In 1871, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and his wife Olivia Clemens moved to Hartford after getting married one year earlier. After renting a home for two years, the couple hired New York architect Edward Tuckerman Potter to design their home. Today, this gorgeous classic home doubles as a museum and is one of Hartford’s most-visited National Historic Landmarks. Our Connecticut adoption agents think the house and museum is a perfect field trip for any family living in or passing through Hartford. It’s a great place to learn and bond together. Some of our favorite aspects of the Mark Twain House and Museum include:
History of the Home
Construction of the home began in August 1873, while Twain and Olivia were traveling abroad. The couple moved into the home on September 19, 1874 – even though the home wasn’t fully completed yet. Twain was frustrated by construction delays and the expensive costs of building the home, but the finished product was worth the trouble. Twain said the years in this home were the happiest and most productive of his life.
In 1891, Twain and Olivia had to move the family to Europe due to financial issues. The family never returned to Hartford, although Twain always missed their home there. They sold the property in 1903.
The home was set to be demolished in 1929 before a friend of the family stepped in to save it from destruction. The home was restored between 1955 and 1974. The restoration project finished in the same year as the 100th anniversary of the home.
The Mark Twain Home was renovated once more in 1999, including work on the exterior wood, tile, and terracotta brick, along with a rebuilding of the purple slate roofs. This renovation restored the home to how it was while the Twains were living there between 1881-1891.
How The Twains Lived
Visits to the Mark Twain Home are by guided tour only, which means you’ll learn all kinds of new information from experts on Twain’s life and his works. During your tour, you’ll be in awe of the beauty of the home and be able to envision what life there may have been like for the Twains.
Twain’s billiards room and private study were located on the top floor. Twain spent many late night hours writing in the study. He also entertained male guests here and offered them cigars and alcohol.
Their children were built their own section of the home with a nursery and playroom/classroom. Mrs. Clemens tutored her daughters in the classroom on the second floor.
Some of Twain’s most famous works were written in this home, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Life on the Mississippi.