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In The News – Mark Twain’s adventures at Lake Tahoe: A turning point 

January 31, 2024 | Member Submitted

Originally Published in The Sierra Sun on 1/29/24, Special to the Sun

The September 1861 trip to Lake Tahoe stands as a pivotal moment in Samuel Clemens’ life, marking the first steps towards his transformation into the literary giant known as Mark Twain.  

Clemens, 25 years old and still searching for his place in the world, left his printing apprenticeship in the East and joined his brother Orion, the Secretary of the Nevada Territory, in the Nevada silver rush. 
Upon reaching Lake Tahoe, Clemens was awestruck by its beauty. He described the crystal-clear water reflecting the majestic mountains as “the fairest picture the whole earth affords.” This encounter sparked a sense of wonder and inspiration, igniting a lifelong love for the Sierra Nevada landscape. 

Driven by youthful ambition and the promise of timber wealth, Clemens staked a claim on the North Shore near present-day Glenbrook. His pioneering spirit sprinkled with a good dose of hilarious foibles foreshadows his later literary themes of independence and self-reliance. 


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