103 Interesting Facts about Missouri

Are you ready to take an adventure to a place called Missouri? It’s a state right in the heart of the United States, and it’s filled with lots of interesting things to learn and discover. So, let’s put on our explorer hats and find out some cool facts about Missouri!

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First up, did you know Missouri is known as the “Show-Me State”? People say that’s because folks from Missouri like to be shown things before they believe them. It’s a fun nickname that tells us something about the character and history of the state and its people.

Missouri is also famous for its big, beautiful Gateway Arch in St. Louis. This giant arch is like a door to the west, and it’s so tall, you can see it from miles away! It’s known as the “Gateway to the West” because it reminds us of the time when adventurers and explorers passed through Missouri on their way to explore and settle in the western part of the country.

And here’s a fun fact about Missouri for you: Missouri loves ice cream! In fact, the very first ice cream cone was introduced at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904. Just imagine walking around exploring all the cool things at the fair and then getting to try an ice cream cone for the very first time!

Are you excited to learn more amazing facts about Missouri? From its interesting nickname to its delicious contribution to the world of ice cream, there’s so much to explore about this state. Let’s dive in and discover all the wonderful facts Missouri has to offer!

Do you love learning about the States? Check out our Facts about Arizona and our Facts about Ohio.

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Facts about Missouri

  1. Blue Springs, Missouri is home to the world’s shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade, which only goes across the street. 
  2. Missouri is home to the National Churchill Museum, commemorating Winston Churchill’s famous “Iron Curtain” speech.
  3. Kansas City has more barbeque restaurants per capita than any other US city.
  4. Kansas City minors technically aren’t allowed to purchase cap pistols, while they can buy shotguns. 
  5.  The World Chess Hall of Fame is located in St. Louis, showcasing the history and achievements of chess players worldwide.
  6. Human settlement has been recorded in the region for at least 12,000 years ago.
  7. At 2,000 feet tall, weighing in at one million pounds, Rohn Tower of KMOS-TV in Syracuse, Missouri is one of the tallest structures in the world. To put it in perspective, the tallest building in the world is Burj Khalifa at 2,722 feet, while the Empire State Building stretches to only 1,454 feet. 
  8. Harry S. Truman was the only United States president who was born in Missouri.
  9. Many states in the U.S. have a large number of caves, but Missouri sets itself apart from the rest. Missouri has over 7000 caves in its territory thanks to its porous limestone, which facilitates their formation. Missouri is also called the “Cave State”
  10. Next time you want to give beer to an elephant, make sure you aren’t in Natchez, Missouri. It’s illegal there. 
  11. The state has a strong tradition of rodeos and hosts the “Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association Finals” annually.
  12. Jazz legend Charlie Parker’s first gig was in The Country Club Plaza, where the restaurant Fogo De Chao is now located.  
  13. Missouri gets its name from a tribe of Sioux Indians and means ‘people with wooden canoes‘.   
  14. At 630 feet tall, the Gateway Arch is the tallest man-made national monument in America. It’s also the world’s tallest arch. The Gateway Arch can be found in St. Louis, MO.
  15. The Gateway Arch’s curved and sleek stainless steel exterior reflects its significance as the “Gateway to the West.” 
  16. A peanut butter-banana pie sold for $3,100 in Rich Hill, Missouri, which is impressive, but still far from the most expensive pie ever sold, a meat pie in England for around $14,000. 
  17. The “Great Forest Park Balloon Race” in St. Louis is one of the largest hot air balloon races in the United States.
  18. Between December 16, 1811, and late April 1812, over two thousand earthquake tremors occurred in the Mississippi River valley. During this period, three of the strongest earthquakes (between 7.5 and 8.8 on today’s Richter Scale) in U.S. history hit Missouri near New Madrid. The earthquake caused a so-called fluvial tsunami in the Mississippi River, actually making the river run backward for several hours.
