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Inside the Perplexing 'Tom and Becky' Contest in Mark Twain's Hometown

Hannibal, Missouri, a town of 18,000 on the banks of the Mississippi River, has one claim to fame—it’s Mark Twain’s birthplace—and claim that fame it does. On the drive from St. Louis, billboards advertising the Mark Twain cave—the cave that was featured in five of Twain’s books, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer—begin appearing at least 50 miles outside town. When you enter Hannibal, the town is thick with Twain sites and Twain references — the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum, the Mark Twain Hotel, the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse, and even the Mark Twain Dinette.
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