Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mark Twain House

Do you enjoy touring historic homes as much as I do? Whenever I go somewhere new I check things out to see what historic homes are in the area that allow visitors. Sometimes they have been converted into offices, a B & B, restaurant, or shop, but still maintain historical elements and the people using the building will let you look around if you make an appointment. Of course, the most fun are the homes that are either preserved the exact way they were in their heyday, or restored as closely as possible. For this Hooked on Houses tour I thought I'd take you to one of my favorite places. Most of these pictures can be clicked to enlarge for more detailed viewing. I've also included links to sites with more pictures as well as information about the architect, designer, and style of arvchitecture.The first historic home I remember visiting is the Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT. I went with my Girl Scout troop for the Christmas tour. In addition to being a beautifully restored National Historic Landmark, at Christmas they go all out and decorate and change the tour to include Christmas stories of the Clemens family. Most people think of Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain as living in Missouri, but he built and lived in this home from 1874-1891. He chose to move to Hartford because it was the location of his publishing company. The house is the place where many of Twain's major works were written, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. In 1891, after a large investment went bad, the Clemens family moved to Europe. In his later life Sam Clemens lived in Redding, CT where he died in 1910.
Sam, Livie, and their 3 daughters enjoy the porch.

If a person is sitting on this long porch next to the porte cochere, looking out over the yard, she will also be looking at the neighbor's house. Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin lived less than 50 yards from the Clemens family.
It's another example of beautiful Victorian architecture.

The conservatory is just off the library and juts out next to the Ombra, the nifty circular porch. Below are pictures of the ceiling and brickwork of the porch. Edward Tuckerman Potter was the architect of the Victorian Stick Style home built in the Nook Farm neighborhood of Hartford. The house was as modern as could be for its time, with a telephone, running water and bathrooms. Louis Comfort Tiffany, best known today for his lamp designs, was the interior designer. The home was decorated with dark, heavy woods, velvets, and custom wallpapers, all in the highest style of the day.Upon entering the house, visitors are awed by a grand entry. The ceiling and walls have intricate patterns of woodwork, metallic paint, and wallpaper, inspired by Northern Africa.
Laura Bush visited the house and enjoyed the drawing room. Over the fireplace is what appears to be a mirror, but is actually a large window into the entry hallBeing a literary family, of course there was a library, which opens to the conservatory and back yard. Just put in a TV and you've got a modern family room!
The top floor of the home was Sam Clemen's personal domain, housing his office and a comfortable billiard room.I hope you've enjoyed what is just a small taste of the Victorian-era opulence of the
Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT.
Be sure to visit Hooked on Houses to take the tours being put on by Julia and the other participants.

41 comments:

maya said...

Love this! Thank you for the tour. I love old houses. :)

Smilingsal said...

What mansions these are! I didn't know that Twain was a Connecticut Yankee!

Smilingsal said...

Elizabeth, I forgot...please come pick up some awards.

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Beautiful home with a beautiful history! Thanks for the tour!

Mrs. B. said...

Great tour! Thank you!

squawmama said...

That was a beautiful tour of Mark Twains house and what a bonus to have Harriet Beecher Stowe's home right next door... Next time I am in Hartford Ct. I will be visiting them both... Thanks for the info...

(((HUGS)))
Donna

sandra/tx said...

What a treat! I learned a little history, thanks to you, and really enjoyed the tour.

Jewelgirl said...

What a fab house tour! You live in
CT! Or grew up in the Hartford CT
area? I have a small connection to
Hartford CT.... my great grandmother
was born in Hartford CT! It is not
100% proven by a birth certificate
yet but most other records I have
say Hartford CT! You know us family
history folks we need proof...:) or
we say unproven! This is a great house!

Passion for Rugs said...

Wonderful! So much detail in craftmanship back then. --Jane

Carolyn (Harbor Hon) said...

Oooo! Thanks for taking us on that tour. I love victorian architecture. I would be so comfortable in that house. There might even be enough room for all my crafting dodads. :)

Suzann @ Lavender and Roses said...

Great tour - thanks!

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

This is one of my all-time favorite historic homes, and I was thrilled to see all the wonderful photos you collected of it to show us. I really love the old family photo of them sitting on the porch.

How unusual to have a window over a fireplace looking into the entry hall!

When I was in Hartford, we went to see this house, but it was "closed for the season." I was SO disappointed. I peered in the windows, but it wasn't the same.

