The Walks of Mark Twain

a deserted road, grassy and beautiful, that ran along his land.

...a deserted road, grassy and beautiful, that ran along his land.

I knew two things when I began the project: Mark Twain lived the last 22 months of his life in Redding and died at his home, Stormfield. I’ve now photographed many of the places he was said to have explored, including the grounds around Stormfield. I’m using Albert Bigelow Paine’s biography of Twain as one of my sources. Paine became Twain’s “official” biographer in the winter of 1906. Paine also lived in Redding with his family, suggested that Twain buy property in Redding and occasionally accompanied him on his walks: “By and by we turned down a deserted road, grassy and beauftiful, that ran along his land. At one side was a slope facing the west, and dotted with the slender, cypress-like cedars of New England…At the foot of the hill we came to a brook and followed it into a meadow. I told him that I often caught fine trout there, and that soon I would bring in some for breakfast…We passed through some woods and came out near my own ancient little house”. With the help of a 1934 aerial map and my hiking boots I more or less found the route they took that day.

Twain’s daughter Clara married the pianist Ossip Gabrilowitsch a 102 years ago the week I took this photograph. The wedding took place on October 6th at Stormfield, about a third of a mile from this spot. Albert Paine described the wedding day as, “…one of those quiet lovely fall days when the whole world seems at peace.”

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