Mark Twain House, 351 Farmington Avenue (corrected from original address of 531 Farmington Avenue), Hartford, Hartford County, CT
Sometimes architecturally referred to as "Mississippi Steamboat" style.
Significance: Completed in 1874, the Mark Twain house was designed by Edward Tuckerman Potter and Alfred H. Thorp for noted American author and humorist Samuel Clemens and his family. The Clemenses lived here from 1874 until 1891, during which time Mr. Clemens wrote a number of novels now recognized as classics of American literature, including "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" (1876), "A Tramp Abroad" (1879), "The Prince and the Pauper" (1880), "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (1884), and "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" (1889). The house was erected on a portion of the property known as "Nook Farm," a close-knit, prestigious enclave that included, in addition to the Clemens family, authors Harriet Beecher Stowe and Charles Dudley Warner, and suffragist Isabella Beecher Hooker. The Clemenses were known for their ostentatious lifestyle and entertaining. Guest included noted personalities of the day, including literary figures William Dean Howells, Thomas Bailey Aldrich and Bret Harte; actor Edwin Booth, and British explorer and journalist Sir Henry Morton Stanley. The Mark Twain House, with its irregular configuration, many gables, projecting bays, balconies, and covered porches provides a stunning example of the eclectic European-inspired Continental Picturesque style favored by the well-to-do from the late 1850s through the early 1870s. The design also follows several local conventions with its use of Windsor brick and Connecticut River Valley brownstone and with its glass-enclosed Conservatory modeled after a design attributed to Nook Farm neighbor Harriet Beecher Stowe. Of particular note, Louis Comfort Tiffany and his firm Associated Artists decorated the first floor rooms and central hall of the house. The Aesthetic Movement decor was influenced by East and Near East design and features intricate geometric stenciling on walls and doors, specialty wallpapers and some pierced brasswork and carved teak woodwork. Also, the house was fitted with the most advanced technological equipment of the day, including a telephone, speaking tubes and bells, burglar alarm, gas lighting, central heating, and extensive plumbing.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N250
Survey number: HABS CT-359
Building/structure dates: 1874 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1881 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1886 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1929 Subsequent Work
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 66000884
In 1837 Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young founded Tiffany & Company in Brooklyn, Connecticut, as a "stationery and fancy goods emporium". Charles Tiffany's father who financed the store with only $1,000. Charles Lewis Tiffany along with his friend John B. Young established the jewelry company Tiffany in 1837 as Tiffany, Young and Ellis. They settled in Manhattan selling imported high-class glassware, silverware jewelry, and porcelain. Unlike other stores at the time, Tiffany clearly marked the prices on its goods, only accepted cash payments, and did not allow purchases on credit. The first Tiffany mail order catalog, known as the "Blue Book", was published in 1845, and publishing of the catalog continues it to this day. The company began designing its own jewelry in the 1850s, relocating to Fifth Avenue and opening branches in Paris and London. Tiffany adopted the British silver standards, establishing the term "sterling" in the US. Charles Comfort Tiffany succeeded his father as director and led the company to become one of the leading proponents of the Art Nouveau style and shortened the name to Tiffany & Company, changed emphasis on jewelry in 1853. In 1862 Tiffany supplied the Union Army with swords (Model 1840 Cavalry Saber), flags, and surgical implements. In 1870, the company built a new store building at 15 Union Square West, Manhattan, designed by John Kellum. It was described by The New York Times as a "palace of jewels". In 1956, legendary designer Jean Schlumberger joined Tiffany, and Andy Warhol collaborated with the company to create Tiffany holiday cards (circa 1956–1962).