Most people know that Delaware was the first of the 50 states and that Hawaii was the last territory admitted to the United States. But what are the 6 states in the exact middle by admission and what is their potential? The six middle states were added between 1820 and 1845. They are Maine, Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan, Florida, and Texas.
Maine was a compromise state. It was admitted to the Union as a free state with the understanding that Missouri would follow the next year as a slave state. Until 1820 Maine remained part of Massachusetts. It was sparsely populated, fought over by both England and France, and existed without a royal charter. Most of its male residents were either loggers or shipbuilders. By 2030 Maine is one of the 10 states according to michigan.gov that is expected to have more citizens older than 65 than 18 and younger, which is not a good thing. It is projected to have a population of 1.4 million or so in 2030, about what it has today. Maine has one of the better state museums. It’s in Augusta, its capital city, at 230 State Street and is next to the capitol building. Be advised that this museum is said to have a little bit of everything and it does. It is also reported to be closed temporarily, so check to see if it has reopened if you’re going to Maine and want to see it. It is worthwhile.
Missouri, my first home, was admitted to the Union in 1821 as the 24th state. Its capital was in St. Charles in the St. Louis area for the first 5 years of its existence as a state. Now it’s in Jefferson City near the middle of the state. Ruth’s cousin Don was a state legislator. Admitted as a slave state, Missouri became the first one to free its slaves in the final year of the Civil War. Among the little known facts about Missouri is that the first successful parachute jump from a moving plane occurred here in 1912. Its growth is expected to slow in the coming decades.
Arkansas’s 2nd fastest growing city this year is expected to be Bentonville, the home of Walmart. Crystal Bridges in Bentonville remains Ruth and my favorite Arkansas attraction. A state with close to full employment, there are 5 other Fortune 500 companies besides Walmart in this state. They are Windstream Holdings, Tyson, Murphy USA, J. B. Hunt, and Dillards, Arkansas, known as one of the more affordable states, has been a retirement magnet for a couple of generations. Ruth had a good friend named Sue, a major quilter, who retired there. It ranks as the 35th best state for business according to CNBC. Although we visit Arkansas often and have been to the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, we still have not been to Hot Springs National Park. Arkansas is one of the few places in the world where you can actually dig for diamonds. Crater of Diamonds State Park is near Murfreesboro.
Ruth & I have also been to the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing and the Gerald Ford Presidential Library in Grand Rapids. I wrote about “Growing States and Cities” yesterday without ever mentioning Michigan. By most measures, like unemployment, this state is not doing well. According to crainsdetroit.com, “The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic contraction is hurting Michigan more than many other states….” It became the 26th state in 1837. Before that it was Indian Territory. The first automobile assembly line was in Henry Ford’s Highland Park, MI plant. It went into operation in 1913.
What can one say about Florida and Texas? Both are major success stories. Yesterday I mentioned that Texas is among the 5 fastest growing states. We visit it every year, including 2020. We were in Tallahassee, FL in 2019, and Lofty Pursuits remains one of my favorite finds of that year.