Bonnie Baker-Duff, Owego - firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Fanny Farmer and the Mark Twain
I was born in Binghamton, we moved to Elmira when I was two
years old. My school was Thomas K Beecher. My dad worked at
Remington Rand and later Fairway Spring Company. My mom, Louise
Baker, worked at wonderful Fanny Farmer, located on the corner
of the hotel. How she loved that job! She would often bring
home little bags with 'broken bits and pieces.' I don't believe
I will ever taste such wonderful candy again!
We moved back to Binghamton in 1957 and
life was never the same. Since my (first) husband and I were
in the Air Force, we lived in Myrtle Beach, SC, USAFA in Colorado
Springs. And later, as far away as Okinawa. However, a big piece
of my heart will always remain on Sullivan Street, Elmira, NY.
Toni Blide, Elmira - Tblide@aol.com
Subject: Wedding reception
sister and I had a double wedding. Our reception was held in
the Ballroom and Terrace. We had a champagne fountain, and our
double wedding cake was made by Rossi's bakery. My widowed Aunt
caught my bouquet....our wedding reception was in 1969....and
it was wonderful.
Hercules Diveris, Albany - email@example.com
am a 1947 graduate of SHS and my Senior prom was held at the
Hotel. Also attended three wedding receptions of cousins there.
In 1964 the Order of Ahepa held its annual district convention
at the Hotel. And I had many luncheons at the Tea Room.
Tom Shull, Florida - firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Grandfather working the elevators at the Mark
remember riding on the old elevators
at the Mark Twain Hotel where my grandfather, Bill Peterson,
worked. He would open/close the gates of the elevator, and I
could ride up or down, depending on the floor I wanted to go
to. Most of the time, I went to the Tea Room for lunch. I distinctly
remember the egg salad sandwiches or the brown bread that seemed
to go with anything you ordered.
Robert Boyle - email@example.com
researching my great aunt, ran across your website about the
Mark Twain Hotel. For background, my family were pioneers in
San Francisco. Family lore has it that my Great Grandfather
was a sparing partner of Mark Twain around 1863-4 at the Olympic Club. This is
why Gertrude F. Boyle did his bust upon his death in 1910.
An explanation that
I received in my research appears below. Thought you would be
Your question about the Gertrude Boyle
bust of Twain was forwarded to me. The Mark Twain House in Hartford
owns the bust in question. Here
is an image of it. Here also is a
letter to the Mark Twain Hotel in Elmira that is an interesting
proposal from a benefactor wishing to display the artwork in
the Mark Twain Hotel.
According to our files, the bust was sculpted in 1908. It was
cast in bronze from the plaster original only after Boyle's
death in 1937, at the
request of her sister, Olive Boyle. According to Reba H. Thompson,
who gave the bust to the museum, on October 22, 1951, Olive
traveled east from California (where she lived) to inspect the
work. She was satisfied with the bust and asked that Thompson
find an appropriate home for it. It seems that Thompson tried
several different options, including the Smithsonian, Mark Twain
Society in NY, Mark Twain Hotel in Elmira NY, Mark Twain Library
in Redding CT, and Clara Clemens herself. The bust stayed at
the foundry in Long Island City, NY for nearly 10 years, as
Olive Boyle had died and letters to the niece who was the administrator
of her estate were returned as unclaimed.
In 1962, Thompson was able to connect
with Clara Clemens Samossoud, and she suggested that Twain's
Hartford home would be an appropriate place to house the bust.
"As the old Hartford Home is being renovated on a large
scale and many people go there to see it, it seems to me that
there would be the best place to have it sent
that time, Thompson had the bust packed and sent to our museum,
where it has lived ever since.
The Smithsonian lists many other sculptures done by your great-aunt.
See this link. I'm I'm curious about
the letters you mention to a Mildred Clemens. Mildred wasn't
his niece, but more possibly a cousin, although there is no
evidence that they ever met. She lectured much on Hawaii during
her life, including performing in an illustrated musical called
"Happy Hawaii." What kind of content is in the letters
that suggests that Mildred was given the bust?
Yvonne Fields, Austell GA - firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Twain Bldg was always sucha grand memory over the years.
The fact that Mark Twain chose our area of living to study and
write was honorable to me as well. I so miss coming home, so
to to speak. Have been living in the Atlanta area for over 36
Gordy Brion, Canandaigua
Subject: Baseball Legends
a Postcard from the Mark Twain Hotel with Gil Hodges, Jackie
Robinson, Lee Scott, George Fallon and Spencer Harris signatures
on it. It is quite a treasure. I am wondering if anyone recalls what sports
banquet it was that they attended there. I remember the hotel
and eating next door at Izard's Tea Room down in the basement
of the department store. Please feel free to contact me with any info
on the signatures. Thanks.
