Quote from the book White Town Drowsing by Hannibal native

and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Powers

Samuel Langhorne Clemens moved with his family to Hannibal in 1839 at the age of four and lived here until he left to be a riverboat pilot in 1853. He recalled fond memories of his boyhood home in two of his most beloved works, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Hannibal, Missouri is nestled on the western shore of the Mississippi River 100 miles north of St. Louis. Known best as the hometown of Mark Twain and the setting for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Hannibal is also the birthplace and childhood home of Titanic survivor Margaret Tobin Brown (aka The "Unsinkable" Molly Brown). During the latter half of the 19th century Hannibal was a very cosmopolitan town, its wealth

derived from the success of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad and the prosperity brought by various industries, most notably lumber -- throughout the late 1800s sixteen major lumber firms in Hannibal were producing a combined total of more than 200 million linear feet of lumber per year.



The wealthy Lumber Barons and their families lived the epitome of the Gilded Age between 1870 - 1900. Fifth Street, the most fashionable address in Hannibal, became known as "Millionaires' Row", and many of these magnificent Victorian homes have been lovingly restored and are still with us today. Grand civic structures were also constructed,  such as the Hannibal Jail and Police Station (1878), the Federal Building (1888), and the Hannibal Free Public Library (1902) all of which are still part of Hannibal's Central Park Historic District.

Federal Building

Completed in 1888


Main Street Historic District, one of the five historic districts in Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal Free Public Library

Completed in 1902

Home of  lumber baron

David Dubach

221 North Fifth Street

Completed in 1871

Hannibal lumber baron

William Dulaney c1890

Circa 1880:  A Steam engine pulls lumber from the Mississippi using a patented invention for loading floating lumber cribs by Hannibalian Sumner T. McKnight

Hannibal embodies all that is Steampunk, with authentic Victorian architecture found throughout its five historic districts, a rich history of industry and invention (inventors from Hannibal have patented hundreds of creative inventions and gadgets over the last 150 years), and, of course, the legacy of Mark Twain, whose books The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today and A Connecticut Yankee in King Aurthur's Court are widely embraced as inspiration for the Steampunk lifestyle. As you walk down Hannibal's Main Street, you are literally walking in the footsteps of Mark Twain and Molly Brown. The trains still blow their whistles as they drive through Hannibal; the riverboats still play their steam-powered calliopes to announce their arrivals and departures; horse-drawn carriages still clip-clop down the street past authentic buildings built between 1840-1900. Immerse yourself in Victorian America and step back in time to the Gilded Age at the Big River Steampunk Festival!

Molly Brown Birthplace and Museum.


Margaret Tobin Brown, aka The "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, was born in Hannibal in 1867 and lived here until the age of 18 when she left to seek her fortune in Colorado in the spring of 1886. She would later be known worldwide as the heroine of the Titanic disaster.

Hannibal Jail

Completed in 1878

Big River Steampunk Festival

is Presented By:

Ken and Lisa Marks

Co-Founders, Hannibal History Museum

200 N. Main Street

Hannibal, MO 63401

(573) 248-1819


a 501(c)(3) Missouri non-profit corporation

Federal ID (EIN): 46-4772316

IRS DLN# 17053062337044

Website Design by Second Empire Productions

Copyright (c) 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

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 Please acknowledge our Scheduling, Copyrights and Trademarks Policies:



Big River Steampunk Festival, the Big River Steampunk Festival logo, and other names, logos, icons and marks identifying Big River Steampunk Festival products and services are trademarks of Ken and Lisa Marks, co-founders of the Hannibal History Museum, and may not be used without the acquisition of prior written permission.  All rights not expressly granted in this agreement are reserved to the Ken and Lisa Marks. You may not post, distribute, reproduce, or sell in any way, any copyrighted material, trademarks, or other proprietary information that you do not have legal authorization to use. Although not anticipated, necessary changes to the Schedule of Events, products offered, and any other advertised offerings may be made without prior notice. A portion of the proceeds from the Big River Steampunk Festival benefit the Hannibal History Museum Foundation, a federally-recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.