House: The Mark Twain House
Mark Twain’s wife, Livy, designed this quirky house in Hartford, Connecticut, along with the help of a New York architect. Construction began in 1873 and the family moved in a year later, even though the house was still being worked on (building was fraught with delays and expanding budget). And while Twain was a fantastic writer, he was miserable with money, and the family had to move to Europe in 1891 due to financial issues. Unfortunately, they never came back to live in this house — their daughter’s death in 1896 made it too difficult for the couple to return to Hartford, and they sold the property in 1903.
“Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see, this is the chief. You do not know what beauty is if you have not been here,” Twain once wrote of his dream house.
Once completed, the house stood at 11,500 square feet with 19 rooms and seven bathrooms. It cost $45,000 to build — about $1 million today, when adjusting for inflation.