Wed, 14 Jul 1993 07:02:00 LCL
The July 14 Baltimore SUN includes a Twain headline just
below the fold on the front page: "Twain's hometown braces
for river crest."
Several paragraphs in, the story contains the following
That $8 million levell, completed just this spring, was
built to withstand a flood beyond anything this town
ever expected -- a 32.5-foot crest. And that -- a 32-
foot crest -- is just what was expected last night or
Downtown Hannibal -- the childhood home of Mark Twain
and the setting for the escapes of Tom Sawyer and Huck
Finn -- lies on a slpe near the river.
The new levee now blocks the view of the Mississippi
from the picket-fenced (yes, its whitewashed) house
which Samuel Clemens grew up in and which is now a part
of a Mark Twain museum.
Even Hannibal citizens are surprised to learn that in
Twain's lifetime there were no severe floods here.
"With the levee and flood protection projects of the
1920s and '30s, the river was forced into a narrower
channel and [flooding is] going to get deeper. The
water used to be allowed to spread out across bottom
lowlands," explains Henry Sweets, director of the Mark
Twain Home and Museum.
"Mark Twain had seen earlier attempts to control the
river. He thought [it] could overcome any obstacle man
could put in front of it," said Mr. Sweets.
"He may be right, the river goes where it wants to and
it's pretty hard to say no."
I suspect that materials at the home an museum have been moved
above the ground level though the article does not talk about
that issue at all. Good luck to the museum and to the thousands
who must endure the rage of the river.