The Mark Twain House: Hartford’s Pride and Joy

Credits: The Mark Twain House & Museum

Hartford, Connecticut, is a small city, but it’s home to a massive American landmark: The Mark Twain House and Museum.

This house was built in 1873 and designed by Edward Tuckerman Potter, a famous New York architect. Mark Twain (whose real name is Samuel Langhorne Clemens) and his wife, Olivia Langdon Clemens, lived in the house from 1874 to 1891.

The Clemens family at home in Hartford, Connecticut, 1885 – Credits: The Mark Twain House & Museum

While living in his Hartford home, Twain wrote some of his most famous books, including A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

The house is an astounding 11,500 square feet and features 25 rooms spread over three floors. The Clemens family paid between $40,000 and $45,000 — a large sum at the time.

In 1881, they also contracted Louis C. Tiffany — the son of the founder of the famous Tiffany & Co. jewelry store — to decorate the walls and ceilings of the home’s public spaces.

Later, Twain called the nearly 20 years spent in the house “the happiest and most productive years of his life.”

In 1891, the family experienced financial challenges and chose to move to Europe. Then, in 1896, the eldest daughter, Susy, passed away, and Olivia found it too challenging to return to the Hartford home.

The Clemens family decided to sell the property a few years later, in 1903, and never lived in Hartford again.

Today, visitors to Hartford can tour the house, which has been restored to its former glory. It’s only shown by guided tours, and tickets sell out quickly, so it’s recommended to buy them in advance.

The museum is open seven days a week. From Monday through Thursday, it’s open from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, and from Friday through Sunday, it’s open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.

Those who want to buy tickets for the tour can do so online through the Mark Twain House & Museum website.