  19. Iced tea was invented at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, when Richard Blechyden, served tea with ice for the first time.
  20. Branson, Missouri is home to the world’s largest rooster stretching 43 feet into the sky outside of the Great American Steak and Chicken House. He regularly dons an American flag vest. 
  1. The state has a strong tradition of fiddle music, with the Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers Championship held annually.
  2. Hampshire Pet Products in Joplin, Missouri set the record for the largest dog biscuit ever created. 
  3. Red’s Giant Hamburg dates back to 1947, and it earns credit as being the first fast-food restaurant to have a drive-thru window. Missourians still flock to Red’s Giant Hamburg in Springfield for a delicious burger and a side of nostalgia.
  4. The Civil War officially ended in 1865 and throughout the rest of the 1800s and into the early 1900s Missouri’s population continued to grow. In 1900 the state’s population was 3,106,665.
  5. If you want to get married underground, head to the Bridal Cave in Camdenton, Missouri. With over 2,000 weddings held there since 1949, it’s the most popular underground venue to tie the knot.
  6.  The state’s official aquatic animal is the paddlefish, a prehistoric fish species found in the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
  7. Missouri has over 10,000 farms, which occupy over 66% of the state’s total land area.
  8. Anheuser-Busch is the largest beer production company in the world. its largest production plant is in St. Louis. This factory is also one of the oldest. It’s been open since the 1850s. It’s considered the company’s flagship plant. The factory isn’t only open for production but also offers behind-the-scenes tours.
  9. Missouri became a state on August 10, 1821.
  10. Kansas City is just behind Rome in total number of fountains, with over 200 fountains in the city. It’s even sometimes nicknamed “The City of Fountains.”
  11. Kidnapping a white squirrel from Marionville, Missouri will land you a $500 fine. 
  12. The state is known for its vibrant fall festivals, such as the Apple Butter Festival in Kimmswick and the Applefest in Versailles.
  13. The Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City is a distinguished government building known for its unique domed roof, a rarity among state capitols in the United States. Completed in 1917, this architectural masterpiece combines Beaux-Arts and Corinthian-style elements. The majestic dome, with the bronze statue “The Ceres” atop it, dominates the city’s skyline. 
  14. The state is sometimes called “the Mother of the West.”
  15. Missouri contains over 7,300 caves, second only to Tennessee. There was even a cave restaurant in Richland, Missouri (recently closed).
  16. Missouri is the home of sliced bread.
  17. In Missouri, if you’re under the age of 21 and are caught taking out the trash containing a single alcoholic beverage container, you can be charged with illegal possession.
  18. There’s a park filled with giant Precious Moments statues in Carthage, Missouri, complete with a chapel that was inspired by the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. 
  19. Missouri is home to the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, showcasing a vast collection of antique toys and miniatures.
  20. Missouri has a diversified economy with major industries in aerospace, transportation equipment, foods, chemicals, printing, the manufacture of electrical equipment, and beer production. 
  1. Ever since the 1400s and earlier, inventors have attempted to figure out ways to let people float through the air like a bird. It wasn’t until 1912 that the first successful parachute jump from an airplane occurred. A U.S. Army captain made the leap over Jefferson City and landed safe and sound.
  2. It’s unlawful to frighten a baby in Missouri.
  3. The word “Missouri” often has been said to mean “muddy water” but the Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology has said it means “town of the large canoes“.  
  4. The Missouri State Penitentiary, located in Jefferson City, operated from 1836 to 2004 and earned the reputation as the “Bloodiest 47 Acres in America.” 
  5. Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to set foot on the land in Missouri in 1673 while traveling down the Mississippi River.
  6. Missouri has the largest beer-producing plant in the country as it houses the maker of Budweiser beer–the Anheuser-Busch.
  7. The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the United States and features extensive collections of plants and flowers.
