Those huffing and puffing after climbing the steps up to the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse on Cardiff Hill will now have something to read as they catch their breath before beginning their descent. The Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department recently installed a sign/storyboard about the structure near the lighthouse.
“I encourage people to take a walk up there. It’s beautiful scenery all year round once you get up there, and you’ll learn something,” said Mary Lynne Richards, assistant supervisor for promotion and planning at the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department.
The storyboard tells the history of the lighthouse and features five pictures of the structure through the years.
The seed for providing information about the lighthouse atop Cardiff Hill took root last September after Richards encountered a visitor on the steps leading to the lighthouse.
“He started asking me about it,” recalls Richards. “I was trying to remember some information to tell him and he said, ‘Never mind. I’m sure there’s something up there that tells me about it.’ I thought, ‘No, there’s not.’”
Richards soon learned that visitors to the community frequently want to learn about the lighthouse.
“I talked to the (Mark Twain) museum and tourism officials about it and they’re often asked about the lighthouse. They really thought there was a need for it also,” she said.
Andy Dorian, director of the Parks & Recreation Department, estimates that “thousands of people visit the lighthouse each year.”
Information and photos for the sign were provided by Steve Chou, the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum, the Hannibal History Museum and The Hannibal Courier-Post.
The sign/storyboard, which was created by Park Place Signs, cost around $1,500, according to Richards.
There is a possibility that more informational signs will be created for other Parks Department properties.
“We had thought about doing some other ones. We’re still kicking it around,” said Richards. “The lighthouse really lent itself because there is so much history.”