Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal is a city in Marion and Ralls counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. Interstate 72 and U.S. Routes 24, 36, and 61 intersect in the city, which is located along the Mississippi River across from East Hannibal, Illinois. Hannibal is approximately 210 miles (340 km) east of Kansas City, 100 miles (160 km) northwest of St. Louis, and approximately 100 miles (160 km) west of Springfield, Illinois. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 17,606, making it the largest city in Marion County. The bulk of the city is in Marion County, with a tiny sliver in the south extending into Ralls County.

Hannibal, Missouri
Mark Twain's boyhood home in Hannibal
America's Hometown
Location within Marion County (left) and Missouri (right)
Coordinates: 39°42′15″N 91°22′39″W
CountryUnited States
CountiesMarion, Ralls
  TypeCity manager and council
  MayorJames Hark
  City managerJeff LaGarce
  Total16.21 sq mi (41.98 km2)
  Land15.74 sq mi (40.77 km2)
  Water0.47 sq mi (1.22 km2)
502 ft (153 m)
  Density1,100/sq mi (430/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
  Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code573
FIPS code29-30214[4]
GNIS feature ID0735640[5]

Hannibal is not the county seat, but it has one of two county courthouses. There is also one in Palmyra, the county seat, which is located more centrally in the county. Hannibal is the principal city of the Hannibal, Missouri micropolitan area, which consists of both Marion and Ralls counties.

History and landmarks

The site of Hannibal was long occupied by various cultures of indigenous Native American tribes.

The river community is best known as the 19th-century boyhood home of author Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain). The settings of Twain's novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are inspired by this town. Numerous historical sites are associated with Mark Twain and places depicted in his fiction.

Hannibal draws both American and international tourists. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum marked its 100th anniversary in 2012 and has had visitors from all 50 states and some 60 countries.[6] Most Hannibal residents enjoy the visitors, and the town at large benefits from tourism revenue.[7]

After the Louisiana Territory was acquired by the United States in 1803, European-American settlers began to enter the area. The town was laid out in 1819 by Moses Bates[8] and named after Hannibal Creek (now known as Bear Creek).[9] The name is ultimately derived from the hero of ancient Carthage in actual Tunisia, Hannibal.[10] Although the city initially grew slowly, with a population of 30 by 1830, its access to the Mississippi River and railroad transportation fueled growth to 2,020 by 1850. It annexed the town of South Hannibal in 1843.[11] Hannibal gained "city" status by 1845.[8]

Hannibal was Missouri's third-largest city when the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad was organized in 1846 by John M. Clemens (Mark Twain's father) and associates.[12] It was built to connect to St. Joseph, Missouri in the west, then the state's second-largest city. This railroad was the westernmost line before the Transcontinental Railroad was constructed. It transported mail for delivery to the first outpost of the Pony Express.

The city has since served as a regional marketing center for livestock and grain as well as other products produced locally, such as cement and shoes.[13] Cement for the Empire State Building and Panama Canal was manufactured at the Atlas Portland Cement Company in the nearby unincorporated company town of Ilasco.[14]

The Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse was constructed in 1933 as a public works project under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It has been lit on ceremonial occasions at three separate times by Presidents Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Bill Clinton. Rockcliffe Mansion, a private house on a knoll in Hannibal, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 2011, the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum released Mark Twain: Words & Music, a CD featuring entertainers who recount Mark Twain's life in spoken word and song. Several songs were written especially for the project and refer to Hannibal, including "Huck Finn Blues" by Brad Paisley and "Run Mississippi" by Rhonda Vincent. Other artists include Jimmy Buffett as Huckleberry Finn, Clint Eastwood as Twain, and Garrison Keillor as the narrator of the project.[15][16]


Hannibal is next to the Mississippi River and borders East Hannibal, Illinois. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.21 square miles (41.98 km2), of which 15.74 square miles (40.77 km2) is land and 0.47 square miles (1.22 km2) is water.[1]


Hannibal's climate is humid continental, with cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers.

