Hannibal, Missouri


Hannibal is a city along the Mississippi River in Marion and Ralls counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, the population was 17,312,[6] 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
Official seal of Hannibal, Missouri
Official logo of Hannibal, Missouri
America's Hometown
Location within Marion County (left) and Missouri (right)
Location within Marion County (left) and Missouri (right)
Hannibal is located in Missouri
Location within Missouri
Hannibal is located in the United States
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 39°42′35″N 91°23′38″W / 39.70972°N 91.39389°W / 39.70972; -91.39389
CountryUnited States
CountiesMarion, Ralls
 • TypeCity manager and council
 • MayorMike Dobson (Mayor Pro Tem)
 • City managerLisa Peck
 • Total16.47 sq mi (42.66 km2)
 • Land16.00 sq mi (41.44 km2)
 • Water0.47 sq mi (1.21 km2)
Elevation646 ft (197 m)
 • Total17,108
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,058.5/sq mi (408.7/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code573
FIPS code29-30214[5]
GNIS feature ID2394287[2]
Websitewww.hannibal-mo.gov Edit this at Wikidata

Nestled on the Mississippi River, commerce and traffic has long been an integral part of Hannibal's development, including by river, rail and the interstate/highway system. Today the city is intersected by Interstate 72 and U.S. Routes 24, 36, and 61. Hannibal is approximately 110 miles (180 km) northwest of St. Louis (also bordering the Mississippi), 195 miles (314 km) east-northeast of Kansas City and 194 miles (312 km) miles east of Saint Joseph (both cities on the Missouri River), and approximately 100 miles (160 km) west of Springfield, Illinois.

Hannibal is not the county seat, but it has one of two county courthouses. There is also one in Palmyra, the county seat of Marion County, 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

Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn at the Foot of Cardiff Hill (1926), by Frederick Hibbard

The site of Hannibal was originally inhabited by various cultures of indigenous Native American tribes. Hannibal is home to Osterhout Mounds Park, a preservation of ancient Indian burial mounds.[7]

The river community was the mid-19th-century boyhood home of author Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain, 1835–1910). Twain drew from his childhood settings for his novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884). Numerous historical sites are associated with Mark Twain and the places depicted in his fiction.

Heritage tourism contributes to the Hannibal economy, as the city attracts both American and international tourists. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum marked its 100th anniversary in 2012; it has had visitors from all 50 states and some 60 countries.[8]



After the United States acquired the Louisiana Territory west of the Mississippi in 1803, European-American settlers began to enter the area. Its early European settlements were established by ethnic French colonists, some from Illinois, who largely spoke French and were Roman Catholic in religion.

Hannibal was laid out in 1819 by Moses Bates[9] and named after Hannibal Creek (later Bear Creek).[10] The name is derived from Hannibal, a hero of ancient Carthage (in modern Tunisia).[11]

The city grew slowly, with a population of 30 by 1830. But by 1846, Hannibal was Missouri's third-largest city when the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad was organized by John M. Clemens (Mark Twain's father) and associates.[12] This railway 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.

Construction of railroads to the area and increased steamboats on the Mississippi River had stimulated growth. In 1843 the city had also annexed the town of South Hannibal.[13] Hannibal gained "city" status by 1845.[9] By 1850 it had 2,020 residents.[13]

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the city served as a regional marketing center for livestock and grain, as well as other products produced locally, such as cement and shoes.[14] Cement for the Empire State Building (completed 1931) and Panama Canal was manufactured at the Atlas Portland Cement Company in the nearby unincorporated company town of Ilasco.[15]

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.[16][17]


The Mississippi River at Hannibal

Hannibal is on the west side of the Mississippi River in southeastern Marion County and is situated across the river from East Hannibal, Illinois. The next city upriver is Quincy, Illinois, 17 miles (27 km) to the north, while the next city downriver is Louisiana, Missouri, 25 miles (40 km) to the south.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hannibal has a total area of 16.47 square miles (42.66 km2), of which 16.00 square miles (41.44 km2) are land and 0.47 square miles (1.22 km2), or 2.84%, are water.[1]



Hannibal's climate is hot-summer humid continental (Dfa), with cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers.[18] Three months average below freezing, seven months average above 50 °F, and three months average above 22 °C.

