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Missouri – State of Compromise

Missouri is a state with many influences. Within the state boundaries, both the Southern and the Midwestern influences become obvious. The state and especially St. Louis, the state’s largest metropolitan region, is traditionally known as the gateway to the West. Missouri offers a blend of the northern and southern, as well as the eastern and western US. It is a fascinating place to visit.

General Information

Given the historical divisions and its border-state location, it does not surprise that Missouri is also geographically a state of many facets. The north is a rather flat plains region – the south is dominated by the Ozark Mountains. These two landscapes are generally divided by the course of the Missouri River that bisects the state, flowing by the two most populous cities, Kansas City and St. Louis.

Missouri is surrounded by eight other states, which furthermore proves the state’s crossroads character. The Mississippi River forms the eastern boundary. The climate in Missouri is humid-subtropical. Due to the lack of ocean nearby, the temperatures are not very much moderated. Therefore, like for example also in other Midwestern states, the state experiences weather extremes and usually cold winters and hot summers. Summer highs range in the high 80s or even 90s, while frost is not unusual during the cold months.

For the history of the United States, Missouri played a crucial role in many regards. Purchased in inclusion with the “Louisiana Purchase” territory in 1803, Missouri was already admitted to the Union in 1821. It entered Union ranks as a slave state, together with the newly formed state of Maine that as a non-slavery state kept the balance between free and unfree states. Throughout the 19th century, Missouri deserved its nickname “Gateway to the West” because it was the starting point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the stopover for all willing to settle in the Wild West. During the Civil War, Missouri officially remained a border state on the side of the Union. But interior tensions between abolitionists and slave-holders ensued during the war.

St. Louis and Metro Region

The most popular attraction and at the same time St. Louis’ most prominent and visible sight is undoubtedly the huge Gateway Arch sculpture across the Mississippi River. What few people know is that the Arch does not only serve as a great setting for photos but that it also contains a history museum inside. The sculpture commemorates the millions of settlers that crossed the Mississippi River over the centuries to take over land between this majestic river and the Pacific Ocean.

The Catholic Basilica of St. Louis, also known as the New Cathedral, attracts myriads of visitors with its mosaics spanning a total of 80,000 square feet. St. Louis houses one of the most popular and fascinating Botanical Gardens in the US. St. Louis Zoo is one of the oldest in America. St. Louis itself gives proof of the multitude of ethnicities that made the American Dream reality. The Hill is one of the many ethnic neighborhoods, keeping the Italian heritage alive. Culturally the city is a paradise with one of the oldest US orchestras and one of the best opera houses in North America.

The St. Louis metropolitan region holds in store countless attractions. Grant’s Farm is a fine living history site, once owned by Ulysses S. Grant. Delmar Loop, located in University City, is home to some of the best entertainment, nightlife and dining in St. Louis. The amusement park “Six Flags over Mid-America” in Eureka is one of the original Six Flags parks.

Kansas City

Kansas City is the largest city in Missouri. The metropolitan region includes towns and cities like Blue Springs, Gladstone, Independence, Lee’s Summit, and Liberty. The historic district at 18th and Vine has recently been renovated. The local jazz scene ranges among the finest in the US. Kansas City is a place full of bustling energy and authentic charms. It is equally the City of Fountains, of great BBQs, fresh farmers’ markets, green parks and clear lakes.

Negro Leagues Baseball was born here, commemorated by a fascinating museum. Culturally too, Kansas City offers a lot. The Kemper Museum is Missouri’s oldest art facility. The American Jazz Museum is a testament to the city’s great contribution to this music. Great jazz can still be heard in places like the Blue Room. Kansas City was historically a major stopover of the Santa Fe Trail, often considered the easternmost western city of America. The Santa Fe Trail can still be visited.

The Ozarks

The Ozark Mountains dominate southern Missouri’s landscapes. The mountain range extends to several surrounding states as well. The Lake of the Ozarks region offers unspoiled nature. Several caves await exploration that can be undertaken through guided tours. Bagnell Dam as well as the two notable state parks, the Ha Ha Tonka and the Grand Glaize State Park, are great family destinations.

The Lake of the Ozarks has a shoreline of over 1,200 miles in total. It is a fisherman’s heaven. Largemouth bass, crappie, white bass, stripers, and catfish are among the most caught. The fishing season goes virtually all-year round.

The Southeast

Southeastern Missouri brings out the most natural and rural in Missouri. Along the course of the Mississippi River, several counties invite with their beauties. Cape Girardeau is the largest city in the region and holds many attractions. Charleston in Mississippi County boasts stately old homes and a Lewis and Clark Memorial.

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