A centennial celebration at Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum

A historical landmark in Hannibal celebrated its 100th anniversary Tuesday.

A historical landmark in Hannibal celebrated its 100th anniversary Tuesday.

The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum faced plans for demolition back in 1911, but the Hannibal community said no. A man by the name of George Mahan decided to restore the structure and give it to the city for preservation.

"For a hundred years, it's been the honor of the city of Hannibal to maintain this important landmark, and today we're celebrating that and looking forward to the next hundred years of preserving Mark Twain's Home," Curator Henry Sweets said.

"Many people think he was the greatest American novelist, so I think it's terrific that he grew up in the Hannibal area," Dean Mills, the Dean of the Missouri School of Journalism said.

The rededication ceremony consisted of city leaders, educators, politicians, and Hannibal's ten Tom and Beckys. One of the day's most important guests was Sara Zimmerman, the great-granddaughter of the man who handed the home over to the city back in 1912, George Mahan.

"It makes me feel very blessed that my grandfather had the foresight to do this for the city of Hannibal. It was an amazing act of preservation in a time when preservation was hardly known," Zimmerman said.

That preservation led an estimated 8.5 million visitors inside the home. Tuesday's event attracted dozens of area residents, even students from Mark Twain Elementary School in Brentwood, Missouri. The days of Mark Twain go way before their time, but his literature remains a high priority in the classroom.

"I think it's great because that means for a hundred years, American society has still been interested in American literature that's been gone for a century," Jessica Taylor said.

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