Few People Know The Real Reason Missouri Is Called The Show-Me State
Many of Missouri’s cities and towns have their own nicknames – from Cuba scoring the title of Mural City to Chillicothe, the home of sliced bread. Most people have heard Missouri referred to as the cave state, certainly a title it has more than earned. Missouri, after all, is home to thousands of named and unknown caves dotted across the landscape. However, it’s perhaps best known as the Show-Me State, and how it got that nickname is, well, up for debate.
While Missouri has many nicknames, the Show-Me State is the most popular. The slogan or nickname, whichever you prefer, is so popular that it has even earned a spot on Missouri’s license plates.
There are a few stories as to how Missouri became known as the Show-Me State, so it depends on which you believe. The most popular story attributes the nickname to Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver, who used the phrase during an 1899 speech in Philadelphia.
Unsure of another speaker’s comments, he responded, “I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”
Another story goes back to 1897 when a train conductor demanded “you’ve got to show me” to passengers who claimed to have free train passes.
Yet another story dates back to the 1890s when miners from Joplin traveled to Colorado to work in the mines. Because the way of mining was different in Colorado, legend has it that the supervisors were constantly telling other workers – this miner is from Missouri, so you have to show him what to do.
However the nickname came about, today it’s a phrase often used by Missourians who each decide which version of how the Show-Me State nickname came to be is true.
How do you think Missouri got its nickname of the Show-Me State? What do you think of it as the state motto? Let us know in the comments! Then take a peek at the 14
things that come to everyone’s mind when they think of Missouri. See how many you agree with and what others you would add.
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article.