49 Interesting & Fun Facts About Missouri State to Discover

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A skyline of tall glass buildings against a cloudy sky
Missouri is full of interesting facts and has amazing places to see, like Kansas City

When you think about Missouri, what comes to mind? Missouri is known for St. Louis, its arch, and as the starting place for Lewis and Clark's Westward Expansion.

However, although Missouri is certainly well-known, it still tends to be a little underappreciated. In fact, most people don't know many Missouri facts at all! This Midwestern state is one of the most fascinating in the country, and there's a lot to learn about it.

Whether you're planning to visit Missouri soon, have lived here your entire life, or just want to learn something new about the state, there's a fact here for you! Below, you will find 50 interesting and fun facts about Missouri state you might not know.

  • 49 Missouri facts

50 Missouri State Facts

  1. Missouri Fun Facts
    1. It was the 24th state
    2. Missouri is also called the "Cave State"
    3. Mark Twain was born here
    4. There are a lot of famous Missourians
    5. It has the largest beer-producing plant in the US
    6. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver coined a nickname
    7. Table Rock Lake is renowned for fishing
    8. It was home to the first successful parachute jump
    9. It had its own version of Grand Central Terminal
    10. The state motto is "salus populi suprema lex esto"
    11. Taum Sauk Mountain is the highest point
    12. The total land area is nearly 70 thousand square miles
    13. Missouri means "wooden canoe people"
    14. Country Club Plaza was the first suburban shopping center
    15. The Gateway Arch commemorates the US' Westward Expansion
  2. Interesting Facts About Missouri
    1. George Washington Carver was born here
    2. Missouri is home to the American Jazz Museum
    3. The ice cream cone is a state symbol
    4. Harry S. Truman called Missouri home
    5. Rome inspired the Missouri State Capitol
    6. The Pony Express started here
    7. Jesse James spent most of his life here
    8. A World War II battleship shares its name
    9. The Kansas City Royals won two world series
  3. Weird Facts About Missouri
    1. The Missouri River is the longest in the US
    2. A dinosaur is a state symbol
    3. The capital isn't St. Louis
    4. The eastern bluebird is a happy symbol
    5. The state flower is up for debate
  4. Missouri History Facts
    1. The state contributed many Civil War soldiers
    2. Saint Louis University is one of the oldest in the USA
    3. The state boomed in the 19th century
    4. The Mississippi River marked the western territory
    5. There are 6 Native American tribes in Missouri
  5. Cool Facts About Missouri
    1. The state flag is symbolic
    2. There were 2000 earthquakes in 5 months
    3. Missouri Day is a state holiday
    4. It has the smallest national park in the US
    5. Kansas City has the most fountains in the country
  6. Important Facts About Missouri
    1. It's home to the USA's largest animal
    2. There are over 7000 caves in the state
    3. 90% of the state has been affected by a single tornado
    4. It was the first state to free slaves
    5. The inventor of the microchip was from here
  7. Random Facts About Missouri
    1. The first ready-mix food was invented here
    2. Food processing is the fastest-growing industry
    3. People have lived here for over 11 thousand years
    4. Europeans came to Missouri in 1673
    5. The highest temperature was 118

Show all

Missouri Fun Facts

Aerial of a city with tall skyscrapers and a courthouse in the middle
Missouri is the 18th largest state in the United States

It was the 24th state

To start this list of facts about the state of Missouri, you should know that it was the 24th state to enter the Union. On August 10, 1821, the state got its star on the US flag.

Statehood was granted nearly 20 years after the US acquired the land that is now Missouri in the Louisiana Purchase. This is actually a faster process than many other states went through for their statehood.

Inside a cave with stalactites on its roof and reflective water below
Missouri has over 7000 caves, which is why it is called the "Cave State"

Missouri is also called the "Cave State"

Many people are unaware of some of Missouri's unofficial nicknames. One of its most popular is the "Cave State."

Many states in the US 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.

brians101/Depositphotos.com
A pathway by a river, with a street light and a sign that reads, "Mark Twain"
Mark Twain's life in the Midwest helped inspire many of his later stories

Mark Twain was born here

Mark Twain is one of the most important writers in American literature. With his intelligent but easy-to-understand style, his books became nearly instant classics.