  8. Missouri hosted the first Olympics in the United States. The honor to host the first Olympics in America was originally given to Chicago. However, the games were ultimately held in St. Louis during the summer of 1904.
  9. Missouri is located in the midwestern United States and it shares borders with eight different states. This is unique because no other U.S. state borders more than eight states.
  10. Throwing hard objects by hand is a violation of the law in Missouri.
  11. The Missouri state motto is “salus populi suprema lex esto.” The phrase is Latin for “the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.” It was made the official state motto in 1822 and can be found on the Missouri seal and coat of arms.
  12. “Futurama” fans should head to Dittmer to take a picture with a giant replica of Bender. His head is a huge 55-gallon oil drum, to help put his actual size in perspective. 
  13. The state’s official dinosaur is the Hypsibema Missourians, commonly known as the “Missouri dinosaur.”
  14. French people from Canada founded the first permanent European settlement in Missouri around 1750, called Sainte Genevieve.
  15. The most powerful earthquake to strike the United States occurred in 1811 and was centered in New Madrid, Missouri. The quake shook more than one million square miles and was felt as far as 1,000 miles away.
  16. The mule holds a special place in Missouri as the state’s official animal. 
  17. Missouri has just half a dozen area codes.
  18. The climate of Missouri is humid continental and as such it has cold winters and hot, humid summers.
  19. Bachelors take note, Kansas City law has you paying an annual tax of one dollar for being a single male between the ages of 21 and 50.
  20. Taum Sauk Mountain is the highest point in the state. The mountain’s peak is 1,770 feet above sea level. Luckily, the hike to get to that point is an easy one, so all sorts of hikers can make the trek.
  1. In 1852, German American George Schneider opened the Bavarian Brewery in St. Louis, which would later be purchased by pharmacist Eberhard Anheuser. Adolphus Busch would later marry Anheuser’s daughter and get involved in the company, hence the name “Anheuser Busch”.
  2. Missouri is home to four Nobel prize winners: Jack Kilby (Physics, 2000), Roger D. Kornberg (Chemistry, 2006), T.S. Eliot (Literature, 1948) and Steven Chu (Physics, 1997).
  3. The 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, brought forth several beloved treats that have since become culinary icons. Among them were cotton candy, iced tea, Dr. Pepper, and the waffle cone. 
  4. Dred Scott (a slave) sued the state for his freedom in 1846. He ended up losing, but his case received national attention and fueled the debate over slavery.
  5. A mail delivery system called the “Pony Express” existed between April 1860 and October 1861. The system used nearly 200 relief stations across what is now Missouri and California. Lone horsemen were employed to carry the mail and switch the shipment between the stations.
  6. With nearly 70 thousand square miles within its borders, Missouri is the 18th largest state in the United States. 
  7. The first monster truck came from Hazelwood, Missouri, named “Bigfoot.” it started a trend leading to the popularity it still has today. 
  8. Valentine Tapley of Pike County, Missouri, made a strange commitment during Abraham Lincoln’s presidential campaign: he vowed not to shave again if Lincoln won the election. He stayed true to his word and kept his beard untrimmed. After years of growing untouched, Tapley’s facial hair had grown an astounding twelve feet and six inches in length. 
  9. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Missouri and much of the Midwest transformed from rural to semi-industrialized, but this boom declined in the 1960s and 70s.
  10. The “Missouri Gazette”, the first newspaper in Missouri, was founded in Missouri in 1808 by Joseph Charles.
  11. Missouri’s name comes from the Sioux language. Missouri means “wooden canoe people” or “he of the big canoe.” The name likely derives from the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers, which both run through the state.
  12. On March 24, 2020, police shot and killed a white supremacist who was trying to ignite a bomb at a hospital in Kansas City, because it was treating COVID-19 patients.
  13. Big Springs, Missouri is one of the largest springs in not only the U.S. but the world. The spring has an average flow of 470 cubic feet of water per second. 
