Samuel Clemens spent nearly twenty years in the strange riverboat of a house he built in Hartford, Connecticut. It was the most prominent dwelling in Nook Farm, an exclusive neighborhood full of New England writers and intellectuals. Hartford saw Clemens through a period of great literary activity. Here, Tom Sawyer whitewashed his first fence, and Huck Finn stole down the river with the runaway slave Jim.
In time, the house became a revolving door for the leading names of the day: Howells, Sherman, Cable, Harte, and others. But it also saw Clemens involve himself in fanciful investment schemes that led to his bankruptcyand eventual departure.