The state of Missouri has seen its fair share of history and culture over the years. From the famous St. Louis Arch to the World’s Fair, here are 20 interesting facts about our 24th state.
1 Missouri's state nickname is the "Show Me State." Many believe this name came about in 1899 when Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver reportedly said, "I'm from Missouri and you've got to show me."
2 The 1904 World's Fair took place in St. Louis and initiated a few commonplace inventions including iced tea and the waffle cone (for when ice cream dishes ran low).
3 Missouri is tied with Tennessee as the most neighborly state in the country. Each state is bordered by eight others.
4 Missouri is widely known for its Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The arch is a part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and was completed in 1965. The arch is also the tallest man-made national monument in the country.
5 Saint Louis University was chartered in 1832 and is the oldest university west of the Mississippi River.
6 The most intense earthquake ever recorded in the United States occurred in New Madrid, Missouri. It is said to have been felt over 1,000 miles away.
7 The most devastating tornado in U.S. history nearly leveled the town of Annapolis, Missouri in 1925.
8 The state of Missouri received its name from the Missouris Indian tribe. The name means "town of the large canoes."
9 The area that is now Missouri was bought from France in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
10 Missouri was the first state to free its slaves in 1865 after the Civil War.
11 The first Olympic Games held outside of Europe took place in St. Louis in 1904.
12 Kansas City, Missouri famously has more fountains than any other city in the world, apart from Rome.
13 The Ozark National Scenic Riverways was the first federally designated riverways system in the United States. It lies in southeast Missouri.
14 Famous Missouri natives include Sheryl Crow, Jesse James, George Washington Carver, Molly Brown, Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, President Harry Truman, and Chuck Berry.
15 The Missouri state bird is the bluebird, and the state flower is the white hawthorn blossom.
16 Often referenced as an iconic roadside attraction, the world’s largest ball of twine is located in Branson, Missouri. It weighs 13,000 pounds and is 13.5 feet tall.
17 The state of Missouri boasts the world’s largest rocking chair. It is over 42 feet tall and sits in Fanning, Missouri.
18 The name "Missouri" is often pronounced differently depending on an individual's age and location within the state. In fact, to appeal to more voters, politicians will pronounce the state "Missouree" and "Missourah" in the same speech.
19 Missouri is home to more than 6,000 caves and it has received the nickname "Cave State."
20 The Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis is the largest beer plant in the United States.