  14. America’s first daytime bank robbery during peacetime happened in Liberty, Missouri, on February 13, 1866. Jesse and Frank James’ gang was credited with it.
  15. Missouri Day is an official state holiday observed on January 4th each year to commemorate the time when Missouri joined the Union in 1821. On this day, many activities and events throughout the state allow citizens and visitors to recognize Missouri’s past, customs, and importance within the U.S. It is a great opportunity for people to pay tribute to and appreciate their state’s legacy.
  16. Hannibal, Missouri, is the hometown of author Mark Twain and is the inspiration for the fictional town of St. Petersburg in “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”
  17. Missouri is home to the American Jazz Museum.
  18. The first great mastodon found in the world, and probably the largest one, now in the British Museum, was reconstructed from bones found near Kimmswick, MO in the early 1800s.
  19. Why is Kansas City not in Kansas? Well, the city is actually split between Missouri and Kansas. At the time it was first named, the state of Kansas didn’t exist yet, but it grew west from this city.
  20. Missouri is one of the leading producers of transportation equipment.
  1. The Missouri state bird also gets the honor of being considered a symbol of happiness. The eastern bluebird is often considered a joyful symbol.
  2. The first European to set foot on the territory that is now Missouri was Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto, in 1541. 
  3. Missourians are often called some of the friendliest people in the U.S.
  4. The University of Missouri is the first college in the world to grant a journalism degree. It opened on September 14, 1908.
  5. Missouri is one of the states that contributed the most soldiers to the U.S. Civil War. Missouri was a border state during the war, so it contributed troops to both sides.
  6. Missouri’s oldest community, Saint Genevieve, was founded as early as 1735.
  7. Other Missouri nicknames include “The Lead State”, “The Bullion State”, “The Ozark State”, “The Mother of the West”, “The Iron Mountain State”, “The Pennsylvania of the West”, and “The Cave State”.
  8. Missouri is a leading lead-producing state. The deposit of the metal fostered the first European settlement in the state in about 1750.
  9. When Saint Louis University opened in the 1800s, it allowed students in the Midwest to get a prestigious education without having to go to the East Coast. This reputation has kept the school open for over 200 years.
  10. There are no UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Missouri, but the Cahokia Mounds UNESCO site is just across the Mississippi from St. Louis in Illinois.
  11. The first parachute jump from a plane was made at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis on March 1, 1912.
  12. The Missouri state tree is the flowering dogwood. 
  13. Kansas City, Missouri, is home to more than 200 fountains. The city is only behind Rome in the total number of fountains. It is also nicknamed “the City of Fountains”. Other nicknames of Kansas City include “Heart of America” and “America’s Creative Crossroads”.
  14. A male bison can weigh over 2000 pounds and grow to 6 feet in height. Bison are grazing mammals, so they were primarily found on the great plains. Their populations have dwindled with time, but they’re still found in Missouri.
  15. French fur traders settled in St. Louis, Missouri in 1764. 
  16. A total of 93 state parks are found in Missouri, covering 0.34% of the land, putting it in the bottom 15 states in the U.S. for protected land.
  17. Union Station – the second-largest working train station in the U.S. behind the Grand Central Terminal is in Kansas City, Missouri. It was built in 1914.
  18. The first microchip was invented by Jack St. Clair Kilby. Through the 1950s, he worked to invent an integrated circuit, now called the microchip. His hard work even earned him a Nobel Prize.
  19. The official grape of Missouri is the Norton. (It is one of the only two states to have an official grape). 
  20. There are only six area codes in Missouri: 314, 636, 816, 660, 573, and 417.
  1. In Marceline, Missouri minors can buy rolling paper and tobacco but not lighters. 
  2. Single men between the ages of twenty-one and fifty must pay an annual tax of one dollar (enacted in 1820).
  3. Russell Stover, the largest maker of boxed chocolate in the world, has been based in Kansas City since 1932.

Do you have even more interesting facts about Missouri? Share them with us in the comments! 

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