A short distance north of where we are staying is Lovers Leap, a 200' cliff overlooking the mighty Mississippi River and the town of Hannibal. Legend has it that an Indian brave and Indian princess were not permitted to marry because their respective tribes were at war. They jumped off the cliff together to their deaths when the woman's tribe was preparing to kill the brave.
At the end of Main Street is the well-known statue of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, the beloved characters of several books written by Mark Twain. A stairway to the left of the statue leads to the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse (244 steps on several stair cases).
The lighthouse was built in 1934 as a monument to Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain) as a symbol of his years as a riverboat pilot. The lighthouse is purely ornamental and is too far inland to aid in river navigation. Here's some history of the structure:
- 1935 - first dedication on the 100th birthday of Clemens birth in Hannibal by President Franklin D. Roosevelt;
- 1960 - leveled by an intense windstorm;
- 1963 - rebuilt and re-dedicated by President John F. Kennedy; and,
- 1994 - renovated and re-dedicated by President Bill Clinton.
The lighthouse is 54' tall and is situated 200' above the Mississippi River.
We drove north from the lighthouse to Riverview Park.
We drove along the park road stopping at overlooks for scenic views of the Mississippi River. This monument of Mark Twain was erected in 1913, three years after his death.
Shown below is a portion of the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi.
We parked at the trail hear for the Riverview Park Trail. It is a paved trail through the woods that ends at the North River Trail that runs along the Mississippi River. A part of the trail has been damaged by rockslides during rainy weather, so be very cautious here!
We saw several large barges on the river. Railroad tracks run along the river here and there is another bridge over the Mississippi for trains.
Sadie had a blast seeing the train, exploring the trail and surrounding woods. It is hot and humid here this time of year, but it was nice in the wooded areas.
Additional information on all three can be found at www.hannibalparks.org.