Rockcliffe Mansion, Hannibal, Missouri
Joyful Journey in Missouri
We have been visiting and enjoying with our younger daughter's family in St. Louis of the U.S. since 5/22. We took our granddaughter to the Grant's Farm which is an ecological reserve area for animals and also a friendly place for children to play. The farm was built by the 18th U.S. President Ulysses Grant （1869-1877）in 1850's, then owned by the Busch family in the 20th century. It's a very enjoyable and educational farm for kids.
We also went to the Magic House which is well designed for children at ages of 2-8 with in-door facilities related to math, science, arts, music, performance, market, store, clinic, utilities, workshops, etc. Again, it's very educational for kids while they enjoy playing in the facility. Hope this kind of advanced playing facility combining education and fun for children can be available in Taiwan.
We watched an MLB baseball game at the Busch Stadium on 5/29. It's pity that Cardinals, the home team, lost to Dodgers. But by watching the players' spirit of "never give up" and the passion of the full house spectaculars, it's a very good game and we enjoyed the "MLB Feast"! People coming to the stadium are not only for the baseball game, but also as part of family or social activities. We also witnessed the huge professional sports industry in the U.S., using this baseball game as an example, there were more than 46,000 people watching the game.
I heard that the average spending per person including tickets, foods, drinks, souvenirs, etc. could be as high as US$100. So the owner of Cardinals could have an income of close to $5 million. In addition, there are fees for telecasting and advertisement, so it's a huge amount of income for this game. The game also brought additional income to the nearby restaurants, hotels, parking lots, etc. So there is a huge gap for Taiwan in terms of fostering the sports culture and building the professional sports industry!
We went to a small town Hannibal in Missouri, 2-hour drive from St Louis, together with a couple of friends on 5/30. The main attraction there is the Mark Twain's childhood place which draws lots of tourists to boost the town's economy. It appears to me that most of businesses in the town exist mainly because of Mark Twain!
We toured around his boyhood home area including his boyhood home, his father's justice office, his childhood friends' houses (Huckleberry Finn and Becky Thatcher were in his books). This port town on the Mississippi River provided the setting for his three famous novels (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Life on the Mississippi) and inspired him to create the fictional town in his two books of the Adventures.
We visited the Museum Gallery which exhibited his career experiences, life journey, many famous books, etc. We also visited the Mark Twain Cave and saw a lot of things described in his book of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer".
While walking in the town and along the bank of Mississippi River, I reflected this great writer and respected the magnificent achievements he made in the modern American literature. He started a distinctive American literature built on American themes and language!
We also visited Rockcliffe Mansion, a historic grand residence which was built in 1900 by John Cruikshank, a very rich lumber businessman. The mansion has spectacular views overlooking the Mississippi River and the town of Hannibal. Rockcliffe was described as the "finest country home in Missouri" by the St Louis Post Dispatch in 1901. Most of the antique furnishings, fixtures, other artifacts and furniture are still preserved as their original splendor. Many of them came from Europe, North Africa and Mid East. When Mark Twain made his last visit to Hannibal in 1902, he addressed 300 guests from the magnificent grand staircase in the mansion. The mansion has been abandoned for 43 years since John Cruikshank passed away in 1924. Fortunately, three Hannibal residents bought the mansion in 1967 just a few days before demolition, then restored and preserved this splendid historic mansion! Through the guided tour, we witnessed the ups and downs of the mansion throughout the more than 100-year history!
上、下兩圖：Mark Twain Cave 湯姆歷險記中的岩洞
上、下兩圖： Hannibal, Missouri 馬克吐溫的故鄉
下圖： Tom Sawyer's fence 故事中，湯姆刷油漆的籬笆牆