaving a home of that grandeur without a second glance
In all of my life's plans did I ever think that I would ever live in the Midwest. Or see some of the nations most historical towns and battlegrounds. As I have said before, Missouri and Kansas are full of tiny little out of the way places with courthouses and town squares.
One day, I am going to go back to Hannibal with my grandchildren. I am going to walk the streets and point out the sights and see them again through their eyes.
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Walking the Fence Line
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Fixing fence is the one of the hardest jobs on a ranch. I no longer live on a ranch, but I do know what hard work is. Fences are everyone's concern, but nowadays,the "hole" is always your neighbor's side not your own. It used to be that you would respect your neighbor and mend the fence together. If their cows got in your field, a simple phone call resolved the problem. You might even saddle up your own horse and help them gather them up. We need more people who are willing to roll their sleeves up and fix the fence regardless of who your neighbor is. There are people in this country who need to be reminded that a fence is like the way you should conduct your life. Your posts should be straight and neat. The wire needs to be stretched tight and your gate might be closed, but can still be easily opened. And most of all, we can all saddle up together and ride the range, it won't matter if you have an Appaloosa, Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred. The cows still have to be gathered, fences have to be fixed, and the range is a wide open space of opportunity for us all.