Nevada August 22, 2022
The Charming Small Town In Nevada That Was Home To Mark Twain Once Upon A Time
It goes without saying that Mark Twain is one of America’s most famous and influential writers of all time. In addition to penning classics like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Following the Equator (1897), Twain was a well-traveled man, too. He visited places both lesser-known and iconic all across the nation. However, did you know that Mark Twain once lived in Nevada? The Silver State called his name, and Twain couldn’t help but see what Nevada was all about!
Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) was born in Florida, Missouri on November 30, 1835. As a boy, Twain was drawn to printing and worked as a printer’s apprentice at the age of 11. He discovered his love of humor and submitted numerous articles and sketches to a newspaper called the Hannibal Journal.
The future author was mainly self-taught, educating himself by reading books at local public libraries. He eventually joined the International Typographical Union. In the early years of his career, he moved many times, living in the northeast and St. Louis.
Though he was trained professionally as a printer, he had a keen interest in becoming a steamboat captain. He worked on the steamboat Pennsylvania along the Mississippi river until the start of the Civil War.
Mark Twain enlisted for a short period in the Confederate unit during the Civil War.
Mark Twain, along with his brother, Orion, decided after his short stint with the military to trek across the Midwest. For three weeks, the brothers traveled through Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, and the Great Plains.
It helped that Twain’s brother, Orion, had been made secretary to the governor of Nevada Territory.
Eventually in 1861, they came to Virginia City, Nevada. Mark Twain was drawn in by the hype of the silver rush and the mining boom at the time.
He would become a miner on the Comstock Lode. However, this was proven unsuitable and unsuccessful career move for Twain.
Mark Twain eventually went back to his calling and began writing for a Virginia City Newspaper called the Territorial Enterprise. This is where the name, Mark Twain, was born! Remarkably, the author first coined his pen name while working as a writer for the newspaper in Nevada.
Find the author’s pen name on his humorous pieces titled: “Letter From Carson – re: Joe Goodman; party at Gov. Johnson's; music” published in 1863.
Mark Twain would later move to California, but he undoubtedly left his mark in Nevada.
You can find his name in many places around Virginia City and Carson City today! Like the Mark Twain Elementary School in Carson City or the Mark Twain Park and a Community City in Dayton, Nevada. There’s even a storage facility named after the famous writer.
One of the best places to learn more about Mark Twain and the years he spent residing in the silver state is by visiting The Way It Was Museum in Virginia City.
Or grab a drink and listen to a local story or two at the Mark Twain Saloon, built in 1863!
The Mark Twain Saloon
took on the name to honor the great author in 1971. Inside, patrons find gambling machines, memorabilia, and great drinks set in an old-timey establishment.
Don't forget to see the Orion Clemens House in Carson City. This house gives fans another fantastic opportunity to learn more about Mark Twain’s Nevada years.
The Victorian house was built in 1862 by Twain’s brother, Orion Clemens. Mark Twain was known to have visited the house often. At this time, there are no known tours. However, the
Orion Clemens House
can be viewed from the adjacent street and is private property.
In conclusion, Nevada may not have been the birthplace of Samuel Clemens, but the state was home to Mark Twain’s pen name! Visit Virginia City and Carson City to discover the history and influences left behind by the great author.
Do you have a favorite celebrity that hails from Nevada? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!
While in Virginia City, see what makes this historic town so incredibly unique! Read on to see why one visit will never be enough. Address: Virginia City, NV 89440, USA Address: 113 C St, Virginia City, NV 89440, USA Address: 62 S C St, Virginia City, NV 89440, USA Address: 502 N Division St, Carson City, NV 89703, USA