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America's favorite slackers: Huck and Tom.
America's favorite slackers: Huck and Tom.

Tom and Huck Statue

Field review by the editors.

Hannibal, Missouri

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are well-known and admired enough to merit a statue. The problem is that they're not real; they were created by author Mark Twain. But in 1926 the town of Hannibal decided to set a precedent and erect a statue of Tom and Huck anyway, reasoning that the two were based on Hannibal citizens who were real, and that if a town's most beloved characters are fictional, so what?

The statue was created by sculptor Frederick Hibbard, who had earlier sculpted a statue of real-person Twain for Hannibal. The two barefoot boys stand at the north end of town, overlooking its Main St. The statue's dedication was attended by Laura Hawkins Frazier (Twain's inspiration for another of his characters, Becky Thatcher) and Molly Brown, the unsinkable lady of the Titanic, who happened to be born in Hannibal and was back for a visit.

Tom and Huck keep watch over the sleepy streets of Hannibal.
Tom and Huck keep watch over the sleepy streets of Hannibal.

The working title of the sculpture was "Starting Out on Mischief Bent," but when it was unveiled it was described as a portrayal of Tom about to walk into adulthood and Huck trying to hold him back. Even a quick glance at the statue shows that this is not true, and suggests that the story was probably invented by the statue's sponsor and principal speaker at its dedication, George A. Mahan. He believed in hard work and industry, not a couple of smart-aleck slackers.

Also see: Hannibal: Twain Town

Tom and Huck Statue

North St., Hannibal, MO
Bottom of Cardiff Hill, at the intersection of North St. and Main St.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Mark Twain Boyhood HomeMark Twain Boyhood Home, Hannibal, MO - < 1 mi.
Tom Sawyer's FenceTom Sawyer's Fence, Hannibal, MO - < 1 mi.
Large Mug of Root BeerLarge Mug of Root Beer, Hannibal, MO - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Unsinkable Molly Brown Museum, Hannibal, MO - < 1 mi.

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