For over twenty years, Samuel Clemens and his family summered at Quarry Farm, the home of his sister-in-law Susan and her husband Theodore Crane. Here Clemens, known to readers as Mark Twain, wrote Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and many other of his most important works. Today, Quarry Farm is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Although access to the Farm is restricted to scholars and planned events, the study where Twain wrote is open for public visitations. Additionally, you may now see the inside of Quarry Farm for the first time with our virtual tour.
Jervis Langdon, the father of Twain’s wife Olivia, purchased the Quarry Farm property on East Hill in May, 1869. Quarry Farm is so named because of an old abandoned stone quarry on the property that is just a short ways up the hill from the house. Located on the outskirts of Elmira, the Farm was to be a vacation home for his family.
However, Jervis Langdon died in August, 1870 leaving the Farm property to his eldest daughter, Susan Langdon Crane. Quarry Farm then became the year-round home and dairy farm of Susan and her husband, Theodore Crane. From 1870 until 1889, Samuel and Olivia Clemens and their children spent every summer with the Cranes at Quarry Farm.
In 1874, the Cranes had a study built for Mark Twain on the top of a knoll a short distance from the main house. This famous octagonal study was where Samuel Clemens, under his pen name Mark Twain, wrote major portions of Roughing It, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Tramp Abroad, The Prince and the Pauper, Life on the Mississippi, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and many short pieces. In 1952, the study was moved on to the campus of Elmira College, where it remains today. Click here for more information about visiting Mark Twain’s study and the Mark Twain Exhibit at Elmira College.
Mark Twain’s days at Quarry Farm were later remembered by his niece, Ida Langdon:
“The Farm was never lonely, never monotonous, never dull, but it was utterly quiet and undisturbed. It was a wonderful place for my uncle to work (according to him the best place anywhere in the world). It was also to him a very beautiful place, a place, he said, in which to take a foretaste of Heaven.“
– Dr. Ida Longdon, niece of Mark Twain and Elmira College Professor, 1960
Experience Quarry Farm
Although Quarry Farm is not open to the public, the magic of this historical site may be experienced through our virtual tour. Additionally, Quarry Farm serves as a home for visiting Mark Twain scholars. Fellowships are offered to scholars pursuing research or writing in the field of Mark Twain studies. The nineteenth century carriage barn and former housekeeper’s cottage have been adapted for program use.
“This may be called the home of Huckleberry Finn and other books of mine, for they were written here.”
– Mark Twain, 1886