Background: Missouri State Capitol at Jefferson City

Living in Missouri

Missouri - Where the Rivers Run

History, Geography, Homes, and State Resources of Missouri

Missouri USA Map
Missouri USA Map

New and prospective Missouri residents will discover that Missouri offers diverse landscapes and opportunities which range from the rugged Ozarks to urban areas Located almost in the geographical middle of the nation, Missouri was admitted to the union in 1821. The region was initially explored by Louis Joliet and Father Marquette in 1673. the French founded the oldest city in the state, St. Genevieve during the 1730's. Subsequently St. Louis was founded in 1764. by Pierre LaClede. Today, St. Louis is still Missouri's largest metropolitan center and is situated along the Mississippi River at the eastern part of the state. Annhesuer-Busch beer continues to be brewed in St. Louis while the landmark Gateway Arch is known the world over.

On the west boundary, Kansas City is Missouri's second largest metro center - . Spilling over state lines into Kansas, the KC metro region dominates the area as an industrial and agricultural center. Hallmark Cards calls Kansas city home along with numerous other companies. Often labeled a "cowtown" in the past, today's Kansas City is very cosmopolitan.

Hernando DeSoto visited the Missouri area in 1541. France's claim to the entire region was based on Sieur de la Salle's travels in 1682. French fur traders established Ste. Genevieve in 1735, and St. Louis was first settled in 1764.

The U.S. gained Missouri from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and the territory was admitted as a state following the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Throughout the pre–Civil War period and during the war, Missourians were sharply divided in their opinions about slavery and in their allegiances, supplying both Union and Confederate forces with troops. However, the state itself remained in the Union.

Historically, Missouri played a leading role as a gateway to the West, St. Joseph being the eastern starting point of the Pony Express, while the much-traveled Santa Fe and Oregon trails began in Independence.


The state typically has a humid continental climate along with cold snowy winters and hot, humid, wet summers. In the southern part of the state, particularly in the Bootheel, the climate is humid and subtropical. Located in the interior United States, Missouri often experiences extreme temperatures. Without high mountains or oceans nearby to moderate temperature, the climate is alternately influenced by air from the cold Arctic and the hot and humid Gulf of Mexico.


  • Missouri Geography, Facts and History
  • Missouri Facts & Trivia
  • Missouri Flags
  • Famous People from Missouri
  • Missouri Timeline
  • Missouri Official Song
  • Education

    Missouri Colleges. The University of Missouri features a nationwide public university system. The country's main institution and largest university is the University of Missouri in Colombia. The others in the system are University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Missouri-St. Louis and Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.

    Among the private institutions, Washington University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University are two of the top rated schools in the US. There are numerous junior colleges, business schools, church universities and other private universities in the state. AT THE. Still University was the first osteopathic medical school in the world. The Hannibal LaGrange University in Hannibal, Missouri, was one of the first colleges west of the Mississippi (founded in 1858 in LaGrange, Missouri, and moved to Hannibal in 1928)


    The state's economy is dominated by industry. Aerospace and transportation equipment are the major manufactures; food products, chemicals, printing and publishing, machinery, fabricated metals, and electrical equipment are also important. St. Louis is an important center for the manufacture of metals and chemicals. Kansas City is a leading market for livestock and wheat, the manufacture of vending machines and of cars and trucks are also leading industries.

    Flora and Fauna

    Missouri State Flower - Flowering Dogwood
    Missouri State Flower - Flowering Dogwood

    Missouri State Tree - Flowering Dogwood
    Missouri State Tree - Flowering Dogwood

    Representative trees of Missouri include the shortleaf pine, scarlet oak, smoke tree, pecan (Carya illinoensis), and peachleaf willow, along with species of tupelo, cottonwood, cypress, cedar, and dogwood (the state tree). American holly, which once flourished in the southeastern woodlands, is now considered rare; various types of wild grasses proliferate in the northern plains region.