Louise Richard Kent, South Carolina - email@example.com
Subject: Growing up around the Mark Twain Hotel
family moved to Elmira in the early 50's from RI; I was almost
six. We lived on W. Clinton St., only a few blocks from St.
Pat's, Cappy's (cherry phosphates and Mexican Sundaes), Schmidt's
(Tommy and Johnny) Grocery Store, and oh yes, Carl's Bakery
(can still smell those wonderful "Denmarks"). When I was old enough to
wander from that area which included Arnot Park, the
Mark Twain Hotel (and the study on Elmira College campus) were
central to my growing years. The Fanny Farmer store where my
friend, Joyce Osborn's, mother worked is an especially sweet
and aromatic memory.
Then there was the Colonial Theatre across the
street and the Popcorn Wagon at Wisner Park. We used to cut
through the rear entrance overhang area - can't recall why except
that it was a bit dark and eerie back there. My most frightening
memory of that short cut was shortly after the movie "The
Birds" - Alfred Hitchcock - opened at the Colonial. It
was dark and suddenly a huge (in my memory, at least) flock
of birds flew under the overhang directly at us at the opposite
end. My first "drop to the ground" experience of a
I did some modeling for the Gorton Coy as a young
teen-ager at the Mark Twain - felt like a huge celebrity in
that milieu!! Then there were the proms, all with the love of
my life Don Kent, and weddings (Barb Augustine and Jim Madell
had their reception there) - such a majestic location for those
great events. Anyway, those sweeter childhood and early adult
memories are forever mine and will always consider Elmira home.
Wish I could get back there more often!!
Carol Worden, Elmira - firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Ball Room Dancing and Madame Helina at the Mark
best friend's father worked there. I not only remember our proms
at the Mark Twain and feeling like a princess while entering
into the Grand Ballroom. Mme. Helina used to hold Christmas
parties there for her students and families. During this time
she would hand out awards. She also had her ballroom class event
here where students would enjoy the Foxtrot, Waltz and the like.
Oh yes, fond memories of the Old Mark Twain Hotel.
Frank, Tennessee - email@example.com
Subject: Mark Twain Apartments
lived in Elmira for years,
but now live in Tennessee. My mother is from Elmira - born and
raised. She went to Southside
High in the late 50s and early 60s. After my dad died she moved
into the Mark Twain Hotel building, and she has a nice little
apartment on the 4th floor. It is always neat. When i visit
her, I look at that old building inside and out, and try to
imagine what it was like in its heyday, back when they had the
Roaring Twenties music playing in the ballroom. I'm sure it
There probably probably was a little Twenties Music playing,
but we'll bet much of it was from the Thirties and Forties and
after - since the Mark Twain didn't open until March of 1929
(almost 1930). In fact, if you'll turn your speakers on and
listen real hard, you might hear some Glenn Miller playing,
right now. If you don't hear it, refresh this page so that it
can start over.
Linda Stradley Staiger, Almond - firstname.lastname@example.org
he Class of 66 from Edison H.S.
had their Proms and Banquets at the Mark Twain. It was a beautiful
place which I enjoyed so much. We held a banquet in one room
complete with entertainment provided by the Junior Class for
the Seniors. Then we went home to change clothes from short
dress to long gowns (and long gloves, too!) to return to the
Ballroom for the Prom. How marvelous that place was. I still
can picture the murals on the walls. It was also the place where
I auditioned for Fredonia State Univ.---in those days a rep.
from the college would travel around to test prospective music
students. Ed Whittenhall accompanied my vocal solo and, after
all the rest of the testing, he took me to the hotel's Tea Room
for a coke. I still have the napkin from that day. Sadly, by
the time I was older and was working the hotel closed and I
was never able to go there as an adult. I loved that place.
Kay Howey Hickman, Texas - FolkieKay@aol.com
husband and I married on October 4th, 1972 in Wellsboro, PA.
We drove to Corning to find a place to spend the night and everything
was full, so we drove on to Elmira. We stopped somewhere looking
for a room and the desk clerk told us that the Mark Twain Hotel
was no longer a hotel after the flood, but was being used to
house some nursing home folks.
We found out they might have a couple of
rooms that they would rent out. So we called and they said to
come on. We spent our wedding night at the Mark Twain Hotel
drinking two bottles of pink catawba wine, watching TV, and
making love. What a memory. It wasn't really a hotel anymore,
and we were so thankful that we got to stay there. I think we
paid $12. I do have the receipt in a photo album. I wish it
were still a hotel so that we could come back and spend our
40th wedding anniversary night there.
Erin O'Neill, Washingtonville - email@example.com
grandmother is 101 years old and living in my mother's home.
