The Clemens Mantion Burned

The Clemens House, where a relative of Samuel Clemens once lived, burned down in 2017. When it burned, it turned our day dark. The smoke billowed up across the sky and the local media said debris was known to be falling up to a mile away from the house.

The media focused on the asbestos in the house. They focused on the ecological damage such a large fire causes. And they focused on the delinquent landowner who had left the historic landmark in shambles for decades, until it was too late.

I didn't know Samuel Clemens personally. And the most I had done at the house was drive past it. But my wife and I were hurt. It was a beautiful house, close to us, of historic proportions, with strong ties to Samuel Clemens. And no doubt we were butthurt that we'd lost an obscure claim to fame.

At the end of the day, there was ash on the leaves in our backyard, and that just made us feel like dirt.

Two years later, I was mowing my yard and found a two-by-four-inch piece of roofing in my backyard, buried under the grass and dirt, and I thought to myself: "I wonder if this is from the Clemens mantion." I had a piece of history in my hand! I really had a piece of that old house.

Since that building burned, at least three more have burned closer to our house. It probably wasn't Mark Twain's father's second cousin's house's roofing.