The purpose of this project is to celebrate Samuel L. Clemens' life in Redding, Connecticut by documenting and showcasing his time here in multiple formats both online and offline. Your donations & site sponsorships will help me dedicate more time to these projects and allow me to get them online sooner.

Friday, February 22

The Mark Twain Trail

The Mark Twain Trail is a map of people and places connected to Mark Twain's years in Redding, Connecticut that Susan Durkee prepared in 2006. Susan Durkee is a very talented portrait artist and a huge fan of Twain that just happens to live in a house that sits on the foundation of the Lobster Pot (which was lost to fire in 1953). Susan's artwork, shown to the left, appeared on the Clemens Centennial Vodka Bottles I gave away in 2008. While discussing the bottle artwork we ventured off on a number of topics but most importantly her trail map of Twain's time in Redding.

Creating a full featured Online Twain Trail Map with photos has been a goal finally realized earlier this week.

Susan's map is available at the Mark Twain Library and contains the stops along the Tour de Twain. If you would like to come to Redding for a personal tour, call me at 860-364-7475 or email me at

1. Stormfield. Mark Twain's last home. Twain, encouraged by his biographer, Albert Bigelow Paine, bought the property in 1906, sight unseen. A year later, he hired John Mead Howells to design an 18 room, two story Italianate Villa. Lyon, Paine and Mark Twain's daughter, Clara Clemens, selected the location for the house; Lyon, his secretary, supervise its construction. Access to Stormfield is rare. If you are coming to Redding and wish to see it, please keep in mind that it is a private residence. With advanced notice we can contact the owners and request a viewing...not guarantee it. Location- Mark Twain Lane.

2. The Lobster Pot. A circa 1720 saltbox located on Mark Twain Lane, a part of Twain's Stormfield property. He called the house the "Lobster Pot" as it reminded him of lobster pots he had seen in Maine...the name may also tie-in to Twain's Aquarium as Isabel Lyon lived in this house and it's possible Twain or one of his Angelfish may have playfully referred to Isabel's house as the Lobster Pot. Original house was lost to fire in 1953, but the gardens and patios remain. Location- Mark Twain Lane. Portrait Artist Susan Durkee owns the Lobster Pot and with advanced notice is available for a tour of the grounds.

3. Markland. Twain gave his biographer, Albert Bigelow Paine a seven acre parcel of land upon which to build a studio, yet insisted that Paine adapt the studio to accommodate a billiards table; "then when I want exercise. I can walk down and play billiards with you, and when you want exercise you can walk up and play billiards with me." Location- Mark Twain Lane. Markland is a private residence and rarely available for viewing.

4. Albert Bigelow Paine's house. It was through Paine that Twain discovered Redding. During the last four years of Twain's life, Paine became a virtual member of the family. Paine's house was an an antique saltbox, which burned down in 1972.

5. Umpawaug Chapel. It opened on October 11th, 1908. On October, 28, 1908, Twain dedicated a nearby chapel as the temporary location for the Mark Twain Library. He donated thousands of books from his personal collection. The library was actively used, and a librarian was on hand Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. Location- Corner of Diamond Hill Road and Umpawaug Road. Private Residence, chapel entry is now enclosed and integrated into the house.

6. W.E. Grumman's House. Grumman was Twain's last stenographer, he was also the first librarian of the Mark Twain Library. Location- across from Mark Twain Lane on Diamond Hill Road. Current owner is very active at the Mark Twain Library.

7. H.A. Lounsbury House. Lounsbury was Twain's caretaker and livery man at Stormfield. Lounsbury along with Deputy Sheriff Banks, helped capture the two burglars who robbed Stormfield in 1908. Twain always gave credit for the success of their capture to Lounsbury. The burglars and Banks were "fixed up" by the local doctor on the front lawn. Location- Diamond Hill Road, next to the waterfall.

8. The Mark Twain Library. The library officially opened at its present location on February 18, 1911. Upstairs is a part of the original building. Location- Corner of Diamond Hill Road and Route 53.

9. Stormfield Barns and Two Family House. The only original buildings remaining at Stormfield- a two-family house, large stable, chicken coop and outbuildings. Private residence.

10. Jean's Farm. Twain purchased this farm, which abutted his own property, for his daughter Jean Clemens. Jean joyfully filled the farm with a collection of poultry and domestic animals during her time in Redding. Tragically, she died on Christmas eve, 1909 and Twain promptly had the property sold to build a wing in her honor at the new Library. This property aided the library a second time just several years ago when it was deeded to the Mark Twain Library by Helen and Allen Hermes. The library in turn sold the property to raise much needed operational funding. Location- Route 107 across from Lee Lane. Private Residence.

11. Theodore Adams' House. Mr. Adams donated the land where the Mark Twain Library sits today at the corner of Diamond Hill Rd. and Route 53. Of course, Adams needed a little coaxing from Twain himself. The Adams' house is on Great Pasture Road.

12. Dan Beard's House. Dan Beard was Twain's illustrator and devoted friend. Among the many books and stories he illustrated for Twain included: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Following the Equator, American Claimant, Tom Sawyer Abroad. He designed the wreath for Twain's funeral and published a eulogy to him in the American Review of Reviews. Located on Great Pasture Road.

13. West Redding Train Station. On June 18, 1908, just before 6pm, the Berkshire Express out of NYC made a special stop for Mark Twain's first visit to Redding, Connecticut. The railroad continued to make this special stop from that day on in order to accommodate Twain and his many visitors to Stormfield. The original train station was in front of the building you see there today that houses the Baptist Church. This building, though altered over the years, is original and existed during Twain's time in Redding.

14. Old Town House. The Old Town House in the Historic District of Redding Center is where the Stormfield Burglars were arraigned just 10 hours after the robbery. Twain's house was robbed at midnight and by 12 noon the next day the burglars were off to jail in Bridgeport, CT. Ya don't mess with Twain!

15. The Saugatuck Reservoir. Back in 1910 this was a glen and both Sam and Jean enjoyed taking walks and nature watching down there.

View the Online Twain Trail Map with photos

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