Grandma, Lillian Cooper, married Vinton Hememway in 1936. They
secretly eloped due to the great depression and spent November
14th in the Mark Twain Hotel. During their stay, they wrote
a letter together that dedicated their marriage to God. We still
have this letter on old Mark Twain Hotel stationery in the Hotel
envelope. What a treasure. I just finished reading it to her
Joanne Hanlon Opdahl, Venice CA -
wonderful memories of the Mark Twain Hotel. Having lunch with
Mom after shopping at Iszards.
Dressing up for ballroom dancing lessons and then attending
the formals to practice our newly learned dance steps. My first
surprise birthday was after one of those lessons on a Friday
night downstairs in the coffee shop. Dad and Mom would have
a date night sometimes and eat at the Mark Twain Hotel. Oh,
the ice cream they made, the best you can find anywhere !! Great
Kathy Kittle McGee, S. Carolina
Subject: Proms at Mark Twain
remember decorating the ballroom for proms.
Whatever happened to those good ole days, ballroom dancing,
wonderful music. We were fortunate to grow up in the 50's in
Dan Sullivan, Marietta GA - firstname.lastname@example.org
was born in Elmira in 1945. I attended George Washington Elementary
School and Notre Dame H.S., leaving after my Junior Year when
my family moved to Atlanta, GA in June of 1962. My father, William
F. Sullivan, had been head of Purchasing at American LaFrance.
In 5th and 6th grade I attended Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson's Dancing
School, held in the Mark Twain Hotel's ball room. Great fun
and we had a formal dance every year.
My Grandfather, Vincent E. Miller, was a
cabinet maker and owned a lumber yard. He
built the serpentine bar in the Connecticut Yankee Room - quite
a bar! As an architect, I'm happy to know that the Mark Twain
still stands and has another life as an apartment building.
I do hope the bar is still in use. I haven't been back to Elmira
since 1977 or so, but "visit" by Google Earth every
now and then.
Sharon Dutton -
Subject: My foster father
foster father, Howard "Wash" Washington, was a head
waiter for many years at The Mark Twain Hotel. As an African
American he held his head high because of his position there.
I remember the park across the street, where fresh popcorn from
the vendor wafted through the air. I remember coming with my
foster mother to the telephone company nearby to pay the bills,
leaving with a "princess phone" keychain.Or, eating
one of those delicious chili dogs from M&M's.
But mostly, I remember when
our family's new home, in neighboring Horseheads, burned. We
were without shelter until the hotel gave us a suite for two
whole months. No doubt because my father's professionalism.
I'll never forget this as long as I live. He would bring the
dinner cart himself.
also remember the Kiwanis Club Christmas dinners held for foster
children. What a great affair. Each child received a gift. I
remember being in awe of the china and silverware, the chandeliers,
the pagentry. I didn't feel so small and different then. My
father would come by my table, dressed in his whites with his
black bow tie. I was very proud of him. If anyone has any stories
about my foster father, I'd appreciate you passing them along.
I'm writing a book. Thank you.
Subject: Head Bell Hop
"Bob" Arnold of Elmira was the Head of Bellhops at
the Mark Twain Hotel for over 40 years. He knew everything that
was going on at the Hotel. He welcomed presidents, governors
and many other dignitaries. A real fine gentleman. His children
were Eilenn, Lois and Bob.
E. Dow, Levittown PA - email@example.com
I was just a little boy growing up in Binghamton about 55 miles
east of Elmira, I used to hear complaints about the old Arlington
Hotel downtown near the railroad stations. My dad and his business
friends would say: "What Binghamton really needs is
a modern first class hotel like the Mark Twain in Elmira."
Editor's Note - the Arlinton in Binghamton
was at the corner of Lewis and Chenango Streets. Please
click here to see a photo postcard of the old Arlington Hotel.
Clearwater FL - firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Jackie Robinson
was just talking to my neighbor tonight and he brought out a
orange piece of paper, signed by Jackie Robinson. He also had
two other pieces of blue paper, one signed by Gil Hodges and
the other by Chuck Brenner. His step dad got these when he worked
as a cook for the Mark Twain Hotel. They were staying there
for some sort of Award Ceremony. Does anyone remember a time
when Jackie, Gil and Chuck may have stayed there? If so, what
award were they there for and what kind of paper this might
have been? Did the hotel have blue or orange notebook paper?
Any info would help.
C Monroe, Bentley LA - email@example.com
aunt was a housekeeper at the Hotel from the time she was 65
until she was 80 years old. I recall how my sister and I would
come down and meet her for lunch. There were some nice small
diners not far from the Hotel. When I was 18 years old I went
to the bar. I do not recall the name of it, but it was name
of one of Mark Twain's books.
