TWAIN-L Archives

Mark Twain Forum


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Condense Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Michael Patrick Hearn <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 19 Sep 2010 06:38:15 -0700
text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (196 lines)
Sat, Sep. 18, 2010
Mark Twain may get his due in Nevada
By Martin Griffith
Associated Press

RENO, Nev. - Mark Twain is finally getting some recognition in the state where 
he assumed his pen name as a newspaper reporter nearly 150 years ago.
The Nevada State Board on Geographic Names has voted to name a cove on Lake 
Tahoe's northeast shore for Samuel Clemens, Twain's real name. The name now goes 
to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names for final action.
Nevada historians believe the site is where Twain accidentally started a 
wildfire in 1861 while preparing to cook dinner over a campfire. He later 
assumed his pen name as a reporter in nearby Virginia City.
Nevada Archivist Jeff Kintop, a board member, said there was no geographic 
feature in the state named for Twain, whose book Roughing It put Nevada on the 
"The name is fitting because he became Mark Twain here and developed his voice 
here," Kintop said. "It's also fitting because his description of Lake Tahoe 
in Roughing It is breathtaking."
Twain and a companion staked a timber claim in September 1861, weeks after he 
arrived in Carson City with his brother, Orion, then secretary of the Nevada 
That first trip to Lake Tahoe inspired Twain to write one of the most famous 
lines ever about the lake: "As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains 
brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought it must surely be the 
fairest picture the whole earth affords."
In his writings, Twain provides only vague clues about the camp's location.
Nevada historians have embraced the research of retired U.S. Forest Service 
hydrologist Larry Schmidt of Minden, who concluded that Twain walked from Carson 
City to Glenbrook on the lake's east shore, then boated six miles north to the 
David Antonucci of Homewood, Calif., a civil engineer and surveyor, told the 
board Tuesday that Twain tramped to Incline Village, then boated six miles west.
"I plan to contact the national board and explain to them that by approving this 
recommendation, it would just add to the confusion about where Mark Twain 
camped," Antonucci said later.
The U.S. Forest Service also opposed naming the cove after Twain, saying that 
his influence on Tahoe was minimal and that other historical figures were more 
deserving of the honor.


Click on site to see photos:

