Portal:Missouri

The Missouri Portal

Missouri is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. Ranking 21st in land area, it is bordered by eight states (tied for the most with Tennessee): Iowa to the north, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee to the east, Arkansas to the south and Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska to the west. In the south are the Ozarks, a forested highland, providing timber, minerals, and recreation. The Missouri River, after which the state is named, flows through the center into the Mississippi River, which makes up the eastern border. With more than six million residents, it is the 19th-most populous state of the country. The largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia; the capital is Jefferson City.

Humans have inhabited what is now Missouri for at least 12,000 years. The Mississippian culture, which emerged at least in the ninth century, built cities and mounds before declining in the 14th century. When European explorers arrived in the 17th century, they encountered the Osage and Missouria nations. The French incorporated the territory into Louisiana founding Ste. Genevieve in 1735 and St. Louis in 1764. After a brief period of Spanish rule, the United States acquired Missouri as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Americans from the Upland South, including enslaved African Americans, rushed into the new Missouri Territory. Missouri was admitted as a slave state as part of the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Many from Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee settled in the Boonslick area of Mid-Missouri. Soon after, heavy German immigration formed the Missouri Rhineland.

Missouri played a central role in the westward expansion of the United States, as memorialized by the Gateway Arch. The Pony Express, Oregon Trail, Santa Fe Trail and California Trail all began in Missouri. As a border state, Missouri's role in the American Civil War was complex, and it was subject to rival governments, raids, and guerilla warfare. After the war, both Greater St. Louis and the Kansas City metropolitan area became centers of industrialization and business. Today the state is divided into 114 counties and the independent city of St. Louis. (Full article...)

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International Hat Company Warehouse in Soulard, St. Louis.jpg

International Hat Company, formerly named the International Harvest Hat Company, was a St. Louis, Missouri-based manufacturer of commercial hats and military helmets. The company was one of the largest hat manufacturers in the United States and, at one time, the largest manufacturer of harvest hats in the world. It is best remembered for its design and mass production of tropical shaped, pressed fiber military sun helmets for service members of the United States Army, Marines, and Navy during and after World War II. Additionally, the American owned company was a major producer of harvest hats, straw hats, fiber sun hats, enameled dress hats, baseball caps, and earmuffs throughout most of the 20th century. However, it is the International Hat military sun helmets that have become the most notable collector's items.

Established in 1917 as a private corporation, the company began with a single product line of harvest straw hats. By the late 1930s, the company had expanded into fiber pressed sun hats and leather harvest hats. During World War II, International Hat developed and produced several models of military sun helmets, including a model with rudimentary ventilation. After the war, the company became interested in plastic molding injection, moving increasingly away from pressed fiber. In the 1950s, General Fibre Company, a subsidiary of International Hat, changed its name to General Moulding Company to reflect these production changes in basic materials. By the 1960s, International Hat was mostly producing baseball caps, straw hats, earmuffs, plastic helmets, and plastic sun hats. During this era of expansion, the company had a proclivity for building its factories in small rural cities, often becoming the largest employer and economic backbone of those communities. On several occasions, International Hat donated land or facility equipment for the creation of municipal parks located adjacent to one of its factories, namely for the purpose of benefiting employees, their families, and the local community.

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MO-St. Louis courthouse 1884.jpg

The U.S. Custom House and Post Office is a court house at 815 Olive Street in downtown St. Louis, Missouri.

It was designed by architects Alfred B. Mullett, William Appleton Potter, and James G. Hill, and was constructed between 1873 and 1884. Located at the intersection of Eighth and Olive Streets, it is one of four surviving Federal office buildings designed by Mullett. The others are the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., the Century Post Office in Raleigh, N.C. and the U.S. Custom House in Portland, Me. It is in the Second Empire architectural style popular in the post Civil-War era. Mullett's other Second Empire buildings in Boston, Cincinnati, New York City and Philadelphia have been demolished. (Full article...)
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