(Editor's Note - it
was called the Connecticutt Yankee Lounge)
Kelly Spellecy, Elmira - firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: St. Patrick's Day at the Mark Twain
several years, 1954-1958, my brother Joe Kelly would entertain
by singing at the annual Chemung County American Irish Society's
banquet at the Mark Twain Hotel. Some years my mother would
accompany him on the piano. I would always be in the wings of
the ballroom because I was too young to be at the banquet. I
remember walking around the lobby taking in the elegant decor
and high ceilings. I remember the plush carpeting and the ornate
architecture. I always felt I was among elegance and class.
was an Elmira City policeman for 30 years (Joseph E. Kelly)
and would bodyguard the Irish dignitaries that would come to
Elmira for St. Patrick's Day. I recall standing out in front
of the hotel sharing the pride of my dad when he was photographed
with Basil Collins who had come to Elmira and stayed in the
Mark Twain Hotel. When I was a teenager I recall the joy my
friend and I had eating in the Huck Finn restaurant attached
to the Mark Twain Hotel. It was a grand piece of property that
was part of my early heritage.
Robertson, Philadelphia - email@example.com
Subject: Mark Twain owner/Charles Jones
anybody know anything about Charles Jones, my great grandfather,
and supposedly part owner of the Mark Twain Hotel? His son was
Sherman Jones who married Arletta Caton Jones, daughter Bronwyn
(Bunny) Jones. I am interested to learn about my family, the
Mark Twain and Elmira. Thank you for these interesting stories
I enjoyed reading.
Titus, NDHS '67 - NDpride56@aol.com
Subject: Connecticut Yankee
City Now: Elmira
the summer of '71, I bartended at the Connecticut Yankee Lounge...met
many wonderful and interesting characters. The former wooden
bar is now at the Ancient Order of Hibernians, 701 Kinyon St.,
Elmira. It's the Irish/Catholic Club. The wooden bar is truly
a beautiful work of art, albeit about 5 feet shorter on each
end. I also remember the Mark Twain Hotel for all of the sports
banquets and proms held there. And WENY-TV getting knocked off
the air by the flood of '72, because their mechanical equipment
was in the basement of the hotel. The hotel is a beautiful building
which "if walls could talk," we could get a glimpse
of times gone by, and all the characters and celebrities it
housed, at one time. Really appreciate the site!
Joel Esterman - firstname.lastname@example.org
City Now: Havertown PA
never been nor do I know anyone who has been to this hotel,
but somehow I am in possession of a wooden coat hanger from
the Mark Twain Hotel.
Tony Orbanac - email@example.com
City Now: Elmira
dad was a chef at the Mark Twain Hotel. He met my mom there
because she worked in the coffee shop. He was a cook in the
Army during WWI and came back to eventually be the Head Chef
at the Mark Twain. My mom, Helen, used to tell us stories about
all the famous people that would stay there. One story in particular
was when the VonTrapp family came to perform.
Linda Salamon - firstname.lastname@example.org
City Now: Washington DC
of my 5th-&-6th grade experience was Mr. Ferguson's dancing
classes in the Mark Twain Ballroom [administered by Muriel Shoemaker,
mother of my classmate, Jill.] We were all expected to use proper
social manners, dress quite formally, etc -- as well as to learn
(after mastering the box step) the waltz, foxtrot, etc. We taller
girls (frequent at that age) had to cope with shorter boys as
partners. It was all fabulous preparation for the 1920s...BEFORE
the Jazz Age. The '60s made such social practices, even at country
clubs, as extinct as dinosaurs.
Yvonne Teyssier Fields - email@example.com
Subject: Prom night at Mark Twain Hotel
City Now: Austell GA
very first Prom I had ever been to was with Bobby Labuski, my
high school sweetheart in 1958...It was a lovely ballroom and
an even lovelier evening. Also purchased my very first two piece
bathing suit in the "Shoppe" on the main floor of
the hotel in 1959....August. I used to love to browse through
the travel agency and dream of traveling far and often. The
shops were grand and then I would go home and dream on. God
Bless you all. I miss coming to Elmira. It's hard to get up
there very often.
Betty Smith - <firstname.lastname@example.org>
mother worked as a waitress at the Mark Twain when she came
to Elmira after high school. She loved working there ( I
think from 1934 when I was born and way
into the war years and beyond). She would get autographs for
me. I have my heroes Gene Autry, Melvin Douglas, Johnny Long,
Carmen Cavallaro, Smiley Burnette and The Korn Kobblers Band.
These were all written on the back of The Mississippi Coffee
Shop coasters. The one from the Korn Kobblers was on a post
card. Mark Twain had the best smorgasbord.
