Scott and others:
Mark Twain spoke in Norwalk OH (near where I now live) on Jan. 21,
1869 on his American Vandal speaking tour. The previous night (20th) )
he had lectured in Toledo and the next night (22nd), he returned to his
Cleveland base for another engagement.
At the time, the existing railroad that would have connected the three
cities was the Cleveland & Toledo Railroad. It also had a locomotive
facility in Norwalk which became the town's largest employer.
The brick building where Twain spoke still stands as a two-story
building with a Chinese restaurant on the lower level. The third floor
was a large community room where Twain spoke and it was removed some
time later after wind damage.
Twain, of course, was not widely known at the time so he warranted only
a squib in the weekly Norwalk Reflector five days later:
"Whittlesey Hall was crowded to its sitting capacity on Thursday
evening, on the occasion of the lecture by "Mark Twain." His discourse
was a fine one of its kind. ---- Its humorous points convulsing the
audience with frequent laughter --- while its occasional burst of
eloquence showed the author to be a prolific writer and one thoroughly
conversant with the subject which he treated. On the whole, Mr. Twain's
lecture was a decided success."
Nowalk's local historian has told me that during the day before the
lecture, Twain had visited the home of a prominent local banker but
found no one home so he left his calling card on the porch.
Another interesting coincidence is that Henry Wheeler Shaw (later known
as Josh Billings) lived with an uncle in Norwalk for a time when he was
about 20 years old.
Philip Bauer, Sandusky OH
On 6/11/2021 2:18 PM, Scott Holmes wrote:
> For those interested in such things, I have been trying to map Twain's
> travels associated with his 1868-69 American Vandals Tour. The
> University of Nebraska has a collection of kmz files for railroads up
> to 1870 and it is these that I have most relied on. Many segments
> don't have names and many are approximations of routes. It's not
> possible to accurately compare these with the USGS maps of the regions
> as the government maps are more recent and railroad companies have
> been unstable in regards to ownership and locations. Many of these
> reported railroads do not seem to be known to Google.
> I have often seen remarks on Mark Twain becoming fatigued/disenchanted
> with touring. Examining these maps may provide some indication just
> why this happened. He covered a lot of miles. I have divided the
> tour up into 6 arbitrary sections for my Twain's Geography site,
> mainly to lessen confusion with the maps.