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5 Interesting Facts About Missouri

Missouri is home for the Kansas City Chiefs, which can confuse people. It is bordered by 8 other states. Missouri was a major stop on peoples trek to the West in the 19th century. One of the most famous American authors, Mark Twain, was born and raised in Missouri. It is also home to the largest beer producing plant in America, Anheuser-Busch brewery.

Gateway Arch

St. Louis, Missouri is known around the world for its famed Gateway Arch. It is the tallest arch in the world and the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere. The Gateway Arch was built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States. It is dedicated to the American people and is often called “The Gateway to the West”. It was designed in 1947, construction began in 1963 and it was completed in 1965. It was open to the public on June 10, 1967. The Gateway Arch is located on the west bank of the Mississippi where St. Louis was originally founded.  

Waffle Cone

The World’s Fair in 1904 was held in St. Louis. It celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase that doubled the size of the U.S at the time. Many wonderful new things were introduced there. One of them was the waffle cone. Arnold Fornachou was an ice-cream vendor running a booth at the fair. He had run out of paper cups to serve it and didn’t know what to do. He noticed there was a waffle vendor near him and got an idea. He purchased a bunch of waffles and then rolled them up to hold the ice-cream. Thus, the waffle cone was born. This is also when people believe that the use of ice-cream cones in general became wide spread. The 1904 World’s Fair also saw the debut of cotton candy, Dr. Pepper and iced tea.  

Pony Express

The Pony Express, the famed mail carrier service, eastern starting point was in St. Joseph Missouri. It went from Missouri all the way to Sacramento, California. It was able to deliver mail in about 10 days. The Pony Express consisted of lone horseman carrying the mail bags to stations. They would either switch out horses or shipments. They had 200 relief stations and riders would ride about 75-100 miles, day or night. The fastest delivery they had was for the results of the 1860 election. California’s newspapers received word of Lincoln’s win only 7 days and 17 hours after the papers on the East coast. The Pony Express only lasted for 18 months, April 1860 to October 1861, then improved telegraph services did them in. Even though it it was only around for a brief time, it has become a part of the legend of the Old West.  

Earthquakes

California is what comes to mind when people think of earthquakes but Missouri has also had their fair share of them. Missouri is home to some of the largest earthquakes in North American history. They are generally referred to as the New Madrid earthquakes, named for the town near where they happened and the fault line. The first one was on January 23, 1812 and it had a magnitude of 8.0. It caused ground warping, fissures, severe landslides and stream banks caved in. Another one happened on February 7, 1812 and had a magnitude of 8.6. The town of New Madrid was destroyed and even caused damage in St. Louis. It caused the Mississippi River to run backwards and created Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee. There were many aftershocks, one having a magnitude of over 7.0. In fact, between December 1811 and April 1812 there were thousands of earthquakes in the Mississippi River Valley that were felt throughout the Central and Eastern United States. They are the strongest earthquakes recorded east of the Rocky Mountains. 

Olympics

The 1904 Summer Olympics took place in St. Louis. They were the first Olympics took be held in the United States. They were originally supposed to be held in Chicago. St. Louis was hosting a World’s Fair that summer and wanted the Olympics as well. They were successful in forcing the IOC’s hand by scheduling a major track and field event. The IOC didn’t want to compete with another athletic event so they decided to move it. The 1904 Olympics is known for being chaotic. Only 12 countries came and Americans accounted for 523 of the 630 athletes. The U.S won 239 medals, the most ever in a single event. However, some countries contested as they had several athletes who weren’t citizens yet. While modern Olympics last around 2 weeks, the 1904 one went on for 5 months. Most events coincided with the World’s Fair athletic events which led to confusion. The marathon is considered one of the most outrageous events in Olympics history. It was held on a dusty road in 90-degree weather. The unfavorable conditions let to the majority of the competitors to drop out from exhaustion. The winner Thomas Hicks was practically carried over the finish line. There were also many allegations of cheating. While the 1904 Olympics may have been a mess, they are known for introducing the 3-medal system; Bronze, Silver and Gold.