Hannibal celebrates 100-year-old Mark Twain statue

Early postcard of Mark Twain statue courtesy of the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department

It's overlooked the Mississippi River at Hannibal for 100 years.

Several area residents turned out to Riverview Park for the rededication of the Mark Twain statue on Saturday morning.

The State of Missouri erected the Mark Twain statue in Hannibal's Riverview Park in 1913.

Mary Lynne Richards is with the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department. She said historical records don't indicate whether there was any special ceremony to celebrate when the state provided $10,000 to create the statue in the early 1900s. The department wanted to mark the statue's 100th birthday in a special way.

"It's just a really great way to appreciate Mark Twain and what's he's done for our city," Richards said. "It's really a beautiful view. Mark Twain is looking over the river that he loves so much, so we're so glad to have given a place for Mark Twain to overlook his river for 100 years. It's the most beautiful park in Hannibal."

Wells Pettibone's great, great uncle donated the land to the City of Hannibal in 1909. The 400 acres eventually became what is now known as Riverview Park.

"I guess it was farmland, and the legend is that he was up here hitting a golf ball, and he hit the golf ball into the woods and lost it and sat down in frustration on a log and recognized the beauty of this property," Pettibone said. "I know everyone in my family is happy the statue is here. I certainly am."

The statue was created by Frederick Hibbard, who also sculpted the William Hatch statue in Central Park and the Tom and Huck statue at the foot of Cardiff Hill.