Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) wrote about our cave in five of his books. Most notably The Adventures of Tom Sawyer published in 1876. With the popularity of this book, thousands of people from all over the world came to Hannibal by steamboat to see this cave that they had read about.
In 1848, Dr. Joseph Nash McDowell bought the cave with the sole purpose to experiment in the preservation of dead bodies. Today, our guides still tell the story of when Dr. McDowell brought his deceased 14- year old daughter, who died of pneumonia and placed her in a glass and copper cylinder coffin and left her there.
In 1879, Jesse James used Mark Twain Cave as a hide-out after robbing a bank in Saverton, Missouri. His signature can still be seen in the cave today. (Not on cave tour.)
Mark Twain Cave has been shown continuously during all the World Wars, the Great Depression and today.
You’ll learn more about these and many other fascinating stories when you are on your adventure.
Things to remember about your adventure:
1. No steps
2. 52 degrees year round
3. Flat surface for walking
4. A jacket or sweater is recommended
5. Not wheelchair accessible
6. Sensible walking shoes are recommended
No food or beverages in the cave.