Mark Twain Memorial Shrine

Mark Twain Memorial Shrine

Our final day while camping at Ray Behrens campground was spent in Florida, Missouri. This is the tiny town where the Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site is located.

The whole reason I wanted to go to Ray Behrens in the first place, was to see the actual place where Mark Twain was born. Though I’ve lived in Missouri my whole life, I’d never been there, and now was the time to change that.

Because of the pandemic, we had a set day and time to visit the state historic site which is surrounded by Mark Twain State Park. We arrived a bit early and spent a few moments enjoying the view on Clara’s Point. This scenic overlook is named for Mark Twain’s daughter, Clara.

Clara's Point overlook.
Clara's Point walkway.

At 1:00 p.m. we went inside the building named, “The Mark Twain Memorial Shrine.” Here we were greeted by friendly, welcoming staff. After giving us some general information and answering my questions, the staff person started a 20 minute movie about Mark Twain’s life.

Cabin where Mark Twain was born.
Pineapple post bed.

After the movie, we viewed the humble cabin which is housed inside the building. This cabin had been rented by Mark Twain’s family, and they lived there for just one year. So, probably the only thing Mark Twain did there was crawl around on the floor, but it was enough to give this tiny town its legacy. Inside the cabin, there is one piece of original furniture which is the pineapple post bed.

Of course, I can’t recreate in my blog post all that is the experience of visiting this historic site. But, I hope to share just a bit of it, including a few facts that stuck with me.

  • Right before he was born, Mark Twain’s family came from Tennessee to Florida, Missouri. It’s likely the family traveled through St. Charles, Missouri on Salt River Road to Florida, Missouri. We live very close to Salt River Road in St. Charles.
  • At the time Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) was born, his family owned a slave, a teenage girl that had been brought from Tennessee.
  • As a young man, Mark Twain joined a Missouri Militia group which had sympathies for the South. However, when this group heard Ulysses S. Grant was headed their way, the group disbanded.
  • When he was 35 (1870), Mark Twain married, Olivia Langdon, and his father-in-law, Jervis Langdon, happened to be a major leader in the underground railroad.
  • Mark Twain later wrote “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, perhaps one of the strongest anti-slavery books ever written.

Besides the cabin, there are a number of artifacts and displays in the shrine. Some items are from Mark’s Twain’s life, and other displays recreate the time period during which he lived.

Spinning wheel and loom.
Button String.

The town has a granite marker on the exact spot where the cabin was originally located. And, of course, I wanted to see that marker. It’s just a short drive from the Mark Twain Memorial Shrine building.

Granite marker where the cabin originally stood.
Brass plate on marker.  "He Cheered and Comforted A Tired World."
Gravestone of Mark Twain's sister.

Also, nearby is the Florida Cemetery. And while I can’t outdo Bill who recently visited Mark Twain’s grave in Elmira, New York, I can now say I visited the grave of Mark Twain’s sister, Margaret.

Also buried in this small cemetery is John Quarles – Mark Twain’s uncle, his aunt, Patsy, and Dr. Thomas Chowning, the doctor who brought Samuel Clemens into the world. Since it was a really hot day, we only took the time to find his sister Margaret’s grave.

After visiting the Florida Cemetery, we cheered ourselves up by going to a place named Buzzard’s Roost in Mark Twain State Park.

And that, my dear readers, is where I shall let this post land. Until the next time when I will wrap up the Ray Behrens camping experience.

View at Buzzard's Roost.
Buzzard's Roost walkway.

