NATIONAL MISSOURI DAY
On January 4th, National Missouri Day recognizes the 24th state to join the union.
Also known as the gateway to the West, Missouri is bordered by two great rivers. The Mississippi River is on its eastern border, while a portion of the Missouri River is on the western border. As a result, Missouri is ideally located as a hub of transportation and trade. Interestingly, the state of Missouri has the nickname Show Me State. Historically, Missouri’s U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver receives credit for coining the nickname. However, Missourians today refer to the phrase as a description of their character.
Statehood came to the state as part of the Missouri Compromise, allowing Maine to enter the union as a free state and Missouri to enter with no restrictions on slavery. During the Civil War, Missouri was divided between the North and South. Because of this, half the state was serving the Confederacy and the other half was serving the Union.
The state boasts many cultural attractions from riverboat cruises to music festivals to tours of the largest brewing company in the nation. With a rich history and interesting people, Missouri became a stopping point for many migrating west. Some people stayed, while others moved on. Unfortunately, some returned east. A few names you might recognize are Daniel Boone, Laura Ingles Wilder, Kit Carson, William Clark, Walt Disney, Scott Joplin, and Joseph Pulitzer. For a short time, all of these famous people made Missouri their home.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL MISSOURI DAY
Whether you’re passing through or planning to stay awhile, join National Day Calendar as we recognize National Missouri Day, the state’s history, and pioneering spirit. Uncover hidden treasures and explore all Missouri’s hills and valleys! Use #NationalMissouriDay to share on social media.
For a complete list of Missouri State and National Parks & Historic Sites visit www.mostateparks.com and www.nps.gov. Check out a few of the featured sites around the state below.
Gov. Daniel Dunklin’s Grave State Historic Site – Herculaneum
Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site – Sedalia
Lake of the Ozarks State Park – Kaiser
Arrow Rock State Historic Site – Arrow Rock
Battle of Island Mountain – Butler
George Washington Carver National Monument – Diamond
Harry S Truman National Historic Site – Independence and Grandview
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Missouri History Museum – St. Louis
Missouri State Museum – Jefferson City
National World War I Museum and Memorial – Kansas City
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art – Kansas City
Missouri Civil War Museum – St. Louis
Pony Express Museum – Saint Joseph
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum – Kansas City
Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum – Hannibal
Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins – Camdenton
Grant’s Farm – St. Louis
Elephant Rocks State Park – Iron Township
National Cookie Cutter Historical Museum – Joplin
The author of two American classics, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Samuel Clemens wrote under the pen name Mark Twain. From journalistic pursuits, and travel writing to puzzling over the human condition, humorous and satirical, short stories and dabbling in science fiction, Mark Twain covered a broad swath of shelf space.
Orphaned at a young age, Martha Jane Cannary grew up to be known as the legendary sharpshooter, Calamity Jane. She earned a notorious reputation in the Wild West of Deadwood, South Dakota for her relationships with wanted men including Wild Bill Hickok, drunkenness and general lawlessness. Most of the stories surrounding her life are unverifiable.
Later in her life, she would perform in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1893 and in the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.
Tapped by President Woodrow Wilson to lead the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in Europe during World War I, General John J. Pershing’s reputation for leading men was noticed soon after his graduation from West Point in 1877.
Pershing endured tragedy in 1913 when his wife and three daughters perished in a fire. His only son survived.
He pursued Pancho Villa on the orders of President Wilson after the Mexican revolutionary’s killing rampage through New Mexico. Pershing never caught Villa, but Europe was calling, and he was needed.
Known as “the Peanut Man” for his groundbreaking research in the field of peanuts and other crops, George Washington Carver paved the way for struggling farmers to make a living in new markets.
During his time as the head of the agricultural department of Tuskegee Institute, Carver developed numerous products from peanuts making the once unfarmable legume a valuable commodity.
In 1924, the Wyoming Democratic Party nominated Nellie Tayloe Ross for governor before she had given them her decision to run. Her husband, the former governor, had passed away in October. At election time, Ross became the first woman governor in the United States.
The newly elected governor carried out her husband’s unfinished business, but she had business to conduct of her own. She focused on women’s issues and child labor, schools funding and job safety among other regulations.
Ross ran for a second term. The race was fierce and close. She lost by a narrow margin of 1,365 of approximately 70,000 votes.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, George Coleman Poage was the first African American to win an Olympic medal. In the 1904 games held at St. Louis, Poages earned a bronze medal in the 400-meter hurdles.
Harry S. Truman took office after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. Within a few months, the war in Germany ended, atomic bombs ended the war in Japan, and the Cold War began.
In 1948, Truman famously defeated Thomas Dewey by a narrow margin for reelection. He set out to create social reform with his New Deal and supported the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The author of poetic works such as The Waste Land (1922) and dramas like Murder in the Cathedral (1935), T.S. Eliot broadened his influence in the literary world through the publication of his journal the Criterion. In 1948, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The heir to the Busch empire, August Anheuser Busch Jr started in the family business cleaning vats. After his father’s death in 1946, Busch became president of the company. In 1953, the brewery purchased the St. Louis Cardinals at the urging of Busch, and the two franchises have been entwined ever since.
Martha Gellhorn traveled around the world as a war correspondent for more than a half century. She reported on conflicts from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) to the invasion of Panama in 1990.
Poet laureate Maya Angelou is recognized for poetry and her memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She earned numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and three Grammy Awards for Best Spoken Word Album. Among her many other talents, the best selling author was also a screenwriter and civil rights activist.
A 1997 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics, Steven Chu served in President Obama’s administration as Secretary of Energy from January 21, 2009 to April 22, 2013.
Technology developer and businessman, Jack Dorsey, co-founded the social media platform Twitter with Ev Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass, in 2006. He also co-founded the online payment company, Square, in 2009.