Many people don't remember that he had very humble beginnings, having been born in Missouri. At that time, he was known as Samuel Clemens. His life in the Midwest helped inspire many of his later stories.

There are a lot of famous Missourians

There are many interesting historical facts about Missouri; one of them is that it has produced numerous important American figures. From artists to politicians, many people have called MO home.

Daniel Boone, William Clark, and Walt Disney are just a few people who Missouri helped shape. Who knows how many future historical figures are growing up in the state right now?

AndruGoldman/Depositphotos.com
Antique red wagons against a brown wall with arched doors under a chandelier
Anheuser-Busch is one of the oldest beer production companies in the US

It has the largest beer-producing plant in the US

Anheuser-Busch is the largest beer production company in the world. With factories all over the globe, its largest production plant is in St. Louis.

This factory is also one of the oldest. It's been open since the 1850s. In fact, it's considered the company's flagship plant. The factory isn't only open for production but also offers behind-the-scenes tours.

Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver coined a nickname

Missouri might unofficially be called the "Cave State," but that's not the nickname you'll find in the state's tourism information. That honor goes to another moniker, the "Show Me" state.

This nickname was coined by Willard Duncan Vandiver in 1899. The story goes that during a conversation with a high-society man, Vandiver exclaimed that Missourians weren't impressed by frills; if something is good quality, you have to "show me."

Aerial of a body of water surrounded by green trees
Table Rock Lake, which was created in the 1950s, has more than 800 miles of shoreline

Table Rock Lake is renowned for fishing

One of the most interesting Missouri facts is that some of the state's best fishing comes from a man-made lake. Table Rock Lake, created in the 1950s, has over 800 miles of shoreline.

In the decades since it was created, the lake has become a fishing hot spot. The lake was created with a diverse landscape under the water's surface, which allows multiple types of fish to thrive.

It was home to the first successful parachute jump

People have always been fascinated with the idea of flying. 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 US Army captain made the leap over Jefferson City and landed safe and sound.

A gray stone building with an arched entrance and a sign of "St. Louis Union Station"
St. Louis Union Station is now home to a variety of exhibits and activities

It had its own version of Grand Central Terminal

For many years, Missouri depended on the railroad to connect with the rest of the country. Its St. Louis Union Station was so busy it was only rivaled by Grand Central Terminal in NYC.

What was once a bustling working train station is still open to visitors, however, in a different capacity. The building is now home to a variety of recreational activities and exhibits.

The state motto is "salus populi suprema lex esto"

Every state has adopted a phrase that's meant to embody the culture and beliefs of the territory. 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.

Taum Sauk Mountain is the highest point

If you want to feel like you're on top of the world while in Missouri, you have to make your way to Taum Sauk Mountain. It's 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.

The total land area is nearly 70 thousand square miles

With nearly 70 thousand square miles within its borders, Missouri is the 18th largest state in the United States. However, you might not know that the exact number has changed over the years.

Thanks to the land shifting along fault lines, Missouri has actually shrunk. Over 40 years, the size has decreased from 68,945.13 square miles to 68,742 square miles.

Missouri means "wooden canoe people"

If you're interested in Missouri facts, you should know where its name comes from. 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.

Country Club Plaza was the first suburban shopping center

A Missouri fact that most people don't know is that it was the home of one of the first suburban shopping centers. The Country Club Plaza was first opened in 1923 in Kansas City.

Before then, if you wanted to do your shopping, you had to rely on small neighborhood stores or drive into large cities. The Country Club Plaza helped make shopping convenient for more people.

A huge arched monument overlooking a pond winding through green grass
One of the most popular landmarks of Missouri is the Gateway Arch in St. Louis

The Gateway Arch commemorates the US' Westward Expansion

Construction of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis started in 1963, and it has since become the state's most popular landmark. The symbolism behind the site goes back much further.

The arch was built to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase, which added thousands of miles of new territory to the United States. Thanks to this added territory, America's Westward Expansion began.

Interesting Facts About Missouri

actionsports/Depositphotos.com
A pond with water surrounded by greenery with a capitol building behind it
Inspired by Roman architecture, Missouri State Capitol was completed in 1917

George Washington Carver was born here

George Washington Carver is yet another historic US figure who came from a humble Missouri home. When he was born in 1864 in Diamond, Missouri, little did his family know he'd become one of the most important people in plant sciences.

