11 Things You Might Not Know About Missouri
It seems like only yesterday—well, actually, 192 years ago—that Missouri became the 24th state in the Union. Let's celebrate with 11 facts about the Show Me State.
1. Eight different states border Missouri. Name them correctly without a map to win ... our undying respect.
2. To appeal to as many voters as possible, politicians sometimes pronounce "Missouri" two different ways—Missouree and Missouruh—in the same speech. Pronunciations used to correlate to geography, with the -uh sound being more prevalent in rural areas. Now it's more of a generational difference.
3. Maybe we should call it the Read Me State. Famous Missourian writers include T.S. Eliot, Maya Angelou, Mark Twain, Tennessee Williams, and Sara Teasdale.
4. With more than 6000 known caves, Missouri's also known as The Cave State.
5. Richland, Missouri, is the only city in the U.S. with a cave restaurant. (Don't worry: There aren't any bats.)
6. Harry S. 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.
7. The 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis introduced the masses to a number of new treats, including the waffle cone, cotton candy, and Dr. Pepper.
8. St. Louis hosted the 1904 Summer Olympics—the first Olympic Games ever held in the U.S.—at the same time as the World's Fair. It was complete chaos. Athletes competed for four-and-a-half months with one event each day of the fair. But only 42 of the 91 events actually included competitors from other countries. The craziest part, though, was the marathon. Almost half of the runners got heat stroke, and the first-place winner cheated by hitching a car ride from mile nine to mile 19.
9. Another event that year: climbing a greased pole.
10. Missouri's one of 12 states with its own official horse. The Missouri Fox Trotter is a mid-sized muscular breed from the Ozarks that's popular on ranches.
11. Earthquakes aren't just for California. Four of the largest in North American history—up to a moment magnitude of 8.0—occurred from December 1811 to February 1812 in New Madrid, Missouri.