Various items can be found at Twain's grave
Arguably one of the greatest writers in American history found inspiration in Elmira where he penned some of his best work. Over 100 years after Mark Twain's death, people are still finding ways to show appreciation for those literary classics. Our Bill Mich takes a look at the interesting way people are paying respect to him at his grave site.
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ELMIRA, N.Y. -- Elmira is widely know as Mark Twain Country. Thousands of visitors come to the city each year to visit some of the famous sites including his study that is on the Elmira College Campus. And his grave site located in Woodlawn Cemetery. The author had a real connection to the city.
"He did some of his most productive writing here in Elmira. He wrote "Tom Sawyer" here, "Huckleberry Finn", "The Prince and the Pauper", "Life on the Mississippi", "The Tramp Abroad," said Dr. Barbara Snedecor, the Director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College.
Despite passing away over 100 years ago, people from across the country are still compelled to visit his grave, many of them bearing gifts. And much of what is left behind at the grave goes beyond conventional flowers.
"Samuel Clemens averaged about 40 cigars a day. So, there is a lot of meaning if somebody leaves a cigar," Snedecor said.
Coins have also become common on the gravestone. Some believe they are left for luck, others say there could be a mythological reason; helping to pay the toll into the afterlife. But that's not all. People leave pens, pencils, match books and even pictures, all for a man they never knew personally but felt close to through his writing.
"Many people who I have spoken to are on very much a Twain Pilgrimage in that they have been to Hannibal, they have been to Hartford and now they come to Elmira and kind of round of the story of his life here," said Snedecor.
Just from looking at the headstone, it is clear that one of America's greatest authors is still able to reach a wide audience.
So the next time you're passing through Elmira's Woodlawn Cemetery, considering stopping by the final resting place of Mark Twain and paying your respect.