    Missouri's state flower is the hawthorn blossom; other wild flowers include Queen Anne's lace, meadow rose, and white snakeroot. Showy and small white lady's slipper, green adder's-mouth, purslane, corn salad, dotted monardo, and prairie white-fringed orchid are rare in Missouri. Among the eight threatened or endangered plants listed in 2003 were the decurrent false aster, running buffalo clover, pondberry, Missouri bladderpod, and western prairie fringed orchid.

    Indigenous mammals are the common cottontail, muskrat, white-tailed deer, and gray and red foxes. The state bird is the bluebird; other common birds are the cardinal, solitary vireo, and the prothonotary warbler. A characteristic amphibian is the plains leopard frog; native snakes include garter, ribbon, and copperhead. Bass, carp, perch, jack salmon (walleye), and crayfish abound in Missouri's waters. The chigger, a minute insect, is a notorious pest.

    In 2003, 17 species were listed as threatened or endangered in Missouri, including three species of bat (Ozark big-eared, gray, and Indiana), bald eagle, pallid sturgeon, gray wolf, and three varieties of mussel.

  • Missouri State Bird (Eastern Bluebird)
  • Missouri Official State Flower (Hawthorn)
  • Missouri Official State Tree (Flowering Dogwood)
  • Government

    Missouri State Capitol
    Missouri State Capitol
    The Missouri State Captol is the building that houses the legislative and executive branches of the government of of Missouri, as well as the Missouri General Assembly. Located in Jefferson City at 201 West Capitol Avenue, it is the third capitol in the city after the other two were demolished when they were damaged in fires. The domed building, designed by the New York City architectural firm of Tracy and Swartwout, was completed in 1917. The Capitol's dome rises 238 feet above ground level and topped by a bronze statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, rises above the bluffs of the Missouri River and is the first view of Jefferson City for travelers arriving from the north.

    In addition to the state Senate and House of Representatives, the Capitol also contains offices for the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, state auditor, and some administrative agencies. It is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a contributing property in the Missouri State Capitol Historic District.

    The state's elected executives are the governor and lieutenant governor (who run separately), secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, and attorney general; all serve four-year terms. The governor is limited to two terms in office, consecutive or not. The governor must be at least 30 years old and must have been a US citizen for 15 years and a Missouri resident for 10 years prior to election.

    To vote in Missouri, one must be a US citizen, at least 18 years old, and a state resident. Restrictions apply to convicted felons and those declared mentally incompetent by the court.

  • Official Missouri State Website
  • Attractions

    Home to the Ozark Mountains, culturally rich capitals, and deep threads of United States history, the state features a wide array of experiences. While there are plenty of things to see and do in Kansas City and St. Louis, other sights and cities in Missouri offer even more to explore. Branson provides a long list of outdoor attractions as well as a thriving live-music scene, and the Wilson Creek National Battlefield in Springfield preserves a dynamic moment in Civil War history. To really savor the flavor of Missouri relaxation, the welcoming waters of Lake of the Ozarks is a defining vacation destination with resorts, campgrounds, and thousands of miles of shoreline.

    Amusement Parks

    Branson Coaster, Branson
    Branson Tracks, Branson
    Branson Mountain Adventure Park, Branson
    Hydro Adventures, Poplar Bluff
      Hydro Adventures is an amusement park, waterpark and family entertainment center located in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. The park is open from May through September, and the Dry Park is open year-round. The park consists of seven water attractions and eight dry attractions of varying “thrill levels.” In 2014, a major new water slide named Twisted Six and a Triple Threat Basketball attraction were added. The park added five new rides in 2015: the Tiger Coaster, Tilt A Whirl, Truck Stop, Tea Cup, and Spring Ride. They added two new rides in 2016: the Scrambler and Galaxy Coaster. And in 2017 they added a Laser Tag Arena and a 4,300 square foot arcade. Other updates have included new go-carts with a state-of-the-art control system, and renovations to the mini-golf course and batting cages.
    Miner Mike's Adventure Town, Osage Beach
    Mountain Adventure Resort, Branson
    Silver Dollar City, Branson
      Silver Dollar City is a theme park in Missouri. Opened in 1960, the park is located between Branson and Branson West off of Missouri Route 76 on the Indian Point peninsula of Table Rock Lake. The park is an 1880s-themed experience that fits Branson's vision as a family-friendly vacation destination with down-home charm. Silver Dollar City's operating season runs from mid-March until late December, with the park closed during the months of January and February.
    Six Flags St. Louis, Eureka
      Six Flags St. Louis, formerly Six Flags Over Mid-America, is a theme park located in Eureka, Missouri. The park opened in 1971 and features eight themed areas as well as numerous attractions and live shows. The adjacent Hurricane Harbor water park is free with park admission. The park brands itself as "Missouri's Coaster Capital" with no less than nine roller coasters.
    Worlds of Fun, Kansas City
      Worlds of Fun is a 235-acre amusement park in Kansas City, Missouri, United States. The park opened in 1973 and is owned and operated by Cedar Fair, which purchased the park from Hunt-Midwest in 1995. Admission to Worlds of Fun includes access to Oceans of Fun, a water park adjacent to the amusement park.

