Welcome to Marion County, Missouri: Part of MoGenWeb

Souvenir of Hannibal

Hannibal, Missouri, the "best known small city in the United States" is located in a very rich agricultural section on the west bank of the Mississippi River, 120 miles north of St Louis and 290 miles southwest of Chicago. It is in Marion County, in the northeast pact of the state. Lying on the "great Mississippi, the magnificent Mississippi, rolling its mile wide tide along", the history of Hannibal is naturally the history of the West. Following the restless De Soto, came other adventurers and pioneer explorers; among them, Soulard, who named a creek "Hannibal" near the present site of the city. A town was settled there by Moses B. Bates in 1817. In 1845, the town of Hannibal was incorporated as a city.

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Hannibal offers visitors many historic points of interest among which are:


marion115.jpg (24061 bytes)Mark Twain's Boyhood Homemarion107.jpg (38832 bytes)




marion120.jpg (25169 bytes)Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn Statue, the only statue in the world erected to the memory of literary characters




Statue of Mark Twain

marion109.jpg (42779 bytes)The famous Mark Twain Cave

Monument of Congressman Wm. H. Hatch

Federal Building housing the Post Office and Federal offices

Birthplace of Carrol Beckwith, noted American artist

Birthplace of the late Admiral Robert E. Coontz

Becky Thatcher's girlhood home

A number of large metal markers, erected by the State Historical Society of Missouri, are located throughout the city and on U. S. Highway 36, pointing and describing historic sites.

marion100.jpg (23348 bytes)0n U. S. Highway 36 is a new million dollar highway bridge, the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge, with its great expanse of steel and concrete reaching across the Mississippi. This bridge joins the important highways of the states of Missouri and Illinois, giving superb transit facilities to thousands of tourists who cross the nation on the shortest east to west highway-U. S. 36. Another transcontinental highway, U. S. 61, also extends through Hannibal.

marion125.jpg (36701 bytes)Hannibal is served by three railroads, has water transportation on the Mississippi, is given daily service by bus and truck line., and has two privately owned airports. Hence, many distinct advantages are offered the manufacturer and distributor, not only by transportation facilities, but by her proximity to raw materials, her supply of efficient native American labor, her plentiful and low priced supply of power, and her exclusive market territory--over two and a half million people in a radius of 125 miles. Added to these advantages are conveniently located industrial sites, abundant supply of good water, modern housing, and the educational, recreational, and shopping facilities of a metropolitan city.

For Hannibal is indeed an enterprising river city, no longer the "little white town drowsing in the sunshine" as it as when Samuel Clemens played on the Mississippi and roamed its surrounding hills. For today it has its shoe factories, foundries, cement mills, railroad shops, woodworking plants, stone quarries, printing shops, sheet iron works, and numerous other industries common to population centers.

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St. Elizabeth's Hospital

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Hannibal LaGrange College

Levering Hospital

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Campus of Hannibal LaGrange College

Hannibal is proud of its progressive spirit which has made it attractive not only as an industrial center, but also as a place of human habitation. It has its churches, it. schools, its hospital, and clubs; its financial resources, industries and business; it has municipal light and water plants, and all of the modern facilities that go to make up a growing city. 

marion128.jpg (38020 bytes)It has been said that Nature made Hannibal a playground for youth at the cost of not one cent to the town. Nevertheless, there are recreational facilities, such as the modern Y.M.C. A., an amusement park with a swimming pool, a large recreational center operated by the city, and also a number of parks. 

marion118.jpg (28303 bytes) The largest of these parks, comprising 120 acres is Riverview Park, Nature's grandest gift, the pride of Hannibal. It lies high on the hill. with winding drives, picturesque woods, and commanding views of the Mississippi River. Miles of improved roads in the park take the visitor through wooded dell. and along the crest of hills 200 feet above the river. 

On the highest point, Inspiration Point, stands an imposing statue of Mark Twain overlooking the river he loved so well. 

The Mississippi, when viewed on a moonlight night from these high bluffs, is a thing of beauty never to be forgotten, shimmering between banks of overhanging trees and vines, dotted with lights of motor boats, with now and then a large excursion steamer.

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marion103.jpg (31185 bytes)Mark Twain and Hannibal are inseparable. Samuel Clemens' literary genius immortalized this river town-with its Cardiff Hill, its Cave, its Jackson Island. Here it was the boy Sam spent his boyhood, the most impressionable years of his life. At the age of four, he came with his parents from his birthplace, Florida, Missouri, a village about thirty miles southwest of Hannibal, famed for its Mark Twain park in which is placed the house in which Clemens was born. Hannibal was just a little town then, but for a boy with Clemens' imagination, it was a wonderland. His fertile imagination drew inspiration from the simplest, yet very beautiful, surroundings. 

marion127.jpg (31509 bytes) The great river, which played such a big part in the life of Clemens, attracted him as a youth and challenged and developed him as a man. It was on this river that Clemens became familiar with the name "mark twain", a river term indicating a depth of two fathoms, and a pleasant sound on a dark night meaning "safe water". It was this expression which Clemens took as his pen name.

marion104.jpg (30247 bytes)Hannibal has become a shrine to the lovers of Mark Twain. The scenes of his boyhood haunts, from which he drew the setting for his stories, the Church, the school, the grocery store, are as he found them as a boy. The little home which John Clemens built in 1844 is visited yearly by thousands who delight in roaming through the rooms, viewing various exhibits, such as the author's typewriter, his favorite chair, his curved stern cob pipe, one of his immaculate white linen suits, and many letters and pictures.

marion68.jpg (34128 bytes)The city has honored Mark Twain in many ways. On the one hundredth anniversary of his birth, the citizens, of Hannibal paid tribute to the memory of it. own and much loved Mark Twain by dedicating a lighthouse in his honor. President Roosevelt at the White House touched a key to illuminati, the Memorial Light house whose great light now shines out over, the Mississippi from Cardiff Hill to honor his memory. There is also a Mark Twain Memorial Bridge which joins the important highways of Missouri and Illinois, and various statues and plaques erected in his honor. Located two miles south of Hannibal is the famous Mark Twain Cave described by him in his book "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer". 

marion122.jpg (47705 bytes) The cave is preserved today exactly as it was in the days of young Sam Clemens. It is a marvel of deep passages that lead back into the bluffs and far down into the earth even below the river. It's long corridors, royal chambers hung with stalactites, its remote hiding places and other interesting features, such as the hanging rock marking the spot where Tom and Becky stayed while lost in the cave, make it of interest to everyone.

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