Climate data for Hannibal, MO
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 75
Average high °F (°C) 33
Average low °F (°C) 16
Record low °F (°C) −21
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.75
Average snowfall inches (cm) 6.9
Source: [17]


Historical population
Est. 201817,533[3]−2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[18]

The Hannibal Micropolitan Statistical Area is composed of Marion and Ralls counties.

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 17,916 people, 7,117 households, and 4,400 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,138.2 inhabitants per square mile (439.5/km2). There were 8,021 housing units at an average density of 509.6 per square mile (196.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.8% White, 7.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.

There were 7,117 households of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.2% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city, the population was spread out with 23.5% of residents were under the age of 18, 11.2% between the ages of 18 and 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 26% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.3 years. The gender makeup of the city was 47.5% male and 52.5% female.

2000 census

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 17,757 people, 7,017 households, and 4,554 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,215.3 people per square mile (469.3/km²). There were 7,886 housing units at an average density of 539.7/sq mi (208.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.61% White, 6.57% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 1.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.13% of the population. 25.9% were of American, 23.8% German, 10.9% Irish and 10.0% English ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 7,017 households out of which 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.0% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city, the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,892, and the median income for a family was $37,264. Males had a median income of $30,677 versus $20,828 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,902. About 11.3% of families and 14.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.2% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.


Hannibal's business community emphasizes its low taxes, local resources, and its close proximity to major highways and cities.

A thriving artist community has developed here because of its central location between the East and West coasts, and affordable and stable real estate prices.[19]

The Underwood Company built the General Mills plant here because its founder appreciated Mark Twain's writing and wanted to help his hometown. Since then, businesses have enjoyed the many benefits afforded by the community.[20]

Major employers include the Hannibal Regional Hospital and Hannibal Clinic account. Major manufacturers include BASF Chemical Corporation (Formally American Cyanamid), General Mills and Watlow Electric Manufacturing Company. The Swiss Colony maintains a data call center in Hannibal.[21]

Because Hannibal is a Certified Local Government, residents and business owners have access to federal and state tax credits, grants, and other funding sources.[22]

Tourism is a major part of Hannibal's economy, in large part because Samuel Clemens lived there as a boy and immortalized the town under his pen name, Mark Twain. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum and Mark Twain Cave are two of the city's major attractions.[23]


Hannibal has a Home Rule Charter form of government. Public services include police, fire, parks and recreation, public works, streets, inspections, tourism, library and airport. There is a municipal court, and the Marion County Courthouse is located in Hannibal. A second county courthouse is located in the county seat in Palmyra.


The view from Lover's Leap of Hannibal and the Mississippi River

Hannibal High School was founded in 1896. This public high school is part of the Hannibal School District #60, with K-12 grades serving Hannibal and surrounding areas. It is located at 4500 McMasters Ave. 63401.[24]

Hannibal-LaGrange University is a four-year, Christian liberal arts university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission; it is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Founded in 1858 in LaGrange, Missouri, the campus moved downriver to Hannibal in 1928. Dr. Anthony Allen was elected the 17th president of Hannibal-LaGrange University in 2012.

Moberly Area Community College (MACC-Hannibal Area Higher Education Center) is a two-year community college established in 1999. The MACC-Hannibal Campus is located on Shinn Lane near the hospital.

Hannibal has a lending library, the Hannibal Free Public Library.[25]


The city is served by the Hannibal Courier-Post newspaper, printed daily on Tuesday through Saturday. KHQA is a television station licensed to Hannibal and located in Quincy, Illinois. Radio stations licensed to Hannibal include KGRC 92.9 FM, KHBL 96.9 FM, KHMO 1070 AM, and KJIR 91.7 FM.


Interstate 72 was extended into Hannibal in 2000 from Illinois across the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge. Interstate 72 extends west to the intersection with U.S. Route 61. Future plans call for extending Interstate 72 west along U.S. Route 36 to Cameron, Missouri. This will give Hannibal an east-west link connecting Kansas City to Springfield. U.S. Route 61 goes from St. Louis in the south to St. Paul, Minnesota; it is known as the Avenue of the Saints corridor.

