Let’s take a look at some of the most famous people from Missouri, the cities they called home, and some of the attractions devoted to people such as Mark Twain, Harry S. Truman, Jesse James, George Washington Carver, and Walt Disney, among other famous Missourians.
Twain is perhaps Missouri’s most famous Missourian. He was born in the city of Florida, Missouri, now the home of the Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site. Twain grew up in Hannibal and used the area and the Mississippi River as the basis for many of his famous works, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Today, Twain’s presence looms large over Hannibal, where the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum is just one of many attractions where the author’s legacy lives. You’ll find a statue of Twain in the city’s Riverview Park and see him depicted as a young riverboat captain at Glascock’s Landing on the riverfront. You can go underground in Mark Twain Cave, which was detailed in five of his books.
On the western side of the state, several sites are devoted to the life and times of President Harry S. Truman – the only Missourian ever elected president. For more on Truman, visit the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum and the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, which includes his home in Independence, and the Harry S. Truman Birthplace State Historic Site, in Lamar.
Speaking of homes of the famous; north of Independence, in Kearney, is where you’ll find the Jesse James Farm and Museum, which features a large collection of James family artifacts and Jesse’s original grave site. More on James can be seen in St. Joseph, where attractions include the actual Jesse James Home (where Jesse was shot and killed on April 3, 1882), and the Heaton-Bowman-Smith Funeral Home, where you’ll find the wicker basket used to transport his remains.
In southwest Missouri, visit the farm where another famous Missourian was born and raised; the place where scientist George Washington Carver’s interest in agriculture began. The George Washington Carver National Monument fills the property just outside the village of Diamond. The site pays tribute to one of this country’s greatest scientists. Spanning 240 acres – the entirety of which is actually considered the monument to Carver – the site contains the mile-long Carver Trail, the Carver Family Cemetery and the 1881 Carver House. The Carver National Monument has a visitor center and museum.
In Marceline, in north central Missouri, spend some time at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum (open April-October), located in the restored 1913 Santa Fe Depot. Although not born in Missouri, Disney has to be included in any list of famous Missourians because this is where he began to imagine "Main Street USA" and what would become Disneyland. The museum holds more than 3,000 artifacts received directly from Disney family members, affording visitors a chance to view Disney items never displayed anywhere else.