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Mark Twain and Downtown Hannibal Missouri Walking Tour
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Designed in the Georgian Revival style, Rockcliffe Mansion is one of the largest and most beautiful buildings in Hannibal. It was built on a bluff overlooking the city and Mississippi River by wealthy lumber baron John J. Cruikshank Jr. in 1900. The exterior of the house features numerous interesting design elements including Corinthian columns, a two-story portico, arched windows, and a cupola on the center of the roof. As one may expect, the interior is elaborately designed, specifically in the Late Victorian and Art Nouveau styles. There are 30 rooms, 10 unique marble and tiled fireplaces, Tiffany-designed stained glass windows and chandeliers, hand-carved woodwork, and antique furnishings and fixtures, most of which are original to the mansion. The mansion now operates as a museum and bed and breakfast hotel.

  • Rockcliffe Mansion was built in 1900.
  • The mansion features many large rooms and antique furnishings.
John J. Cruikshank Jr. learned about the lumber industry beginning at a young age as his father was a successful lumberman. John Sr. moved his business to Louisiana, Missouri in 1856 to take advantage of the Mississippi River, which was used to float lumber from Minnesota and Wisconsin to mills downriver. The lumber would then be shipped via railroad to markets to the west and south. John Jr. took over the business in 1864 and oversaw its dramatic growth. The company went from processing one million feet of lumber in the first year to 40 million feet by the late 1880s. It is estimated that John Jr. owned half a million dollars in 1883.

John Jr. built the home show his standing in the community and hosted many gatherings here. At the mansion's opening reception in 1901, an orchestra serenaded 700 guests. His daughter Gladys was married twice here, and writer Mark Twain gave a speech to 300 guests in 1902 at a reception of the Hannibal Society.

John Jr. passed away in 1924. The family moved away and the mansion was left vacant for 43 years; eventually, it was scheduled for demolition. Fortunately, three local families saved the house and began restoring it. Work was completed in 1968 and an open house was held on June 14. The mansion has been open to the public ever since. 
Hamilton, Esley. "Rockcliffe Mansion." September 18, 1980.

"History." Rockcliffe Mansion. Accessed July 2, 2019.

Photos: Wikimedia Commons