Carver's rise to prominence is even more impressive when considering his family circumstances. His mother was a slave on the Carver plantation in Missouri.

mattofowler/Depositphotos.com
One of the well-known facts about Missouri state is the key role it played in jazz
American Jazz Museum honors the musicians who helped to define and evolve the genre

Missouri is home to the American Jazz Museum

Music has always been an important part of American culture. Jazz music, in particular, has its roots in the USA. One of the well-known Missouri culture facts is that various cities in Missouri such as St. Louis, and Kansas City, played a key role in the rise of blues and jazz.

As such, it's no surprise that such an influential genre has its own museum in Kansas City. The American Jazz Museum honors jazz musicians who helped define and evolve the genre.

The ice cream cone is a state symbol

Missouri has its fair share of state symbols. However, one of the most fun facts of Missouri is that the ice cream cone is on that list of official MO symbols.

In 2008, it was declared the state's official dessert. That's not just because Missourians love ice cream. It's actually where the treat was invented. Ice cream cones made their debut in 1904 in St. Louis.

Harry S. Truman called Missouri home

Harry S. Truman was the 33rd president of the United States. As a 2-term president, he saw the US go through many changes after WWII.

Many people know Truman as a politician and soldier who served in the first World War. However, did you know that he called Missouri home? Truman wasn't only born in the state, but after his tenure in DC, he returned and lived there until he died in 1972.

Looking up at a capitol building with some green trees and a flag in front
One of the facts about Missouri state is that its Capitol was Roman-inspired

Rome inspired the Missouri State Capitol

The Missouri State Capitol is the center of the state's government. It was the 3rd seat of the state congress.

Completed in 1917, the Capitol was inspired by Roman Renaissance architecture. This style is particularly well-represented by the Capitol's central dome.

The Pony Express started here

Getting mail across the country after the Westward Expansion was of the utmost importance. Before 1860, mail delivery to the west coast took weeks or months, if it arrived at all.

That's why for 18 months until a better solution was put in place, the Pony Express was used. Starting in Missouri, the pony express route carried mail to and from California in a fraction of the time.

Jesse James spent most of his life here

Jesse James was a notorious outlaw who gained fame in the 1800s. Though he reached nearly legendary status throughout the western US, he spent most of his life in Missouri.

He was born in Kearney in 1847 and formed his first gang of outlaws in the state. He later traveled all over the south and the west but returned to his home state, where he passed away in 1882.

A gray battleship docked at a port under a clear blue sky
U.S.S. Missouri was named due to the state's contribution to the war efforts in WWII

A World War II battleship shares its name

The U.S.S. Missouri was a battleship that saw action in World War II, Korea, and the Gulf War before it was decommissioned in 1992. It was notably the last US battleship ever commissioned.

The ship served the US well and has been turned into a memorial. It was named after the state due to the state's contributions to war efforts and its moniker as the "Show Me" state.

The Kansas City Royals won two world series

There are many sports-related facts on Missouri as well. For example, did you know that the Kansas City Royals baseball team won two world series?

Not only that, but the team has also shown its prowess in other championships as well. The team has four American League pennants to its name.

Weird Facts About Missouri

An eastern bluebird on a twig
The eastern bluebird has been a state symbol of Missouri since 1927
Aerial of a white metal bridge over a river with greenery on each side
The Missouri River starts in Montana and joins the Mississippi River in St. Louis

The Missouri River is the longest in the US

When many people think about mighty US rivers, the Mississippi comes to mind. However, did you know that the longest river in the country is actually the Missouri River?

The river starts in Montana and travels across the US before it joins the Mississippi in St. Louis. Its total length is an impressive 2,341 miles.

A dinosaur is a state symbol

Did you know that there are two potential answers if you look up the Missouri state animal? The first answer you'll find is the more typical one, the Missouri Fox Trotter horse.

However, the other state animal is long-extinct. Parrosaurus missouriensis is a dinosaur that used to roam the territory and was named the state dinosaur in 2004.

Some green trees in front of a neoclassical building with a dome in the evening
Jefferson City is the state capital of Missouri

The capital isn't St. Louis

St. Louis is arguably Missouri's most well-known city. It might surprise many to learn that it's not the state's capital.

