… in all the best ways.
The unusual claim to fame, the (a little bit) weird trait, the quirky attribute… they are all what makes a person or place interesting. The Show-Me State has its share. But as Dr. Seuss said “You have to be odd to be number one.”
- The most powerful earthquake ever to strike the U.S. was centered in New Madrid, Missouri, in December 1811. The area associated with the quake was 10 times as large as that of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It was felt 1,000 miles away and caused the Mississippi River to flow backward.
- The capital city of Missouri is Jefferson City, which was laid out by Daniel Morgan Boone, son of the famous frontiersman. There have been six capitols: two in St. Louis before Missouri became a state, one in St. Charles while Jefferson City was being built, and three in Jefferson City (two burned down, one in 1837 and the other in 1911).
- Missouri has an official dinosaur: Hypsibema missouriensis, a species of plant-eating duck-billed (hadrosaur) dinosaur discovered in 1942 near Glen Allen, Missouri. Only 12 of the 50 United States have an official dinosaur.
- Missouri is tied for the state bordering the most other states. There are eight: Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. The state tied with Missouri for this title is Tennessee.
- The St. Francois Mountains in Southeast Missouri are one of the oldest exposures of igneous rock (formed by magma or lava) in North America. It’s also home to Taum Sauk Mountain, the highest point in the state, and Hughes Mountain with its Devil’s Honeycomb rock formation.
- Missouri’s official exercise is the jumping jack. WWI General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing from Laclede, Missouri, is credited with its invention. The adoption of the jumping jack was promoted by fourth graders from Pershing Elementary in St. Joseph. Only one other state (Maryland) has an official state exercise.
- The nation’s first recorded quick-draw gunfight took place in Springfield, MO on July 21, 1865, between Davis Tutt and Wild Bill Hickok.
- The first Olympics in the U.S. were held in conjunction with the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. It was the only time grease-pole climbing was an Olympic event.
- Missouri is home to the first vacuum museum (Vacuum Cleaner Museum and Factory Outlet in St. James) and the only hair museum (Leila’s Hair Museum in Independence) in the world.
- In Marionville, white squirrels – by law – have the right of way on all public thoroughfares, streets and sidewalks. Violate the law at your own risk: it carries a penalty of $500 or 90 days in jail.