Thanks for joining the house tour and showing us all these great pics! :-)

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

That was amazing. Thank you for the most enjoyable post all week.

Jerralea said...

I enjoyed this so much! I didn't know Mark Twain lived in Conneticut!

Rue said...

Hi Elizabeth :)

You KNEW I would love this tour didn't you? LOL

I had no idea he ever lived there and what a beautiful home it was. The entry about made me fall out of my chair! Oh to live back then....

Thank you for sharing this gorgeous home :)
rue

Ms. Tee said...

I love the detail of old houses, too. Thank you for the tour!

The Summer Kitchen Interiors said...

Elizabeth!! We are speechless - his home is so beautiful! Someday, we will have to make it a point to visit Hartford and see this gorgeous piece of history!
We enjoyed it so much!!
Enjoy your weekend!
Karla & Karrie

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

I think Julia's next tour should be Hooked on Historical Houses. 'Cause I am. :-) So thanks for sharing this!

Is this the home that is in a bit of financial trouble?? I recently saw a story on CBS Sunday Morning about historic homes in danger of closing (due to funding cuts) and could swear this was one of them. Which would be AWFUL! What a beautiful home, and famous resident aside it's such a wonderful example of period architecture.

I never knew that he was neighbors with Harriet Beecher Stowe! That's pretty incredible...There must have been something good in the water. ;-)

Angie said...

I love old houses too... they're so fun to look at. Some day I want one :)

Heather said...

The ceiling beams are incredible, old houses just amazing me anyhow!

imjacobsmom said...

Thanks for the tour of Mark/Sam's home. Could you imagine living there? jacob loves to tour older homes and mansions. I think he gets more out of them than I do. He studies the mechanisms and whatnot and notices all the little details. It never fails he starts discussing something with the tour guide and our group winds up in the attic or at the fuse box. ~ Robyn

Betty said...

Great tour Elisabeth! I´m like to look into homes too, but for me I´d rather see the new ones. :)
Thanks for checking out my world and your dear comment. Someday I will make a post of my ancestors and our heritage.
Hope you come back again some time!

Life on Bonnie Lane said...

Thanks for sharing this! It's an incredible home! I think I have seen some pics in a magazine before of it, but it's really fun seeing it online! Ooooo, I want that porch and that conservatory! Oh to have been able to live in something like this!

Kady

CaraBee said...

I love old houses. I had no idea that Sam Clemens lived in Connecticut! Or that he lived next door to Harriet Beecher Stowe. My history and architecture lesson for the day. Thanks!!

mannequin said...

That home has got to be the most beautiful I've ever seen. The dark wood, windows and porch are just amazing. I imagine his wife was just the envy of all the ladies; she had a telephone in addition to all that!


I'm now off to check out the architect and see if I can find some of his other works of art.

I really love these home tours. Thanks so much for the links.
The only bad thing is that after looking at such opulence, I feel like a pauper in my little Cape Cod.

Bridget said...

What a treat!!! No tricks. lol
Thanks for the tour, b.

Le @ Third on the Right said...

wow that curved brick (?) wall on the porch - how divine ! Thanks for showing me round and coming down under - cheers le

KVC said...

What a beautiful historic home! I love the porch. KV

Shannon @ Silver Trappings said...

Thanks for the visit to my Pink Saturday. Love these victorian houses!

Shannon

TattooedMinivanMom said...

I knew that house the second I saw the picture!! We took our kids to see the Mark Twain house when we visited CT a couple of years ago. My hubby grew up in East Haven!

Linda Merrill said...

Fantastic piece of history and architecture! Thanks for posting, I've never seen this much detail of Clemens' house!

Pennie Mills said...

What a great tour and the pics are just exquisite, thanks so much-Pennie

BPOTW said...

What an amazing house! And to live in that neighborhood would have been a great time. Lots of good conversation, I'm sure :) I love doing house tours. While we lived in Germany we got to tour a lot of castles. Talk about opulence!

Thanks for submitting your post!

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

I would sooooooooooooooooooo love to take this tour - so beautiful!

Joy in the Burbs... said...

I would love to see this house one day. Thanks for the pictures. What an amazing home. I smile every time I hear something about Samuel Clemens. My maiden name is Clements and my grandfather (now deceased) was convinced that we were related to Samuel Clemens and told many people that throughout his life that he was.
About 15 years ago I did a geneology search on our family lineage and found no connection to Samuel Clemens at all. It was still hard to convince him that it just wasn't so.
:)

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