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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Vicki Dempsey <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 11 Jun 2012 18:54:46 -0500
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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I have been contacted privately by many of you for insights into the  
current state of things in Hannibal, but today's experience draws me  
out of my self-imposed exile from the Twain world.  I had a visit from  
a lovely former foreign exchange student from Brazil.  She wanted her  
husband to see the Hannibal sights.  For the first time in years I  
went through the museum.  I am shocked to report to you that the  
foundation and board have allowed the Pilaster House/Grant's Drug  
Store to decay horribly.  It is even more appalling that the site was  
on the states Most Endangered Property list in 2009 -- and yet nothing  
has been done.  For those of you who do not know, the Pilaster House  
is where the Clemens family was renting rooms after John M. Clemens  
filed bankruptcy.  It is where he died.  This is the last place Sam  
lived and enjoyed the free childhood he celebrated in Tom Sawyer.   
Shortly after he entered the world of work as an apprentice.
        	This building is one of only two real structures related to  
Sam Clemens that the organization supposedly cares for.  It breaks my  
heart that while building a faux "Huck Finn" house and dolling up an  
old pizza parlor and store building as museums they allowed an actual  
historic structure that is essential to the development of Sam to  
rot.  I will try to take some photographs on Wednesday to post on my   
facebook page and give you all my address.  I wish I were  
exaggerating, but there is no hyperbole here.
        	I don't know what is wrong with Hannibal.  I have been  
thinking about it for a long time.  I know many of the people on the  
board.  They are not bad people.  But they assuredly are not  
historians or preservationists.   It makes me terribly sad.
	I know they are going to say they don't have money.  The reason is  
that they spent their money on silly things.

Terrell Dempsey