Posted on Sun, Aug. 15, 2010

Mark Twain's 'foretaste of heaven' in N.Y.
By Diane Stoneback
ELMIRA, N.Y. - Elmira is a long way from Mark Twain's birthplace of Hannibal, 
Mo., and many miles from his grand Victorian home in Hartford, Conn. But this 
town has its own story to tell about Samuel Langhorne Clemens, one of America's 
greatest writers and storytellers.
Elmira's story explains its "Mark Twain Country" moniker and why Twain wrote 
seven books, including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of 
Tom Sawyer, here.
Twain courted and married the love of his life, Olivia "Livy" Langdon, here. The 
couple's three daughters were born here. Twain, Livy, and the girls stayed and 
played here for 22 fun-filled summers, and Elmira's Woodlawn Cemetery is the 
final resting place for Twain and his family.
Those summers in Chemung County, on New York's southern tier, probably were the 
happiest times of Twain's life. He once said that being in Elmira was like 
getting "a foretaste of heaven."
Elmirans finally have decided to let the world know about their town's deep 
connections with Twain. They're moving full steam ahead on a raft of activities 
for the rest of this year - celebrating Mark Twain's 175th birthday and the 
125th anniversary of the release of Huckleberry Finn.
Visitors who want to learn more about Twain, his haunts, and recreational 
pursuits are greeted by jaunty posters and banners containing Twain caricatures 
and the town's new slogan: "Proud to be where Twain remains."
When the Clemens family packed for their summer escape, they settled at Quarry 
Farm, which sits high on East Hill overlooking Elmira. It was the home of Livy's 
brother-in-law and sister, Theodore and Susan Langdon Crane.
While Livy spent her days with the Cranes or visiting her parents at their home 
in town, the girls spent time in their playhouse, enjoyed the outdoors, and 
befriended the farm's animals, including a corps of cats whom Twain named and 
loved, too.
Meanwhile, Twain put in full days writing at Quarry Farm. His mind danced with 
ideas that poured onto paper at a furious pace.
The reason? The Cranes created a grand place for him to write - a study that was 
far enough from their farmhouse to be quiet and high enough on East Hill to give 
him a grand view of the Chemung River threading through the heart of town. 
Although it wasn't as big as the Mississippi, it inspired him.
Twain, the former steamboat pilot, loved that study, which was shaped like the 
pilothouse on the vessels he once steered on the Mississippi. Before his 
peaceful summers here ended, he would write Roughing It, A Tramp Abroad, The 
Prince and the Pauper, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court within 
its walls.
Twainiacs should make the study one of their first stops - but it has been 
Livy Langdon's descendants, who willed both the study and the farm to Elmira 
College, decided to share these treasures in two ways.
The study was moved from East Hill to the Elmira College campus, to show 
thousands of people the spot where Twain did his best work. Twain's words, 
posted inside, explain his feelings for his cozy little "wordshop."
"It is octagonal, with a peaked roof, each face filled with a spacious window, 
and it sits perched in complete isolation. . . . It is a cozy nest and just room 
in it for a sofa, table and three or four chairs, and when the storms sweep down 
the remote valley and the lightning flashes behind the hills beyond, and the 
rain beats upon the roof over my head, imagine the luxury of it."
Quarry Farm, meanwhile, has been carefully preserved and reserved for use by 
Twain scholars researching and writing books.
Barbara Snedecor, director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira 
College, says, "Truly devoted Twain fans can ask at the study for driving 
directions to the farm. They can pull over to the side of East Hill's Pond Road 
to see or take pictures of the farmhouse and its porch, where Clemens sat every 
evening to read his day's work to the family."
Signing up for one of the center's evening programs in the barn at Quarry Farm 
gives Twain devotees the chance to stroll the farmhouse grounds and pet the 
cats. The barn also contains Twain-related displays, including the author's 
fossil collection.
There are many more Twain-related experiences in Elmira.
Take a ride on the Elmiran, the trolley that leaves from the Holiday Inn 
Riverview. The trolley drivers treat passengers to a lively narrative about the 
town, its history, Twain, and his pastimes. The trolley stops at Twain's study 
on the campus, and drivers also point out statues of Mark Twain and Livy, who 
was a member of Elmira College's class of 1864.
After the tour, return to the college's Hamilton Hall to see a free exhibition 
about Twain's life in Elmira and explore its gift shop for Twain souvenirs.
The Chemung Valley History Museum's permanent Twain exhibit and temporary 
gallery tell more about Twain's time here. It details the romantic story of how 
Sam Clemens met and courted Livy - she turned him down three times.
Other exhibition highlights are the Langdons' role in Elmira society and the 
good times at Quarry Farm. Along the way, visitors will see one of the pool 
tables Twain used, Livy and Sam's marriage license, a desk Twain may have used 
at Quarry Farm, one of his pipes, a favorite quill pen, and one of his 
typewriters, which helps make his case that he was the first author to write a 
full manuscript on one of the newfangled machines.
The Langdon family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery is the saddest point on a Twain 
Country tour. But in Mark Twain-like style that makes most people smile, 
visitors sometimes leave a gift on his gravestone - a cigar - recalling his 
habit of smoking as many as 40 a day.
After hitting all the official Twain stops, allow time for some Twain-style fun.
Ride the beautiful (and fast) turn-of-the-century carousel at Eldridge Park. The 
grand Victorian-era walking park that's being lovingly restored also offers 
rides in a dragon boat and paddleboats on its central lake. But its newest and 
biggest attraction opened Memorial Day weekend - the Mark Twain Miniature Golf 
Course. Its ticket booth re-creates every detail of the Mark Twain study at 
Quarry Farm.
To conclude a visit to Twain Country, stop at Elmira's Starlite Room to sample 
Twain-themed libations centered on Old Crow, Twain's favorite bourbon. Or take a 
40-minute drive to Glenora Wine Cellars on Seneca Lake. There, you can savor 
their Mark Twain Riesling with a dinner at Glenora's Veraisons Restaurant.
Either location will be appropriate for a few toasts to Mark Twain's luck at 
finding Livy and her beloved Elmira.
Mark Twain's Elmira
A celebration of one of America's most famous authors, on the 175th anniversary 
of his birth and 125th anniversary of Huckleberry Finn's release.
Where: Points throughout Elmira, N.Y., where Twain spent 22 summers.
When: Through December.
How much: Many sightseeing opportunities are free; others are at minimal cost.
Tip 1: Visit the Mark Twain study, Hamilton Hall exhibition, and statue on 
the Elmira College campus (; take the Elmiran trolley tour; see 
the Mark Twain in Elmira exhibition at the Chemung Valley Historical 
Museum (; and stop atWoodlawn 
Cemetery (, where Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark 
Twain) is buried.
Tip 2: For Twain-connected fun, Victorian-era Eldridge 
Park ( offers its new Mark Twain Miniature Golf Course (its 
ticket booth is a painstakingly accurate re-creation of the Mark Twain study) 
and also offers rides on an amazingly fast carousel as well as on dragon and 
paddle boats.
Tip 3: Elmira chefs will offer their interpretations of Twain's favorite foods 
on summer and fall weekends.
Stop at Charlie's Cafe (, Hill Top 
Inn (, Barb's Soup's On Cafe (, 
and Sophie's Cafe ( to eat Twain-style. Also, sip 
Twain-inspired drinks at the Starlite Room( or pop 
the cork on Glenora Wine Cellars' Mark Twain Riesling (
Tip 4: Serious Mark Twain enthusiasts should attend a public lecture in the barn 
at Quarry Farm or a program such as the Oct. 15 and 16 seminar "En Route," which 
will examine Twain's travel books, A Tramp Abroad and Following the Equator. All 
are offered by the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College.
Tip 5: Good places to stay in the heart of Elmira are the Holiday Inn 
Riverview (607-734-4211, and the Painted Ladybed and 
breakfast (607-846-3500,
Chemung County 
Chamber of Commerce
For a schedule of Twain lectures, call the Center for Mark Twain Studies at 
Elmira College, 607-735-1941,
or e-mail [log in to unmask]
- Diane Stoneback