MISSOURI, the Show Me state

What to see

Kansas City Missouri alcohol laws - Worlds of Fun
St Louis the Butterfly House - St Louis Cathedral Basilica - The Arch of St Louis
Eureka Six Flags St Louis
Branson The Live Entertainment Capital of the World
   
Article the Arch of St Louis
Other pages Missouri : overview and history | other states | articles

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This is an extract of what to see in this state, with small photos. You will find the full description, history and full-sized photos, in my e-book View America: North West - Part 2

In the travel series View America, North West - Part 2 covers Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. It is not a traditional travelogue, but a non-commercial and more or less objective chronicle of an in-depth exploration of these states. Each state is described with its own brief historical background and its main sights, tourist attractions and points of interest.

My book does not describe lodgings, restaurants or entertainment, except where these may interact with the narrative. It is illustrated with more than 150 full-sized photos.

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OVERVIEW

MISSOURI is also known as the Western Frontier, Gateway to the West, the State Center, and the Show Me State. In 1899 delegate Vandiver exclaimed in Congress: "I come from a country that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I’m from Missouri. You’ve got to show me"!...

The state takes its name from an Algonquin village of the Missouria. This name was subsequently given to the tribe, the river and finally the state. In 1821 Missouri joined the U.S. as the 24th state. The capital is Jefferson City, the largest city is Kansas City, and the best-known city is St Louis.

There is a population of approximately 5.6 million, with a density of 32 inhabitants per km2. Its surface is approximately 180,000 km2, and it is forested for 32%. In 1821 Missouri was the westernmost state of the new American nation, but soon it became a gateway to the West because of its large roads to California and Oregon.

Missouri is a leading agricultural state and one of the leading manufacturing states. There are more than 100,000 farms, which places the state in second place after Texas. It is also number one in the lead production, which started under the French in the early 1700's.

Points of interest are the cities of Kansas City, St. Louis, and the beautiful Ozark region. Also well-known are Branson, with country-music concerts and many artists, and Silver Dollar City, a replica of a 1900 Ozark mining town.

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THINGS TO SEE

Kansas City

Worlds of Fun - theme park

Worlds of Fun is a nice theme park in Kansas City. Its highlights are the Mamba, which is probably the highest and fastest Roller Coaster in the U.S., and fantastic water fun with the Monsoon, a more recent version of the by now traditional Tidal Wave. The ride in itself is already fun for the participants, but the spectators certainly get their share too...

The Timber Wolf may be an old wooden roller coaster, but it is incredibly fast, and it certainly rattles and shakes you enough to more than compensate for its age...

Kansas city : Worlds of Fun 1 Kansas city : Worlds of Fun 2 : the mamba
   
Kansas city : Worlds of Fun 3 : Monsoon
Kansas city : Worlds of Fun 4 : Monsoon
   
Kansas city : Worlds of Fun 5 : Timber Wolf Kansas city : Worlds of Fun 6 : Timber Wolf

St Louis

St Louis Cathedral Basilica

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis is located in downtown, deep in the heart of the old city.

The interior of this cathedral is simply exceptional. The walls and the ceiling are covered with outstanding mosaics, giving it a stunning aspect. To get this very specialized work done, in 1907 several German workers from August Wagner came over with their families. This company worked in the Cathedral for more than ten years, and the result is extraordinary.

As far as I know, this is the only church where it is prohibited to burn candles, for the candle soot might eventually tarnish the colors of the beautiful mosaics. An extraordinary visit!

St Louis Cathedral Basilica 1 St Louis Cathedral Basilica 2

The Arch of St Louis

On the Mississippi Riverside you'll find plenty of touristic paddle-wheel boats, and of course they all carry picturesque names like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, after Mark Twain's famous books. In most of his books Mark Twain set the story in Huntington, just across the river, and he himself was a first mate on a Mississippi river boat for years.

The Arch of St. Louis is a remarkable monument, located on the banks of the Mississippi. It has been built in the form of an arch, although sometimes and more irreverently it is compared to "half of the "M" of McDonald's...

After a rigorous security check we were allowed to enter. There is an interesting twenty-five-minute documentary called "Monument to the Dream View", with a breathtaking description of the construction of this work of art. The images of the workers, crawling around on top of this mountainous construction are downright dizzying, and even more so when one considers that they did so with hardly any protection.

A "tram" will bring you all the way up to the Observation Deck, but be warned ; it is incredibly high! It climbs to the top in 4 minutes, and it takes about 3 minutes to descend on the other side. This elevator can carry 40 people at a time, and there are 80 lifts per day. The monument is 630 feet high and 630 feet wide, and it was built to withstand storm winds of 140 mph. The maximum lateral movement is 1.5 foot.

St Louis : Mississippi boats the Arch of St. Louis 1
   
the Arch of St. Louis 2 the Arch of St. Louis 3

Branson : the Live Entertainment Capital of the World

Branson city

The city of Branson is located in the beautiful scenery of the Ozark region. And even if the Branson hills are not too long, they are certainly very steep!

Branson, the Live Entertainment Capital of the World, began its growth in 1983, when the first theater for Live Country Music Entertainment was founded. It was so successful that by now there are more than fifty theaters, with more than 70,000 seats. Branson is THE place to go to for a weekend trip, and usually there are more than one hundred live shows.

Additional services almost immediately shot up like mushrooms, and there are numerous restaurants, hotels, campsites, golf courses and shops. There are over two hundred hotels, and at least 23,000 beds. The city is always immensely busy, with all kinds of ongoing shows and attractions.

Branson city 1 Branson city 2

Indian Point - Silver Dollar - the Branson Belle

Next to the city of Branson, Indian Point offers a magnificent view over the valley. Along the road you'll see numerous campgrounds, hotels, motels and condos. Unfortunately the traffic headed to Indian Point is usually very heavy, and soon the reason for this becomes clear.

Silver Dollar City is a theme park, built as a replica of an old Ozark mining town. Next to displays of ancient professions it also carries several shows, and the park is wildly popular. On a weekend or during the holidays there are endless lines, as much outside the park as inside.

Finally, Route 165 brings you over the dam towards the showboat Branson Belle. This beautiful paddle-wheeled boat was built in 1995, and was modeled after the river boats that sailed the river in the 1890's.

Branson : Indian Point

the Branson Belle

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