Missouri was named after a tribe of Sioux Indians called the Missouris. While often mistranslated as ‘muddy water,’ the word actually means ‘town of the large canoes.’
Most people who are vaguely familiar with Missouri probably think of a place where all the festivals are named after a fruit, vegetable, or grain; where most local gas stations sell live bait; and, where everyone ends their sentences with an unnecessary preposition. E.g. “Where’s my coat at?” or “If you go to the mall I wanna go with.”
According Business Insider research, in 2014, Missouri was considered one of the ‘most normal’ States in the US. Now, before we discard Missouri as one of the most – if not the most – average, unassuming, bland, vanilla US State, consider the following points:
- In 1865, Missouri became the first slave state to free its slaves.
- Missouri is known as the “Show Me State”, and the state animal is the Mule.
- The tallest man in documented medical history was Robert Pershing Wadlow from St. Louis. He was 8 feet, 11.1 inches tall.
- In 1811, New Madrid, Missouri was struck by the most powerful earthquake in US history; it was felt over 1000 miles away.
- The state musical instrument of Missouri is the fiddle and the state folk dance is the square dance.
- At the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, Richard Blechyden, served tea with ice and invented iced tea.
- In 1904, St. Louis, Missouri hosted the first Olympic Games held in the US. It lasted for four and a half months. ‘Climbing a greased pole’ was one of the events. Also, during the marathon almost half of the runners got heat stroke.
“I’ll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missouri”
– Abe ‘Grandpa’ Simpson
- Samuel Clemens, more familiarly known as Mark Twain, author of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was born in Florida, Missouri and grew up near a place called Hannibal. Other famous writers from Missouri include T.S. Eliot and Maya Angelou.
- On March 18, 1925, Missouri was hit by the most destructive tornado in US history, at least 695 people were killed, over 15,000 homes demolished, and ninety percent of the city of Annapolis was destroyed.
- President Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar, May 8, 1884. Harry Truman was the only U.S. President to hail from Missouri. After he left the White House in 1953, he and his wife Bess moved back to the Independence home they shared with his mother-in-law and lived off his $112.56 monthly Army pension.
- Some of the names of Frontier Missouri chewing tobacco include “Scalping Knife,” “My Wife’s Hat,” “Lock and Chain,” and “Wiggletail Twist.”
- In 2007, St. Louis, Missouri was dubbed ‘the most smoker-friendly city in the US’ by Forbes Magazine.
- Dr Pepper was introduced at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. 7-Up also was invented in St. Louis.
- To appeal to as many voters as possible, politicians sometimes pronounce “Missouri” two different ways—Missouree and Missourah—in the same speech. The Missourah pronunciation is usually more prevalent in rural areas.