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5 Fun Facts About July 4 In Missouri History

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1. Missouri Played a Key Role in the Civil War
On July 4, 1863, as the Civil War was raging on, General Ulysses S. Grant led Union troops in a siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi. The fall of Vicksburg was a critical victory for the Union, cutting off the Confederacy's access to the Mississippi River and effectively splitting the South in two. Missouri troops played a crucial role in the siege, and the victory helped turn the tide of the war in favor of the Union.

2. Missouri was the Gateway to the West
As Americans began to move westward in the mid-19th century, Missouri played a crucial role as the gateway to the west. The city of St. Louis, located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, was a major transportation hub and the starting point for many westward-bound pioneers. Today, Missouri is home to several historic trails and landmarks associated with westward expansion, including the Oregon Trail and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

3. Missouri was the Site of a Major Earthquake
On July 4, 1952, a major earthquake struck the southeast Missouri town of Kennett. The earthquake, which measured 4.5 on the Richter scale, was felt throughout the region and caused significant damage to buildings and infrastructure in Kennett and surrounding areas. Fortunately, no one was killed in the earthquake, but it served as a stark reminder of the seismic activity that can occur in the Midwest.

4. Missouri is Home to the World's Largest Beer Bottle
In 1999, the city of St. Louis erected a 30-foot-tall beer bottle (made of steel and fiberglass) as a tribute to local brewing giant Anheuser-Busch. The giant bottle, which can be found outside Busch Stadium, is recognized as the world's largest beer bottle by the Guinness Book of World Records.

5. Missouri is Famous for its "Gooey Butter Cake"
If you've never tried "gooey butter cake," you're missing out! This St. Louis specialty is a rich, sweet cake made from butter, cream cheese, and sugar, with a gooey, custard-like filling. The origins of the cake are a bit murky, but legend has it that the recipe was the result of a mistake made by a St. Louis baker in the 1930s. Today, gooey butter cake is a beloved Missouri tradition, and you can find it in bakeries and restaurants throughout the state.
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