Mark Twain’s Historic Home Vandalized

Jonathan Buscher


Mark Twain, the famous 19th-century writer, whose given name was Samuel Clemens built a home in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1873. Moving there with his family the following year, he lived thirteen of the best years in his life at the location, raising three daughters along with his wife Olivia Langdon. In addition, he also penned some of his most famous works during this period, including the notable Huckleberry Finn among others. This was unsurprising considering the house was located in a neighborhood previously known as Nook Farms, which housed other famous writers and thinkers of the time, including Harriet Beecher Stowe along with the feminist Isabella Beecher Hooker. 

Yet despite the historical significance of this house, it was vandalized three times, once in mid-December, once on New Year’s Eve, and the final time on January 3rd. For this third time, Police responded to a call by the organization that maintains the facilities at approximately 7:20 a.m. and drove to the 65 Forest Street location for a complaint about property damage. Given this, limited information was released to the public. What was included was that three individuals dressed in dark clothing were spotted throwing asphalt and bricks at the windows of the building, breaking them similar to prior vandals. However, this group also managed to damage a rare statue from the 18th century being displayed within the extravagant home. Now, the vandalism is being investigated by multiple different organizations, including the Hartford Police Department, Northwest Community Service Officers, and the Hartford Police Major Crimes Division. 

Despite so many attempts at vandalism, Mark Twain’s house truly is a community asset. Many local and statewide elementary schoolers tour the home due to its historical significance, along with the wide range of artifacts displayed within. The caretakers of the home hoped to gain at least some of the reported $15,000 lost due to repairs from the string of crimes by posting a go-fund-me page for the home, to which many locals gladly responded with generous donations. 

The Mark Twain House contains three stories, all of which are replicas of what the house would have looked like in the 1800s. The first floor contains entertainment for higher profile guests, and has a dignified public appearance, making it a prime target for vandals with its many windows looking in on valuable artifacts. The second and third stories are slightly less impressive, although they are still historically accurate. The second floor contains living quarters for the entire family, while the third floor contains a space for Twain’s personal butler, along with a billiard table and drafting room, in which Twain likely did most of his writing. 

Seeing such a treasure defaced is certainly a tragedy, but hopefully, people will realize the mistake of damaging such property, especially given its value to the public.