Jefferson City is the actual heart of the state's government. Unlike many capitals, the city was specifically designed to serve as the capital, thanks to its central location to other important areas in the state.

The eastern bluebird is a happy symbol

The Missouri state bird also gets the honor of being considered a symbol of happiness. The eastern bluebird is often considered a joyful symbol.

Bluebirds have long been considered a good omen thanks to their cheerful coloring and the fact that their faces appear to be smiling. It's been a state symbol of Missouri since 1927.

The state flower is up for debate

If you look up the Missouri state flower, a few different answers come up. While many say that the Hawthorn blossom in general takes that title, others claim the real answer is more specific.

Since there are 75 different species of this plant, MO legislators have argued that a more specific symbol for the state is needed. Many say the white Hawthorn blossom variety has been the official state flower since the 1920s.

Missouri History Facts

A skyline of tall skyscrapers and a huge arch monument overlooking a river
The Mississippi River acted as a natural border between the US and other territories

The state contributed many Civil War soldiers

One of the most interesting facts of Missouri is that it's one of the states that contributed the most soldiers to the US Civil War. Missouri was a border state during the war, so it contributed troops to both sides.

The vast majority of Missourians fought for the Union. Almost 110 thousand men fought for the Union, while 40 thousand fought for the Confederacy.

jbyard/Depositphotos.com
Looking up at a black gate against a brown building with Romanesque architecture
Saint Louis University is a Catholic university that opened in the 1800s

Saint Louis University is one of the oldest in the USA

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.

The school is a Catholic university, so it incorporates religious studies into many of its programs. However, students of all belief backgrounds have attended due to its many areas of study.

The state boomed in the 19th century

Missouri was first settled by US residents in the 1800s at the beginning of the country's expansion west. During that time, the territory saw rapid growth unlike any the US had seen before.

Missouri quickly petitioned for statehood and was granted it 18 years after the Louisiana Purchase made it US property. It also quickly built railways, pony express stations, and cities.

The Mississippi River marked the western territory

The Mississippi's path runs from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Due to its continuous stream, it acted as a natural border between the US territories and territories owned by other countries.

In fact, the states that have the river along their eastern border were considered the American west for years. The Louisiana Purchase saw ownership of much of the North American territory west of the Mississippi transferred to the United States.

There are 6 Native American tribes in Missouri

Like every other state in the USA, Missouri was once occupied exclusively by Native American populations. Though there were other tribes who previously called the area home, six main tribes currently reside here.

The Missouria, Otoe, Sauk, Osage Nation, Iowa people, and Meskwaki groups still reside within Missouri's state borders. However, there have never been any officially declared reservations in Missouri.

Cool Facts About Missouri

A fountain against a lit-up tower and a tree under an evening sky
Kansas City, Missouri, is the city with the most fountains in the US

The state flag is symbolic

The Missouri state flag can be seen hanging on official state government buildings. It's a red, white, and blue striped flag with a coat of arms in the center.

The flag is meant to be symbolic of Missouri's values. The use of its colors represents its allegiance to the US. However, the colors also represent valor, purity, and vigilance. There are also 24 stars representing its status as the 24th state.

There were 2000 earthquakes in 5 months

If you're looking for scary but cool Missouri facts, here's one you won't want to miss. New Madrid in Missouri was home to one of the craziest series of natural disasters in history.

Over the course of five months between 1811 and 1812, the state experienced 2000 earthquakes. New Madrid was the center of many of them due to its position on a fault line.

Missouri Day is a state holiday

If you happen to be in Missouri on January 4th, you might notice a few subtle festivities, especially around the capital and larger cities. That's because that date has become Missouri Day.

Missouri day is meant to honor when the state officially joined the Union. However, this holiday has changed multiple times. It used to be the 1st Monday and later the 3rd Wednesday in October.

sepavone/Depositphotos.com
A skyline beside a huge arch monument overlooking a pond surrounded by green grass
Gateway Arch Park, home to the Gate Arch, spans just 91 acres of land

It has the smallest national park in the US

Gate Arch may be less than a century old, but it's still considered an important US monument. So, the surrounding area was granted National Park status in 2018.

