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Jimmy Carter's signature in guest book.

Mark Twain Cave: Jimmy Carter Guest Book

Field review by the editors.

Hannibal, Missouri

Some caves have all the luck. Mark Twain Cave is not exceptional in size or formations, but it's had some memorable visitors. Samuel Clemens (later Mark Twain) hung out in the then-nameless cave as a kid, and later gave it a key role as "MacDougal's Cave" in his book Tom Sawer. A mad doctor named Joseph McDowell used it as a mausoleum for his dead daughter, who he preserved in an alcohol-filled glass coffin. Jesse James once hid in the cave and left his signature on a wall to prove it. And President Jimmy Carter and the First Family visited the cave on August 23, 1979, and signed its guest book, which is still displayed in the gift shop.

As far as we know, it's the only instance of a serving President taking the time to visit a tourist cave, or maybe just the only one who was down-to-earth enough to sign a guest register like a regular tourist.

"Mark Twain always had a good thing to say about America," said President Carter in a speech he gave that day in Hannibal. "He had some good things to say about the Federal Government. And I particularly liked this because you don't hear that very much any more."

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Also see: Hannibal: Twain Town

Mark Twain Cave: Jimmy Carter Guest Book

300 Cave Hollow Rd, Hannibal, MO
I-72 exit 157. South on Mark Twain Ave/3rd St./Hwy 79 through town for about one mile, then turn onto Cave Hollow Rd.
Daily 9-5; off-season 9-3. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Karlock Cars and Pop Culture MuseumKarlock Cars and Pop Culture Museum, Hannibal, MO - 2 mi.
Mark Twain MuseumMark Twain Museum, Hannibal, MO - 2 mi.
Hannibal: Twain TownHannibal: Twain Town, Hannibal, MO - 2 mi.
In the region:
Mystery Baby-Making Boulder, Liberty, IL - 18 mi.

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