December 6, 2015

2104 UNITED STATES (Missouri) - Mark Twain Cave

Located near Hannibal, Mark Twain Cave is the oldest operating show cave in the state, giving tours continuously since 1886. It plays an important role in the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain and is named in honor of the Hannibal native. While it's possible that Native Americans may have been aware of the cave, its documentation claims its discovery in the winter of 1819-1820 by a local hunter, Jack Simms.

The proximity to the Mississippi river and its cooling breezes made the small valley between the river bluffs containing the caves a popular site for family picnics and church outings in the summertime. One macabre event in the cave's early history happened in late 1840s when physician Dr. Joseph Nash McDowell purchased the cave and used it for several years as a laboratory for experiments on human corpses, the most notable being an attempt to petrify the remains of his deceased daughter.

In nowadays the entire cave complex is privately owned by the Coleberd family, descendants of Judge Cameron. It includes Mark Twain and Cameron caves, a campground, gift shop/visitors center, candle shop and winery. Other available activities include The Life and Times of Mark Twain, a one-man stage performance that covers various highlights, and the humor of, the famed authors life from a first-person perspective.

About the stamps

The first stamp, which pays tribute to the majestic emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), was issued on June 1, 2015. Illustrator Nancy Stahl hand-sketched and then digitally composed the art based on photos she took of emperor penguins at the Central Park Zoo in New York City. Art director Carl Herrman designed the stamp.

The second stamp is one of the two issued under the title $1 Patriotic Wave, about which I wrote here.

Mark Twain Cave - Wikipedia

Sender: Denise 
Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 10.11.2015

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