Samuel Clemens, whose pseudonym, Mark Twain, was a term used by Mississippi River pilots to indicate a water depth of 2 fathoms, lived here from 1874 to 1891, a period when he wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The 19-room house is a fascinating example of the late-19th-century style sometimes known as "Picturesque Gothic," with several steeply peaked gables and brick walls whose varying patterns are highlighted by black or orange paint. The High Victorian interior was the work of distinguished designers of the time, including Louis Comfort Tiffany, who provided both advice and stained glass. Twain's enthusiasm for newfangled gadgets -- Life On The Mississippi is said to be the first novel written on a typewriter -- led to the installation of a primitive telephone in the entrance hall.
A guided tour takes about an hour and eventually leads to the top floor and the writer's main workroom, a large space that also has a billiard table (Twain would often wake his butler in the middle of the night to play a few games). A museum, opened in 2003, houses galleries, a small cinema, a cafe, and a shop.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Highly Recommended 2010