    National Parks

    Trail of Tears
    The American Legacy of the Cherokee Trail of Tears Image by Paul Andrews
    California National Historic Trail, Various States CA,CO,ID,KS,MO,NE,NV,OR,UT,WY
      Follow in the footsteps of over 250,000 emigrants who traveled to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840s and 1850s: the greatest mass migration in American history. The California National Historic Trail is over 5,000 miles long and covers portions of 10 states. Step into history along more than 1,000 miles of ruts and traces from travelers and their overland wagons.
    Gateway Arch National Park, St. Louis, MO
      The Gateway Arch reflects St. Louis' role in the Westward Expansion of the United States during the nineteenth century. The park is a memorial to Thomas Jefferson's role in opening the West, to the pioneers who helped shape its history, and to Dred Scott who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse.
    Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Van Buren,Eminence,Salem,Winona, MO
      Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the first national park area to protect a river system. The Current and Jacks Fork Rivers are two of the finest floating rivers you'll find anywhere. Spring-fed, cold and clear they are a delight to canoe, swim, boat or fish. Besides these two famous rivers, the park is home to hundreds of freshwater springs, caves, trails and historic sites such as Alley Mill.
    Pony Express National Historic Trail, Various States CA,CO,KS,MO,NE,NV,UT,WY
      It is hard to believe that young men once rode horses to carry mail from Missouri to California in the unprecedented time of only 10 days. This relay system along the Pony Express National Historic Trail in eight states was the most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph.
    Santa Fe National Historic Trail, CO,KS,MO,NM,OK
      You can almost hear the whoops and cries of "All's set!" as trail hands hitched their oxen to freight wagons carrying cargo between western Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Follow the Santa Fe National Historic Trail through five states and you'll find adventure and evidence of past travelers who made this remarkable trip before you!
    Trail Of Tears National Historic Site, AL,AR,GA,IL,KY,MO,NC,OK,TN
      Remember and commemorate the survival of the Cherokee people, forcefully removed from their homelands in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee to live in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. They traveled by foot, horse, wagon, or steamboat in 1838-1839.
    Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, Republic, MO
      Wilson's Creek was the first major Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi River, and the site of the death of Nathaniel Lyon, the first Union general killed in action. The costly Southern victory on August 10, 1861, focused national attention on the war in Missouri. Wilson’s Creek NB commemorates and interprets the battle within the context of the war in the Trans-Mississippi West.
    Missouri State Tourism Office

    Mark Twain National Forest
    Mark Twain National Forest

    National Forests

    Mark Twain National Forest - 1,504,881 acres
      Missouri's only National Forest, Mark Twain contains seven wilderness areas and the Eleven Point National Wild and Scenic River. There are 19 natural areas in the forest that are managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation.


    Missouri hosts a number of sports teams. Missouri is home to five major league professional sports teams — two in the St. Louis metropolitan area, and three in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Missouri hosted the 1904 Summer Olympics at St. Louis, the first time the games were hosted in the United States.
  • Missouri Sports
  • Taxes

    Personal income is taxed using 10 unique earning brackets which range from 1.5% to 6.0%. The state sales tax rate for most items is 4.225% although there may be some additional local levies. More than 2,500 Missouri local governments rely on property taxes levied on real property (real estate) and personal property.