The park encompasses just 91 acres of land, which include the arch and the small park around it. That size makes it the smallest national park in the country.

ginosphotos1/Depositphotos.com
A round fountain with a statue of a firefighter in the middle, against some trees
Kansas City is home to more than 200 registered decorative fountains

Kansas City has the most fountains in the country

Kansas City has managed to make a name for itself as the fountain capital of the US. It has over 200 registered decorative fountains within the city limits.

Not only does it have more fountains than anywhere else in the country, but it also has the 2nd most fountains in the world. It's only beaten by Rome.

Important Facts About Missouri

A road with trees on each side heading towards tall skyscrapers
Jack St. Clair Kilby, the inventor of the very first microchip, was from Missouri

It's home to the USA's largest animal

With its vast and varied landscape, the US is home to thousands of animals. However, none manage to beat the bison in terms of size.

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.

There are over 7000 caves in the state

As you've already read, Missouri is also affectionately known as the "Cave State." That's due to the over 7000 caves you can find within its borders.

Despite the vast number of caves in Missouri, don't expect to visit most of them. Only around 20 of these caves are accessible to tourists.

90% of the state has been affected by a single tornado

Some Missouri facts and information you should know before you visit are regarding its weather. Missouri is considered to be part of "tornado alley," an area in the US where cyclones are more common.

The state regularly averages over 30 tornadoes per year, usually during the summer months. Typically they disperse before they cover large stretches of land, but there have been times when a single tornado has affected land in up to 90% of the state.

It was the first state to free slaves

The 13th amendment to the US Constitution officially abolished slavery in the country. It was passed in February of 1865.

Three weeks before that historic day, Missouri passed its own ordinance that made slavery illegal within the state. While some northern states had already unofficially done away with the practice, Missouri was the first state to outlaw it officially.

The inventor of the microchip was from here

Modern technology has made the use of microchips essential to daily life. Practically everything you use has a microchip installed.

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.

Random Facts About Missouri

A statue of a horse and rider on a stone base against a downtown skyline
People have been living within Missouri's territory since 9000 BCE

The first ready-mix food was invented here

Making cooking more convenient has always been at the forefront of food companies. Today, it's not uncommon to be able to have an entire meal made from ready-made food mixes.

The very first product of this kind was the Aunt Jemima pancake flour which hit the market in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1899. It became so popular that it spread throughout the country and prompted the creation of other similar mixes.

Food processing is the fastest-growing industry

Missouri's economy is driven by multiple industries. Agriculture, energy, and health are just some examples.

Food processing may not be the largest industry in the state at this time, but it's the fastest-growing. The state has a long history of contributing to this market, so it's no surprise that it's become an important economic driver.

People have lived here for over 11 thousand years

Much of the United States was first populated by nomads who crossed the Bering Strait thousands of years ago. Eventually, these groups settled in various parts of North America.

Missouri is no different. Archaeological findings have shown evidence that people have been residing within the state's territory since 9000 BCE, which was 11 thousand years ago.

Europeans came to Missouri in 1673

No list of Missouri facts and history would be complete without mentioning the first Europeans to explore the state. Before becoming part of the US, Missouri belonged to France and Spain.

The first Europeans to set foot on the future state's land were Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet from France in 1673. This exploration was part of a journey that saw the men travel down the Mississippi river.

The highest temperature was 118

Missouri is on the border between what is considered the north and the south of the US. It typically has fairly moderate temperatures with warm summers and colder winters.

It's not uncommon for summer temperatures to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but they rarely go much higher than that. July 14, 1954, is an exception. Recorded temperatures reached 118 degrees, and it remains the hottest day in state history.

In Summary

What did you think about the list? Were there any Missouri facts you already knew? Did any of them surprise you?

Hopefully, this list helped you realize how interesting this Midwestern state is. From its history to the state's unique culture, there's plenty of interesting trivia to learn.

This list might have had 50 Missouri state facts, but there are hundreds more where they come from. By using this list, you can inspire your own research, so you're prepared for your upcoming trip to the state.

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 WRITER Hi! I'm a lover of all things travel and culture. I'm originally from the USA, but I've lived in Italy for over a decade! I'm always ready to pack my bags, get my passport, and head out on an adventure!


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