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Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
October 1, 2006
From journal Heading Back Home
December 26, 2001
In the entrance lobby we are introduced to the Paige Compositor which played such an important role in the later years of the Clemens's family. The money he lost forced him to tour the world.
Samuel Clemens better known as the writer Mark Twain came to Hartford in 1874. He and his wife Olivia had been living in Buffalo New York but after the death of their son Langdon they couldn't bear to stay there anymore. You will probably be as surprised as I was to learn that the house was in Olivia's name. In 1874 she was better off financially than him. He had yet to write his most famous works, most of which were written in the 17 years he lived in this house. The Clemens had 3 daughters Clara, Susie and Jean and this is above all, a family home.
Sam's room was the billiard room on the third floor. Here he could escape to his all male sanctum. He could write, entertain or stroll onto his porch for a smoke. When he didn't want to be home to visitors he would go out onto the porch and the guest could be truthfully told that he had stepped out.
One interesting fact I remember is that he was born the year Halley's Comet came and he died when it came again.
The tour begins outdoors and we are brought through the front door as if we were guests. The house is beautifully decorated in Victorian style. They do a good job of recreating the atmosphere of 100 years ago.
The parlor was made to impress guests. The stenciling is done in real silver. Because it was December there were Christmas decorations up and under the piano was was a trunk of doll cloths that really belonged to the Clemens daughters.
In the dining room there is a large centerpiece on the table that was used at Sam and Olivia's wedding. Most of the furniture in the house is not original; it was sold at the time the house was sold. Off the library there is a conservatory that was suggested by Harriet Beecher Stow who was a great believer in terrariums and indoor plants.
Every Christmas the Clemens family would go out in their sleigh, with Samuel dressed in a red jacket and beard, to deliver food baskets to needy family around Hartford.
The house itself is much like any upper middle class home of it's time but if you are a lover of Mark Twain's books then you will find this a fascinating insight into the real man Samuel Clemens.
The house has a very nice gift shop.
It is located off I-84 and has a large, free parking lot.
From journal Hartford Ct. Home to Harriet, Hooker and Handguns