Chuck Ange - email@example.com
Subject: Watkins Glen Grand Prix
I was a young boy growing up in Rochester, my father would go
on frequent business trips to Elmira. We always stayed at the
Mark Twain Hotel or the Tom Sawyer Motor Inn. One time when
I was about 10 years old, one of our trips coincided with the
sports car races in Watkins Glen. There were sports cars everywhere.
I concluded that sports cars were about the coolest things in
the world, and was determined to get one as soon as I was old
enough to drive. It took a bit longer than I thought before
I got my first sports car, but that was the beginning of my
life-long fascination with sports cars and motor racing.
Parma Sibyl Reynolds
Subject: Lunch at the Mark Twain
worked in the Gorton Coy for about two years in 1955 and 1956,
and I lunched at the Mark Twain EVERY DAY BUT SUNDAY because
I loved their ice cream.....it was such a fun experience...Lester
Jacobs was the head of the Gorton Coy and his son-in-law was
also helping to manage it. I would love to have lunch there
one more time.
Subject: The Day JFK was shot
of my childhood off and on was spent in Elmira. I recall attending
Hendy Ave and George Washington schools. I lived with my grandfather,
who was superintendant of schools (Harvey O Hutchinson), which
did not endear me to the teaching staff. We lived at 820 W.
Gray St, just down the road from the Mark Twain. He was on the
board of the "crippled children's home," a care center
for children with polio. I remember a picture of my grandfather
standing and talking to then-president FDR who was sitting in
his open Ford convertible when FDR came to visit the children.
(I've since seen the car at Hyde Park.)
I recall going to the Mark Twain for lunch at
the Rotary Club in the late 1930s as my grandfather's guest.
During WWII, my mother and I stayed with him for a while when
my father was in the Army. My mother would take me to a movie,
followed by a sundae at the Mark Twain. I loved the murals.
Years later I was driving
through Elmira with a business colleague. I wanted to show him
the murals I had remembered from childhood. We had a sundae
and went upstairs to the lobby. It was eerily quiet with only
a lobby TV set on. There in the lobby of the Mark Twain, I saw
a somber Walter Cronkite announcing that President Kennedy had
just been shot and was being taken to the Parkland Hospital
My most enjoyable memory of Elmira (not at the
Mark Twain) was on a visit to my nearly 80-year-old grandmother
(Celia Hutchinson, once English teacher at EFA and later counsellor
there for years) to take her first glider ride at Harris
Hill; the pilot turned out to be a former student of hers
and couldn't believe she was going up.
Babe Muro - firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Silver Tray
have a question. I have a silver serving tray. On the tray it
Mark Twain Hotel
Intl. Silver Co
Silver Sodered, 0805
The tray is an oval shape. I was wondering if the hotel had
trays like this in 1947? Can anyone please let me know. thank
Bill Treat, SHS57 - email@example.com
Subject: My Summer as a bell-hop
the summer of 1958, after my first year at Wheaton (IL) College,
I worked as a bell hop at the Mark Twain. My dad, Basil Treat,
knew the head hop, I believe his name was Bob. I wore my first
"job" uniform, previous ones being Boy Scout uniforms,
and later, ROTC and US Army uniforms. I enjoyed the experience,
and met some interesting people. I especially liked getting
cars for guests. I hadn't driven all that much myself, but didn't
seem to have a problem getting the vehicles out safely. I shared
the experience of working there for many years, and always felt
it was a prestigious place to work.
Irene Patros Fadis, EFA71 - RenaAlto@verizon.net
I was a little girl I remember that the Greek community held
a lot of their social functions at the Mark Twain Hotel, mostly
wedding receptions. I especially remember the grand ball room
with its two floors and its arched windows, and all of our moms
and the teenage girls of our community being dressed up in beautiful,
elegant dresses. Folding fans with the beautiful art work were
popular at the time.)
I also remember that the mom of a classmate of
mine worked at the hotel; as a chef. At one of the functions
I remember my dad asking for a finger bowl, if I remember correctly
he had just finished eating a chicken entree. My friend's mom
came out to say hello to us when the finger bowl was brought
Mainly I remember the parties as being very elegant
and extremely festive with the lively Greek band playing native
folk dances that everyone joined in a semi-circle to enjoy.
Those were really fancy and elegant times and a lot of fun.
The hotel also had a brass staircase. The staircase
split into two, so one could go up either to the right or to
the left. The lobby at the top of the staircase had an old fashioned
elevator that was gated, and it required an elevator attendant
to run it.
When I was really very little I remember going
into the restroom and crawling under the stall; I couldn't wait
for someone to get me change to unlock the door. Imagine being
all dressed up in an expensive dress and doing that! No wonder
I was in trouble a lot.