27 comments

    • Congratulations! You did win the bragging rights! I hope you can visit Florida and Hannibal someday, too. There is camping right there in Mark Twain State Park, but there are not full hook ups. There are also a number of hiking trails there, but it was too hot for us to enjoy them. Enjoy your Saturday!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi David. The Mississippi River is about 100 miles east of the park. The water seen is Mark Twain Lake which was created in 1983 when the Clarence Cannon Dam was built. Hannibal is right on the Mississippi River. I’ve always lived not too far from the Mississippi. Enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ooooh, my favorite, a hyperbolic paraboloid roof! And I love the buttons…another of my quirky passions. I will admit that the photographs with the views are stunning. Did you see any buzzards?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you liked it! I liked the buttons, too. Apparently, it was a hobby of young ladies at the time. Glass buttons were treasures. And, it was thought when someone reached 100 buttons, she would find love. No, we did not see any buzzards. I think it was too hot even for buzzards. The Mark Twain Shrine was built in 1959. Perhaps a hyperbolic roof was a trend at the time? Thanks for your comment, and enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The photos from Buzzard’s Roost are quite amazing. I can envision Grammi and I doing a Lunch Spot Photo there someday. Looking forward to your next post. Happy days and safe travels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love your Lunch Spot Photo’s. I keep wanting to steal that idea. The view at Buzzaard’s Roost was great, and on a cooler day it would be perfect spot for a Lunch Spot. Safe travels to you, too!

      Like

    • I am a fan of Mark Twain, too. I am glad you found it interesting. It’s so hot here right now, I wish I was in Michigan! Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day!

      Like

  3. Thanks for this and the next post. I believe I have to put this memorial shrine on my bucket list. I feel like after your post I have now in a way come full circle. I visited his final resting place. You took me to where it all began. And his sayings were so great. Thanks for sharing all your discoveries. You’re in a very real way helping me to get through this year of uncertainty. I may not be able right now to travel myself to new places of discovery but through your eyes I’m going to so many wonderful places. Thanks so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so welcome. If I can lighten your burden in any way, I am glad, and it is my honor to do so. I enjoy writing, but your comments, compliments and enthusiasm encourage me to write more than you know.
      I didn’t know Mark Twain’s final resting place was in Elmira, and I could hardly believe the coincidence when you wrote about him. We were just days away from visiting his birthplace. Making friends, sharing discoveries and common interests make this blogging hobby so very rewarding. And I thank you for that. Take care, and enjoy your Sunday.

      Like

    • You are so welcome! Too bad I did not have some pork with a homemade rub and bbq sauce waiting for us in the slow cooker at the end of the day, but I will another time! Enjoy your Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a well curated place to visit! I’m sure it was very informative and enjoyable. I think it is wonderful that the little cabin has been preserve and its original location is documented with a marker. The park looks lovely! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are welcome! There were so many interesting artifacts there as well, including a hand-written manuscript of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” I really enjoyed our visit. Thanks for your comment, and have a great week ahead!

      Like

  5. Hello Betty. I haven’t stop by yours for a some days. Today I came and navigated your blog to see what’s new and what else I missed before I discovered your blog. Ohh my days, nothing could have been ever better than I discovered the historical life of Mark Twain. I only read “Tom Sawyer.” That was it. I knew about Huckleberry Finn, but I never read it. I watched “Tom Sawyer” series in French when I was a very young girl. I remember the song of the series which was “Tom Sawyer est un petit garcon qui n’aime pas l’ecole,” meaning “Tom Sawyer is a little boy who don’t like to go to school.” I have collected the Tom Sawyer book which is an old vintage book. I will keep it as along as I live because it is the most admirable true story I have ever read as a child. I still love this story to date. Thank you for sharing the lovely post about the life of Mark Twain. It made my day. Have a happy Sunday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for such a nice comment! It made my day! I am glad my post held such meaning for you, and what a treasure for you to have the vintage “Tom Sawyer” book as a lifelong keepsake. The Mark Twain museum had so much information in it, I wanted to share just a bit of it. I write my blog to be a positive voice and to brighten other people’s days -even if just a bit. So, I’m glad to know when someone really enjoys what I’ve written. You are very kind to leave such a nice comment, and I appreciate you taking the time to do so. I hope you have a happy Sunday, too!

      Liked by 1 person

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