Hannibal Regional Airport (formerly Hannibal Municipal Airport) was renamed in 2003 as William P. Lear Field, in honor of Lear. He grew up in Hannibal and invented the Lear Jet. The airport is located 4 miles (6.4 km) west of the southern area and has one runway 4,400 feet (1,300 m) x 100 feet (30 m).

Freight railroad tracks link Hannibal in all directions: Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) tracks lead north to the Quad Cities and south to St. Louis. Norfolk Southern (NS) tracks lead west to Kansas City and east to Springfield.[26]

Notable people

Fictional characters


  • Jim's Journey: The Huck Finn Freedom Center[29]
  • Cameron Cave
  • Hannibal Hoots - Prospect League baseball team. Plays at historic renovated Clemens Field downtown. Summer only. http://www.hannibalhoots.com/view/hannibalhoots
  • Hannibal Rocks Offroad Park
  • John Garth's Woodside Mansion[30]
  • Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum Properties
  • Mark Twain Cave - The cave that inspired Twain's tale of a lost Tom & Becky.
  • Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse - The only lighthouse built inland features a panoramic view of Hannibal and the Mississippi River. 244 steps to the top.
  • Mark Twain Riverboat[31]
  • Molly Brown Birthplace & Museum - Home of RMS Titanic survivor.
  • Riverview Park - 465 acres (1.88 km2) of wooded land and scenic views of the Riverfront.
  • Rockcliffe Mansion - Around the start of the 20th century mansion.
  • Sawyer's Creek Fun Park - Amusement complex on the riverfront.
  • Lover's Leap
  • Tom & Becky Appearances - Local children are chosen to portray the famous literary couple in local appearances and in downtown Hannibal every Saturday and Sunday from March to October.
  • Tom Sawyer Days - Fence painting contest, frog jumping contest, mud volleyball, local arts and crafts and Fourth of July fireworks display from Lover's Leap.


  1. "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  2. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  3. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  4. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  6. Mark Twain Museum, official website
  7. This is reported to be the third major source of city revenue. Agriculture and industry are reported as first and second, respectively.
  8. "Hannibal History". Hannibal Convention & Visitors Bureau. Retrieved 2015-01-06.
  9. Eaton, David Wolfe (1916). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. p. 193.
  10. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 149.
  11. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hannibal (Missouri)" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  12. "The Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad - Abandoned Rails". www.abandonedrails.com.
  13. "Hannibal, MO - Historic & Literary Resources". www.hanmo.com.
  14. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-19. Retrieved 2010-06-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. "Mark Twain CD" Archived 2012-08-18 at the Wayback Machine, Mark Twain Museum
  16. , In Rotation blog, November 2011, Los Angeles Times
  17. "Intellicast | Weather Underground". www.wunderground.com.
  18. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  19. "Hannibal, Missouri: Art Abounds in Twain's Hometown", NPR
  20. Archived 2014-01-17 at the Wayback Machine, Develop Hannibal website
  21. "Home - Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce, MO". www.hannibalchamber.org.
  22. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2012-12-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. "2016 was a great year for tourism in Hannibal", Hannibal Courier-Post
  24. "Hannibal60". www.hannibal.k12.mo.us.
  25. "Missouri Public Libraries". PublicLibraries.com. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  26. "MoDOT Freight Railroad Map" (PDF).
  27. Reichler, Joseph L., ed. (1979) [1969]. The Baseball Encyclopedia (4th ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing. ISBN 0-02-578970-8.
  28. "Cotton Fitzsimmons". Basketball Reference. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  29. "Jim's Journey | Hannibal, MO". Jim's Journey.
  30. "Ralls County Historical" (PDF).
  31. "Mark Twain Riverboat | Riverboat Cruises in Hannibal, Missouri". Mark Twain Riverboat.
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