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Missouri (MO): State Guide and Fun Facts

When did Missouri become a state?
August 10, 1821

Who were the first Europeans in Missouri?
Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette

First Native American settlers:
Chickasaw, Illini, Ioway, Missouri, Osage, Otoe and Quapaw tribes

Square Miles:

US Rank:

State Flower:

State Bird:

State Motto:
“Salus populi suprema lex esto” Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law

Capital City

Jefferson City
Jefferson City, Missouri was established as the capital of Missouri in 1821, when it gained statehood. The city was named after Thomas Jefferson. The area remained fairly unoccupied for a number of years, but in 1839 it was incorporated as a city. It began to slowly grow after the American Civil War, however Jefferson City remains one of the country’s smallest capitals, with a population of only 40.771 (2008 census estimate).
The economy is centered around the government. Many residents are employed with the Missouri Department of Corrections, public schools, public hospitals and the United States Postal Service.


What is Missouri famous for?

1. Birthplace of Mark Twain
Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Clemens, was born in November 1835 in Florida, Missouri to a country merchant and housewife. He lived in the town of Florida until 1839, when the family moved to Hannibal, Missouri. It was here that Twain later drew on his memories for his Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He left for New York City when he turned 18, and worked there as well as in Philadelphia, St. Louis and Cincinnati before returning to Missouri four years later. Twain went on to become a steamboat captain, and more notably an author of several American classic novels.

2. St. Louis Arch
The Gateway Arch, also known as the St. Louis Arch (for its location in St. Louis Missouri) was built from 1963 until 1965. The arch follows the shape of a catenary curve, a mathematically figured form that is the exactly the shape that a chain or a rope takes when it is held at each end (as if the arch was upside-down). Interestingly, the arch was built in two pieces, beginning at each base. The spot at which they met needed to be built to 1/64 of an inch of precision in order to ensure that the two sides would perfectly meet in the middle. The construction and surveying companies worked on several parts of the arch at nighttime to avoid expansion of the metal due to heat from the sun.
The arch is the tallest national monument in the United States, and reminds visitors each year about the history of Missouri as a gateway to the western frontier.

3. Birthplace of outlaw Jesse James
Jesse James was born in Clay County Missouri in 1847, the son of a hemp farmer and minister. His father died when he was only three, and James was raised by his mother and stepfather, Dr. Reuben Samuel. During the Civil War, Jesse and his brother, Frank, acted out heinous crimes against the Union soldiers. After the war, the brothers formed a gang that made a habit of robbing banks. He was killed in 182 by a member of his own gang at his home in St. Joseph Missouri. Robert Ford wished to collect the headhunter reward on Jesse that federal authorities had put in place.

What is Missouri’s economy?

1. Agriculture
The primary drivers of the agriculture industry in Missouri are beef cattle and soybeans. Other livestock, raised for meat or byproducts, include hogs, turkeys, chickens, sheep and cows for dairy products. Additional primary crops grown in Missouri include corn, grain, cotton, wheat, apples, peaches, watermelon and potatoes.

2. Manufacturing
The manufacturing industry in Missouri owes most of its revenue to the production of transportation equipment such as airplanes, barges, railroad cars, trucks and buses. Food processing plants responsible for the production and packaging of dairy products and beer are also leaders in the generation of revenue.

3. Services
The services industry in Missouri includes private health care companies, hotels, small businesses and wholesale trade. Wholesale trade includes the sale of farm equipment, cars and food to the retail sector. Consequently the retail sector is also important to the services industry. Financial firms and real estate agencies contribute a substantial share to the state’s GDP as well.


Missouri Historical Landmarks

1. Wainwright Building
The Wainwright Building was constructed in 1891, designed by Louis Sullivan and his business partner Dankmar Adler. The building was one of the tallest that the world had seen at the time it was built, and it was one of the first times that steel had been used as the structural skeleton, while the outer façade was not the primary load bearer. Sullivan designed a few buildings that resemble the Wainwright Building. They all included certain characteristics, such as the inclusion of a base-middle-attic design. Sullivan wished to include a strong sense of verticality, which he articulated with the thin bands between the windows that draw the eye upward.

2. Anheuser-Busch Brewery
The largest brewery in the United States has a number of breweries around the country, but the largest of these, and the site of its headquarters, is in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1860, the company was founded by Eberhard Anheuser, an immigrant who knew the trade of soap making and did not know much about beer brewing. Adolphus Busch joined his father’s company nine years after it was begun, and added certain techniques to the process, and in 1876, the two began to ship the first batches of Budweiser beer. Jumping forward, by the mid-20th century, the brewery had become the largest in the nation. Today it remains as such, operating 15 breweries internationally and 12 breweries domestically.

The St. Louis location is the oldest, and in 1966 it was designated as a National Historic Landmark District.

3. Liberty Memorial
Located in Kansas City, Missouri, the Liberty Memorial was erected to commemorate and remember those killed in World War I. In addition to serving as a memorial icon, the area houses a National World War I Museum.
The site began construction in 1921 and was officially dedicated in 1926 by President Calvin Coolidge.

The site and the focal obelisk were designed by Harold Van Buren Magonigle after a design competition was held for the project and his design was selected as the winner.

The monument and surrounding area of Penn Valley Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places and it was designated a National Historic Landmark on the same day, September 20, 2006.