Digest>Archives> Jul/Aug 2017

Restoration Planned for Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse

Ceremonially Lighted by Three Presidents

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The 54-foot tall Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse ...
Photo by: Naomi Zimmerman

Named after the famous author of such books as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse in Hannibal, Missouri will undergo its first major renovation since 1994.

According to the officials in Hannibal, which bills itself as “America’s Hometown,” the various Band-Aid patches that it has done over the years just aren’t working anymore. The historic structure has severe water damage and rotting wood.

Originally built in 1935 to commemorate Mark Twain’s 100th birthday, the lighthouse was ceremonially lit from the White House in Washington, DC by then President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and then Twains daughter, Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch, spoke to the crowd at its dedication via a live radio broadcast from Detroit, Michigan.

In 1960, a severe storm leveled the original lighthouse and it was rebuilt three years later. In 1963, it was ceremonially relit by then President John F. Kennedy. As time went on the lighthouse suffered from deterioration and was restored in 1994. This time it was ceremonially relighted by then President Bill Clinton.

However, the planned renovation of the lighthouse will not start until next year, in 2018 and it may take two years to complete. It is unclear at this time if the lighthouse will again be ceremonially relit by the current President of the United States.

After it is restored, current plans, although not yet set in stone, call for exterior lights to be installed that will shine on the lighthouse to make it glow pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, blue for Autism Awareness Month, and other color for other commemorations and celebrations, such as red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July.

This story appeared in the Jul/Aug 2017 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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