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Guides to Missouri

Missouri cities seem to share a peculiar tendency toward straddling state lines. Take Kansas City, through which runs the muddy Missouri River, dividing the town as sharply as a well-cut suit, and its residents equally so: The controversy over which side is best may never end.
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Then there's East St. Louis, which isn't in Missouri at all but is nestled against the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River (there seems to be a river theme going here). Yes, it must be the rivers, which have been as much a part of Missouri history as its romance with the Old West. If it wasn't Mark Twain to the east painting a dubious portrait of life along the post-Civil War Mississippi, it was the notorious James Gang to the west, diving in and out of the Missouri while dodging Pinkertons and disgruntled Yankees.

Meanwhile, time marches on. Today, Kansas City and St. Louis play host to some of the country's top professional sports teams, and the city of Branson is fast becoming the little Nashville of the Ozarks. Over two-thirds of the state's population is now concentrated in its cities, a long way from the rural pioneers and hillbilly folklore of the past century. With manufacturing and service industries on the rise statewide, there's been a boom both in urban expansion and economic development. Take a look and see for yourself.

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