Perhaps symbolic of the closing of the Gilded Age, Mark Twain made his final and most well-known visit to Hannibal for four days in late May/early June 1902. Twain was on his way to Columbia, Missouri where he was being given an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Missouri. He was accompanied by a reporter from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who provided a detailed account of his hometown visit. Besides visiting and posing for photographs in front of his boyhood home on Hill Street, he attended dinners held in his honor at the Garth and Clayton homes, visited his old schoolmate Laura Hawkins-Frazer, spoke to the 1902 graduating class of Hannibal High School, visited his family grave site at Mt. Olivet Cemetery and addressed a crowd of more than three hundred guests from the grand staircase of the Cruikshank mansion (Rockcliffe). The four-day visit marked a moment in time where the literary icon became a metaphor symbolizing the evolution of Hannibal -- from its humble beginnings as a "white town drowsing in the sunshine of a summer's morning" to its transformation into a cosmopolitan city whose wealth peaked during the Gilded Age. Now, more than 100 years after his death and 160 years after leaving Hannibal, Mark Twain's legacy lives on, as revered and as popular as ever.
Twain departing Hannibal
for the last time, June, 1902