The restroom had a lounge with two very colorful arm chairs
and a wall to wall mirror with stools in front of the mirror.
I remember all of the grownups; my mom, aunts, and the "big
girls" freshening up their makeup. I thought they were
so cool and elegant.
I remember when Marlo Thomas came to Elmira to
campaign for McGovern. She came to the hotel where she was campaigning.
I remember that she gave me her autograph; I think I only came
to see her, and not that I was interested in McGovern. Her TV
show was very popluar at the time.
Another memory I have of the Hotel, is that on
the outside corner facing Main Street, there was the Fanny Farmer
Candy Store. It had very exquiste chocolates, and the aromas
were very warm and friendly. I often wonder what happened to
the owners of the store, I surely did miss it the last time
I visited Elmira.
Linda Barrett - Brrdaisy@cablelynx.com
years ago I was at a flea market and found some dinner ware
with the picture of Mark Twain. While talking with the owner
she said she had gotten the dinner ware years ago when the hotel
closed at one time. The back is marked Syracuse China. I collect
old teacups and saucers, and I couldn't resist buying these
Charlotte Leisenring Robinson
a thrill it was to find this site. My family will be visiting
Elmira in August (2006) to bring Mom & Dad home to Woodlawn,
so I've been "surfing" and am delighted to read the
stories about the Mark Twain. Although we migrated south to
Maryland our hearts will always belong to Elmira. And what wonderful
memories we have of the Mark Twain Hotel.
It was "the place to be" for three generations
of Leisenrings. For my grandparents and parents it was the "company
dinners". My mom never tired of telling the story about
sliding down the banister in her green satin gown. For me, it
was the proms, mixers with boys from private schools, and most
of all my wedding. Due to the closing of Remington Rand we relocated
to Binghamton but I was adament about being married in Elmira.
So the family and out of town guests, of course, booked rooms
at the Mark Twain.
After the rehearsal dinner and bachelor/bachelorette
parties we all gathered in the bar for a nightcap. The next
morning at 5 a.m. I woke up too excited to sleep and will never
forget hanging out the window of my room getting a last glimpse
of Elmira before leaving my childhood behind.
your site I found the marvelous photo of Samuel Clemens standing
on the steps of the Park Church along with a lot of other men.
While the other men may not be important to anyone else, I strongly
suspect that one of them was one of my Spaulding ancestors since
the Spauldings also belonged to Park Church and my great-great-grandfather's
sisters, Alice and Clara Spaulding, were great friends with
Olivia Langdon. My question...does anyone have any idea of the
identities of the other men in that photo???
Cheryl Stover Claney
mom, Nelda Segur Stover, was born and raised in Elmira. She
graduated from South Side High in 1937. She met my dad, Robert
Stover in February 1946 in the Hotel Bar at the Mark Twain Hotel.
They married in September of 1946 and settled in the Boston
area. They were married for 49 years, when Dad passed away in
1995. Mom is now 86 and is living in the Boston area in an Alzheimer's
facility. I am planning a trip that takes me though Elmira on
my way back to Chicago (my home) in August (2005). I have promised
her that I will try to find her house that she grew up in on
Charles St. and stop at the sight of the former Mark Twain Hotel!
Subject: Letter of Recommendation - 1932
grandmother worked at the Mark Twain Hotel in 1931 and 1932.
She received the following letter of recommendation from the
Maitre D'Hotel dated Oct. 15th 1932...
"To Whom it May Concern;The bearer, Mildred
Bristol, has been in my employ for more than a year and I have
found her to be a conscientious worker, of fine character, pleasing
personality and trustworthy. In my opinion, anyone needing her
services will find her well qualified to fill the position.
Yours very truly,Jean Lannan
Ronald W Miller
Subject: Friday night ballroom dance lessons
the mid 1940's my father played trumpet in the band at Ferguson's
over the drugstore next to theRR overpass. Between Dad and my
taking tap lessons at Fergies, I was able to take ballroom lessons
on Friday nights at the Mark Twain. Once a month they used a
live band (from Fergies) That's where I played in public for
the 1st time. I think I was about 11 years old and scared to
death, but Dad let me play the only song I knew, "I LOVE
YOU TRULY". Still playing all around Florida where I frequently
meet people from Elmira, like Bob Iszard in Lone Palm Country
Club, Lakeland Fl. Because of the Mark Twain and Friday night
dances, I'm one of the few musicians who I know that knows how
to dance. Oh yes, I also remember giving a corsage to my date,
Jeanette Wheeler, on those special monthly dances. They taught
us more than just dancing. I attended SHS in 1949 but moved
to St. Petersburg, Fl. and graduated there in 1953. Still visit
Elmira and several relatives every few years.
