Uncovering America's Heritage... Coin by Coin
Howdy, partners! I'm wearin' my Western duds because of the state that is known as "the gateway to the West." That's Missouri, folks!
Lewis and Clark left for their famous expedition from St. Charles, Missouri, in 1804. When it became a state in 1820, Missouri was the state that was farthest west until Texas joined the Union in 1845. Many wagon trains set out from St. Louis to settle the West and search for gold, and stagecoaches set out twice a week carrying goods and passengers to California. The trip took about 22 days, depending on the weather.
Today, the gigantic "Gateway to the West" arch stands 630 feet above the Mississippi River in St. Louis, the city that started out as a simple trading post for trappers.
Other Missouri cities were part of the gateway as well. From the city of Independence, the Santa Fe Trail and the Oregon Trail stretched westward. From St. Joseph, the Pony Express carried mail all the way to Sacramento, California, in half the time it took stagecoaches.
Here are some big Octobers in Missouri history. In October of 1858, the first shipment of overland mail arrived in Missouri from California, moved by stagecoach and train, back when the train tracks had just been laid from coast to coast.
In October of 1861, telegraph wires ran all the way across the country for the first time. Since messages could be telegraphed, the Pony Express was no longer needed.
Missouri Day is also in October...the third Wednesday. Since 1915, Missouri Day has been a day for Missourians to celebrate their great history and the great things their citizens have done. Famous Missourians (who either were born there or lived there) include Walt Disney (artist), Mark Twain (writer), Harry S. Truman (President), and Yogi Berra (baseball player).
So keep your eyes peeled for the Missouri quarter. You may need to see it to believe it...especially if you're from the "show me" state!