    Most personal property is exempt, except for motor vehicles. Exempt real estate includes property owned by governments and property used as nonprofit cemeteries, exclusively for religious worship, for schools and colleges and for purely charitable purposes. There is no inheritance tax and limited Missouri estate tax related to federal estate tax collection.

    Tax Facts

    • Income tax: 1.5% - 6%
    • Sales tax: 4.725% - 11.363%
    • Property tax: 1.00% average effective rate
    • Gas tax: 17.35 cents per gallon of regular gasoline and 17.30 cents per gallon of diesel.


    St. Louis Lambert International Airport
    St. Louis Lambert International Airport
    Missouri Airports. There are 131 airports in Missouri for public use. The airports in Missouri aspire to world standards because of their technological expertise and friendly service. The airports in Missouri are important as they are important connecting points of much of mid-western and northern USA.

    The international airports in Missouri are the Kansas City International Airport and the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The Kansas City International Airport is an important connecting point for many American fliers. Nearly 10 million passengers use the services of this airport annually. The amenities available at this airport include many eateries conveniently located at different concourses, business centers, ATMs, news and gifts shops, and easy baggage claim. The airport is also disabled-friendly and has TTY phones, Braille signage, visual paging monitors and elevators.


    The Mississippi River and Missouri River are commercially navigable over their entire lengths in Missouri. The Missouri was channelized through dredging and jettys and the Mississippi was given a series of locks and dams to avoid rocks and deepen the river. St. Louis is a major destination for barge traffic on the Mississippi.
  • Caruthersville
  • Port of St. Louis and East St. Louis


    Amtrak passenger trains serve Kansas City, La Plata, Jefferson City, St. Louis, Lee's Summit, Independence, Warrensburg, Hermann, Washington, Kirkwood, Sedalia, and Poplar Bluff.

    The only urban light rail/subway system operating in Missouri is MetroLink, which connects the city of St. Louis with suburbs in Illinois and St. Louis County. It is one of the largest systems (by track mileage) in the United States.

    The Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center in St. Louis is the largest active multi-use transportation center in the state. It is in downtown St. Louis, next to the historic Union Station complex. It serves as a hub center/station for MetroLink, the MetroBus regional bus system, Greyhound, Amtrak, and taxi services.

    Two of the nation's three busiest rail centers are in Missouri. Kansas City is a major railroad hub for BNSF Railway, Norfolk Southern Railway, Kansas City Southern Railway, and Union Pacific Railroad, and every class 1 railroad serves Missouri.  Like Kansas City, St. Louis is a major destination for train freight. Springfield remains an operational hub for BNSF Railway.


    In Missouri, odd-numbered highways run north-south and even-numbered highways run east-west (with a few exceptions, such as Route 112). Missouri also maintains a secondary set of roads, supplemental routes, which are lettered rather than numbered.

    Missouri has also changed highway designations with a US route or an interstate with the same number is designated through the state (MO-40 was redesignated Route 14 to avoid duplicating numbers with US-40 which also passes through the state).

    Missouri Housing

    The median home value in Missouri is $155,700. Missouri home values have gone up 7.8% over the past year and predictions are they will rise 5.5% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Missouri is $115. The median price of homes currently listed in Missouri is $179,900. The median rent price in Missouri is $1,000.
  • Missouri Association of Realtors
  • Missouri Real Estate Commission
  • Missouri Real Estate Listings
  • Missouri Cities & Towns

    As of the 2010 Census, there were 114 counties and one independent city and 955 incorporated cities and towns in Missouri. The city of St. Louis is an independent city, and is not within the limits of a county. Its residents voted to secede from St. Louis County in 1876. Throughout the United States, St. Louis is one of three independent cities outside the state of Virginia (the other two are Baltimore, Maryland and Carson City, Nevada). Kansas City is the largest city with a population of 488,943, while Sullivan is the smallest city with a population of just 7,126.
  • Missouri Cities and Towns
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    Living in Missouri . Living in Missouri