Sure, you know that Missouri was an important step on the Oregon Trail. But how much do you really know about how our towns got their start? Here’s a few history tidbits to round our your state trivia knowledge.
1. Blue Springs, Mo.
This town outside of Kansas City is named for the springs of the Little Blue River. During Westward Expansion, the constant stream of pioneers a robust market for supplies, leading to the construction of a grist mill and permanent settlement.
2. Bonne Terre, Mo.
French settlers discovered lead ore in the area in 1720. Its name means 'the good soil' in French. Today, scuba divers can explore the Bonne Terre Mine, which was constructed in the 1800s but has since been transformed into the world's largest freshwater dive resort.
3. Branson, Mo.
In the 1880s, Reuben Branson opened a general store and post office here. Three decades later, the town was officially incorporated.
4. Columbia, Mo.
This centrally located college town got its start in 1806, when Daniel Boone's sons established a salt lick 40 miles northwest of the city (which is why its first name was Boonslick). Twelve years later, a group of settlers established a village less than a mile from what is now Columbia. In 1821, a lack of water forced them to moved again to what is now the city's downtown district.
5. Eureka, Mo.
Located just outside of St. Louis, this town was founded in the mid-1800s after the Missouri Pacific Railroad reached the area. Legend has it that when railroad builders saw that it was level with no rocks, they said, “Eurkea!” A community was founded there in 1858.
5. Hannibal, Mo.
Named for the military strategist from Carthage, this town was founded in 1819 by Moses Bates and quickly became a docking port for steamboats and other water vessels traveling the Mississippi.
7. Hermann, Mo.
This Wine Country town was founded in the 1830s by German settlers who wished to build a thoroughly German community and avoid assimilating into American culture. Although beautiful, Hermann's terrain is very steep - not good for much except growing grapes.
8. Jefferson City, Mo.
Jefferson City was founded after Thomas Jefferson chose it as the location of the new state capital (which was previously located in St. Louis and St. Charles). Located halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City, it was a trading post for many years before expanding into a city.
9. Mexico, Mo.
Originally called 'New Mexico' this town, founded in the 1830s, was a stop for pioneers heading to Texas. At the time, Texas was part of Mexico. The town stopped using the word 'New' in its name after Texas became part of the U.S.
10. St. Louis
St. Louis got its start in the 1760s after Pierre Laclede Liguest and his young scout Auguste Choteau, chose the area as a fur trading post. Its location near the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri rivers made it an ideal site for interregional trade.