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  • Writer's picturePaul


Missouri: So flat, those people who left your house yesterday are still on the horizon (Pixabay)

In 1961, a map called ‘Family Vacationland’ was produced by the Missouri State Highway Commission, listing all of the state’s major tourist attractions. Unfortunately, one of the state’s most popular, most lucrative, and most isolated tourist hotspots—the town of Noel in McDonald County, in the far southwest of the Missouri—was accidentally omitted from the map.

A simple mistake, you might think. A mere oversight, indeed. Not too big a deal at all. Well, tell that to the proud people of McDonald County.

So aggrieved were they at being omitted from the map that the McDonaldites decided they had just one course of action available: McDonald County was to secede from its home state entirely, and go it alone in the world. That would show ’em.

With their goal of autonomy now in mind, local officials drew up legislation that would establish the newly-christened McDonald Territory as a kind of 51st state, in conjunction with the two neighbouring counties of with Benton County, Arkansas, and Delaware County, Oklahoma. A provisional government was elected, state-unique literature and tourist material was drawn up, and visas were even published and handed out to anyone from outside of McDonald who dared to cross the border.

Alas, the entire affair soon lost steam and (admittedly, having never really been intended to be taken all too seriously) and the movement to establish McDonald as the USA’s newest state petered out before the end of the year.

Nevertheless, this oft overlooked 500-square mile corner of Missouri had finally earned an indelible place in the local history books—and surely would never be forgotten again.

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