351 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT

(860) 247-0998

Status: Former Residence; Museum; Seasonal Ghost Tours



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Built between 1871 and 1874 Samuel Langhorne Clemens – known professionally as Mark Twain – wrote a number of his best known books in this house including: Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and The Prince and the Pauper.

Twain wrote on the top floor of the house in what is called the Billiards Room. The family was banned from that room – only the cleaning staff were allowed in – though he did entertain his male guests in the room where cigar smoking and liquor was permitted. Twain also remarked he needed a room to swear in.

In 1881 the success of Tom Sawyer allowed the family to buy a neighboring tract of land and make extensive changes to the landscaping and renovations to the house. Once the renovations were complete the house had cost $70,000 (2 million and change in 2023 dollars) in total to construct including the landscaping.

Another $22,000 (640,000 and change in 2023 dollars) was spent on furnishings.

In 1891 the Clemens family was forced to move to Europe – where the cost of living was much cheaper – due to some bad investments. The bank panics in the next few years kept them in Europe and Twain was forced onto the lecture circuit to keep the family financially afloat.

In 1896 Twain’s daughter Susy – who had been left in the US – passed away in the house from spinal meningitis before the remaining family could return. This left them unable to face ever living in the house again and they stayed living abroad.

The sold the house in 1903.

The house became a school, then an apartment building and finally a public library branch before it was slated for demolition in 1929.

The house was rescued by a quickly formed non-profit called the Mark Twain Memorial.

In 1974 restoration was finally began on the house with the goal of turning it into a museum.

In 2008 the foundation once again suffered massive financial losses and the house was only saved by the State and a number of corporate donors.

It is now considered one of the top 10 best historic homes in the world in a list published by National Geographic.


Paranormal Activity

During the Halloween season you can take the Graveyard Shift Ghost Tour for a focus on the hauntings and tales of the Victorian Spiritualist Movement.

The most common paranormal activity reported is the phantom smell of a cigar smoke. Which is unsurprising as Twain smoked between 20 and 40 cigars a day.

The house is haunted by both a “lady in white” and a “lady in black” both of which have been seen throughout the house.

There are also reports of unseen entities tugging on people’s clothing.

Disembodied voices are also frequently heard.

Other Activity: unexplained sounds; objects moving on their own; shadow figures; light anomalies; movement seen only in the corner of people’s eyes and feelings of not being alone and being watched.