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.
Backstory and Context
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.
"History." Rockcliffe Mansion. Accessed July 2, 2019. https://www.rockcliffemansion.com/history.html.
Photos: Wikimedia Commons