Subject: Manager of the Mark Twain
only memory of the Mark Twain Hotel is that my aunt worked as
a secretary for the manager whose name was Mr. Emerson, and
that she really liked him. I believe I met him (once?) and in
my memory he looked like David Niven - tall, thin and distinguished.
This was probably in the mid-fifties. It would be very interesting
if anyone knew him and if my memory of what he looked like was
as a Junior at EFA
(1951) going to the Mark Twain Hotel and entering the studios
of WELM to broadcast a live show called "The Elmira Public
Schools are on the Air". I remember the theme song was
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue being played off a red 45 disc.
I remember seeing the newsman (Gordon Ridenaur) It was like
seeing a celebrity. Ahhh the memories!!!
Subject: a memory & query
only time I can remember being in the Mark Twain Hotel was Thanksgiving
Day, 40 years ago. I can't say that I remember all that much
about the dining room. I do remember how cold it was that day.
We had spent the summer in Colorado because my father was at
a school there. He had been sent to the ITU school in Colorado
Springs to learn the newer processes for printing that the Star
Gazette would be implementing. So, I had not had the chance
to acclimatize to the weather changes. I really believe it was
the wrong thing to do to make the hotel into apartments. Even
if the hotel ran in the red, for historical reasons and for
tourist traffic, I believe the hotel would have had a renewal
in the later years as the historical impact would begin to draw
customers. It is like the Langdon Plaza, where Twain's wife's
family lived. The shops there do not do the site much good.My
question is this, service wear from the hotel dining rooms,
of what value might they be? I have one of the silver syrup
bowls, for lack of a better description. I would like to know
what it is worth. There is a very small place on one side where
the silver was worn off of it.
Subject: The lobby parakeets
parents and I moved to Elmira in 1957. We stayed at the Mark
Twain for a night or two, waiting for our furniture to arrive.
It was quite a luxury for a young boy of 12. I have a memory
that I'm not so sure about now since no one else has mentioned
them: the lobby parakeets. I remember that the lobby on the
second floor had some cages full of parakeets. Did I dream that?
Am I thinking of another place? I visited many more times over
the next ten years or so, often for lunch in the Connecticut
Yankee Restaurant - I had forgotten the name but was reminded
by a posting on this site.There was a Travel Agent on the ground
floor who was a friend of my mother. I enjoyed collecting brochures
describing grand hotels in exotic locations and the ships and
airplanes to take you there. I guess they had an effect on my
life, as I am enjoying a grand career in the Travel Business.Thank
you for this wonderful, memory filled site.
Edward B. Godwin -
Subject: Manners, Dances, and Candy
mother insisted upon her four boys attending the Ferguson's
dance classes. I suppose she hoped we would learn dances and
manners. Of course, it was ballroom dancing. One of the evening
events was the awarding of prizes--boxes of Fanny Farmer candies;
they had a store in the hotel. Our EFA class of 1954 had our
dinner there and later our family marriage celebrations there.
I used to visit the WENY radio station to watch the AP wire
ticker kick out news stories just like now we watch at the bottom
of the TV channel ticker. I can even remember seeing a "human
fly" climb up the outside of the hotel.
Mike George, EFA Class of 1959
memories were Mr. Ferguson's Dance School, the banana splits,
the Christmas Dance, the Fanny Farmer Store and the Young Bachelor's
Dance. My wife, Margie Laux (formally Geraghty) used to own
the Connecticut Yankee Lounge.
I hear popular songs from the 40's and 50's, I think of dancing
classes whose instructor was a little Napoleon-like figure named Ferguson. Does anybody remember
him? He commanded attention with a
pair of castanets. I think boys were recruited just
so that the girls would have partners. I never again danced
the way that he taught us. The lessons were conducted in the
main ballroom. I think that I was in about the 7th or 8th grade
at the time.
Jeanne (Gould) Freireich, SHS Class
of 56 - firstname.lastname@example.org
memories of this wonderful old building are of a couple of formals
I had the pleasure to attend with a very nice Preppie. My last
memory of the place was a scary meeting, for a teen, with the
IRS, because of a mistake in my income tax return to the tune
of $20.00. They came to get it!
Mary Costello, SHS Class of 58
I remember the proms we went to at
the Mark Twain. Also, I remember my mother taking me to the
ice cream shop there as a special treat. My favorites at that
time were Hot Fudge, Butterscotch, and Mexican Sundaes. Yum!
Shirley Greene Keep, EFA Class of 52
remember many fine events at the hotel, but none so cherished
as our Senior Luncheon for the EFA Class of 1952. Our 50th anniversary
is coming up June 2002. We had a lovely luncheon at the hotel.