Climate data for Hannibal Water Works, Missouri (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1902–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 77
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 34.6
Daily mean °F (°C) 26.3
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 17.9
Record low °F (°C) −21
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.11
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 8.4 7.8 9.9 11.4 12.7 10.3 8.3 8.0 7.6 9.0 8.4 8.4 110.2
Source: NOAA[19][20]


Historical population
2022 (est.)16,938−2.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[21][4]

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

2020 census


The 2020 United States census[22] counted 17,108 people, 7,053 households, and 4,289 families in Hannibal. The population density was 1,069.2 per square mile (412.8/km2). There were 7,974 housing units at an average density of 498.4 per square mile (192.4/km2). The racial makeup was 84.81% (14,509) white, 7.09% (1,213) black or African-American, 0.39% (66) Native American, 0.76% (130) Asian, 0.05% (9) Pacific Islander, 0.64% (110) from other races, and 6.26% (1,071) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 2.4% (418) of the population.

Of the 7,053 households, 26.9% had children under the age of 18; 43.7% were married couples living together; 31.3% had a female householder with no husband present. Of all households, 31.9% consisted of individuals and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.3 and the average family size was 2.8.

23.5% of the population was under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 24.0% from 25 to 44, 24.3% from 45 to 64, and 18.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.3 years. For every 100 females, the population had 91.1 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older, there were 89.5 males.

The 2016-2020 5-year American Community Survey[23] estimates show that the median household income was $46,504 (with a margin of error of +/- $2,507) and the median family income was $57,740 (+/- $5,451). Males had a median income of $33,537 (+/- $3,375) versus $22,147 (+/- $4,868) for females. The median income for those above 16 years old was $27,776 (+/- $1,949). Approximately, 10.6% of families and 19.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.5% of those under the age of 18 and 11.7% of those ages 65 or over.

2010 census


At the 2010 census, there were 17,916 people, 7,117 households, and 4,400 families living 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%.[24]

Of the 7,117 households, 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 households were one person and 13% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.96.

The age distribution was 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% 65 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[5] of 2000, there were 17,757 people, 7,017 households, and 4,554 families living in the city. The population density was 1,215.3 inhabitants per square mile (469.2/km2). There were 7,886 housing units at an average density of 539.7 per square mile (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 self-identification in Census 2000.

Of the 7,017 households 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 households were one person 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.

The age distribution was 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 household income was $29,892 and the median family income 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.



A thriving artist community has developed because of its central location between the East and West coasts, and affordable and stable real estate prices.[25]

The Underwood Company built the General Mills plant here because its founder appreciated Mark Twain's writing and wanted to help his hometown.[26]

Major employers include the Hannibal Regional Hospital and Hannibal Clinic. Major manufacturers include BASF Chemical Corporation (formally American Cyanamid), General Mills, and Watlow Electric Manufacturing Co. The Swiss Colony maintains a data call center in Hannibal.[27]

Because Hannibal is a Missouri Certified Local Government, residents, and business owners have access to federal and state tax credits, grants, and other funding sources.[28]

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.[29]



Hannibal has a Municipal Home Rule 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.[30]

Hannibal-LaGrange University is a four-year, Christian liberal arts university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.[3] Founded in 1858 in LaGrange, Missouri, the campus moved downriver to Hannibal in 1928, merging with then Hannibal College to form Hannibal-LaGrange College. Dr. Robert Matz was elected the 18th president of Hannibal-LaGrange University in 2022.

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's lending library, the Hannibal Free Public Library, was the first free public library in the state of Missouri.[31][32]



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 interchange 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. The Chicago–Kansas City Expressway links Hannibal from Kansas City to Chicago, Illinois. 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 West Quincy, Missouri, and Burlington, Iowa, and south to St. Louis. Norfolk Southern (NS) tracks lead west to Kansas City and east to Springfield and Decatur, Illinois.[33]

Notable people



Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse
  • Cameron Cave (part of the Mark Twain Cave complex)
  • Hannibal Rocks Offroad Park
  • Jim's Journey: The Huck Finn Freedom Center[36]
  • John Garth's Woodside Mansion[37]
  • Lover's Leap - Cliffside overlooking the Mississippi River and downtown Hannibal. The name comes from the local legend of two Native American lovers who were forbidden by their respective tribes to marry each other. Warriors were sent to kill the lovers, but the lovers, finding themselves cornered at the top of the cliff, embraced each other and threw themselves off the cliff to their deaths.
  • Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
  • 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[38]
  • 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 with over 3 miles of trails.
  • Rockcliffe Mansion - Around the start of the 20th-century mansion.
  • Sawyer's Creek Fun Park - Amusement complex on the riverfront.
  • Tom & Becky Appearances - Local 7th grade 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. ^ a b "2023 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Missouri". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 22, 2024.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Hannibal, Missouri
  3. ^ "P1. Race – Hannibal city, Missouri: 2020 DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved March 22, 2024.
  4. ^ a b "City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2022 — Incorporated Places". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved March 22, 2024.
  5. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  7. ^ "Indian Mounds Park | Hannibal Parks and Recreation". February 6, 2019.
  8. ^ Mark Twain Museum, official website
  9. ^ a b "Hannibal History". Hannibal Convention & Visitors Bureau. Archived from the original on January 6, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  10. ^ Eaton, David Wolfe (1916). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. pp. 193.
  11. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 149.
  12. ^ "The Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad - Abandoned Rails". www.abandonedrails.com.
  13. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hannibal (Missouri)" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  14. ^ "Hannibal, MO - Historic & Literary Resources". www.hanmo.com.
  15. ^ "Ilasco". Archived from the original on June 19, 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  16. ^ "Mark Twain CD" Archived 2012-08-18 at the Wayback Machine, Mark Twain Museum
  17. ^ [1], In Rotation blog, November 2011, Los Angeles Times
  18. ^ "Hannibal climate: Average Temperature, weather by month, Hannibal weather averages - Climate-Data.org". en.climate-data.org. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  19. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved July 22, 2021.
  20. ^ "Station: Hannibal WTR WKS, MO". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved July 22, 2021.
  21. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  22. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 17, 2023.
  23. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 17, 2023.
  24. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  25. ^ "Hannibal, Missouri: Art Abounds in Twain's Hometown". NPR. August 30, 2012.
  26. ^ [2] Archived 2014-01-17 at the Wayback Machine, Develop Hannibal website
  27. ^ "Home - Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce, MO". www.hannibalchamber.org.
  28. ^ "Certified Local Government Program - MO State Historic Preservation - DNR". Archived from the original on September 11, 2012. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
  29. ^ "2016 was a great year for tourism in Hannibal", Hannibal Courier-Post
  30. ^ "Hannibal60". www.hannibal.k12.mo.us.
  31. ^ "Missouri Public Libraries". PublicLibraries.com. Archived from the original on June 10, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  32. ^ "about the library". hannibal.lib.mo.us. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  33. ^ "MoDOT Freight Railroad Map" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 10, 2014. Retrieved December 23, 2008.
  34. ^ Reichler, Joseph L., ed. (1979) [1969]. The Baseball Encyclopedia (4th ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing. ISBN 0-02-578970-8.
  35. ^ "Cotton Fitzsimmons". Basketball Reference. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  36. ^ "Jim's Journey | Hannibal, MO". Jim's Journey.
  37. ^ "Ralls County Historical" (PDF).
  38. ^ "Mark Twain Riverboat | Riverboat Cruises in Hannibal, Missouri". Mark Twain Riverboat.

Further reading

  • Paul A. Shackel, "America's home town: fiction, Mark Twain, and the re‐creation of Hannibal, Missouri." International Journal of Heritage Studies 17.3 (2011): 197-213. online