I also remember visiting my grandfather Thomas Towner, when
he worked there as a baker, in the hotel kitchen. On one such
occasion, I saw a visiting movie star, Pat O'Brien. That was
a very exciting day for this small town girl. I will always
consider Elmira my "home". Love to all.
Terry T. Williams, SHS Class of 1957
took me to the annual winter baseball banquet at the Mark Twain
Hotel in 1951. I still have that event's program. As an interested
young baseball fan, I sought to get some autographs of the guests.
I saw an old man sitting at a table by himself. I asked him
for his autograph. Nobody else seemed interested in talking
to him. He asked me if I knew who he was. When I said that I
knew him to be Mr. Frisch, he beamed a big smile and signed
his name on my program. Frankie Frisch was the only member of
the Baseball Hall Of Fame there that night! A young pitcher
named Whitey Ford was also there, and I got his autograph, too!
David Taylor, SHS Class of 1960
remember most about the Mark Twain Hotel is our Senior Banquet....my
date was very good, the meal was very good, and I believe the
maitre d' played an important role in helping the evening be
especially good. I think his name was Stanley Rybak.Thanks
for a nice page.
Rose Klein, SHS Class of 1961
many nights in the hotel when I was a little girl as it was
my place of residence during my mother's and father's separation.
My father owned a restaurant on Railroad Ave. I have a green
blanket from the hotel which says, Mark
Twain Hotel, Elmira, New York. My mother,
I believe, has some of the original dishes.
Bonnie Traum DiBello, SHS Class of
1960 - BonTraum1@cs.com
is great. It brings back such nice memories. I use to be so
impressed by just walking into the hotel and up that magnificent
stairway into the lobby. It made you feel special just being
there. I went to a dance there in the ballroom when I was a
freshman at SHS. It was an Easter Dance and I went with Senior
Dick Hartman and double dated with John Thompson and his date.
It is one of my favorite memories from high school.Thanks again
for bringing back good memories of the past and why I still
love Elmira and consider it home.
Jerry Lindsay, SHS Class of 1960 -
my twin brother and I took blind dates to a northside (EFA)
ball at the hotel. We sat down and exchanged the usual
pleasantries, and soon discovered that while I liked to "fast
dance" (jitterbug) and my brother did not, my date didn't
fast dance but his did; so, we excused ourselves, went to the
rest room and returned, sitting with the other's date.
The music started, I grabbed my date, and danced all night.
To this day, I'm convinced that the girls never knew that we
made the switch.
I remember the senior prom the most. I took
the most wonderful girl of the entire four years of high school
- Carole Battisti. We spent most of the week preparing
the ballroom to look like the Champs Elysees - complete with
La Tour Eiffel. I believe that mural remained for some time
in the French classroom. As the party heated up, Carole
and I really got into our jitterbugging, and before we knew
it the whole crowd was circling us cheering us on. My
brother reminded me of that moment nearly every time we got
Those dances were even more special because we
all came from the "southside" and dared to have fun
in the heart of "where it was at" on the north side.
The flower shops did a land office business, and that's when
I learned just what a nosegay was. But just as much a
part of these memories were the times when with our parents,
we would step out of the clamor of shopping and duck into the
glamor of lunch in the Connecticut Yankee Room. I remember peering
out of those small square windows right next to the shoppers
who were still frantically shopping. The time when we
didn't have lunch there it was the dining room in the basement
of Iszards. But that's another whole set of memories.
Over all these memories, I recall the Christmas
decorations in the lobby of the hotel. The curved staircase
leading to the ballroom was draped with garlands and red satin
ribbon. The reception area leading to the ballroom was
always a place for last minute primping before the grand entrance.
I remember one of my friends spending the entire evening bummed
out because his date dropped her orchid corsage while she was
trying to pin it on and accidentally stepped on it - crushed
all the life out of it in a split second. It was not a
pretty picture.Though the physical presence of the hotel has
changed forever, the memories go on.
The word elegance comes to mind when I think of
the Mark Twain Hotel - and it's prominence as a place where
things happened stands out when I remember the annual Arctic
League Christmas drive. Many people whom I knew were scheduled
to make presentations, and I recall being glued to the radio
after church on Sunday afternoons - radio station WENY and WELM
- to hear some of my friends perform.We can be grateful that
this home page has given us the opportunity to keep our memories
alive - for while the Mark Twain may not always be with us,
the memories live on.
Recalling all these things brings to mind many
other thoughts, but I'll leave these for another time. I'll
look forward to others' albums of memories. They will give me
a chance to share the momories with my lovely wife, Harriette.
We still have property in Pine City and do make it back
there occasionally. Best regards to all whose foundations
were formed in and around the best little city in America. Thank
you for developing the site.
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