Tri-state markers bring 3 states together at one time

This tri-state marker is located just off Interstate 44, west of Joplin, Mo.

Years ago my wife and I were out west on vacation and we went to a place called The Four Corners.  

This is the only place in the United States where four states come together at one spot.  

The four states are Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, and if you stand on the brass marker, you are standing in four different states at the same time. 

We had to drive awhile to get there and other than the Four Corners Monument, as it’s called, there wasn’t much else there. But it was neat and worth the trip.

I was camping recently in the southwest part of Missouri and I was wondering if there was a place in Missouri where I could stand in three states at once.  

After all, Missouri is bordered by eight other states and with all of those states, there must be places where three states come together and you could stand in the three of them.

But Missouri’s border is formed by four straight lines and four rivers. Most people can name the two biggest rivers that form a border of Missouri, and they are the Mississippi River on the east and the Missouri River on the northwest.  

But if asked, most people can’t name the other two rivers. They are the Des Moines River in the northeast corner of the state and the St. Francis River that forms the west border of the bootheel of Missouri. 

Because of these rivers, six of the places where three states come together are underwater. Obviously you can’t stand at any of these places.

That leaves the four straight-line borders. Of these, there are only two places where the state of Missouri meets two other states on dry land. And they are both in southwestern Missouri.
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So, I got my map out and headed to aptly-named Southwest City, Mo., on Missouri State Highway 43. After driving through the small town, on the right is the historic marker sign and the Tri-State Marker.  

This is the spot where Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri come together. The marker itself is a stone four-sided monument with “Erected By Ozark Culture Club 1915” on one side and on each of the other sides are Oklahoma 1907, Arkansas 1836, and Missouri 1821, the years that each became a state.  

It would be difficult to actually stand in all three states at once without climbing on top of the monument. But standing next to it was close enough.

The other Tri-State Marker is less out of the way and easier to get to. It is just off Interstate 44, just west of Joplin. Take the last Missouri exit, Exit 1, U.S. Highway 400 West, Downstream Blvd./Baxter Springs and go right one block.  

At the roundabout, go left on Downstream Blvd. for one block and watch for the first gravel road on your left with a real small sign on top of the stop sign on your left that says “3 State Marker.” Turn left here.  

This is S.E. 118th Street. Go one block to the marker. (If you get to the Downstream Casino resort, you’ve gone too far.)

This Tri-State Marker is where Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri come together. This marker is on the ground with a picture of the three states and the inscription: “Missouri Association of County Surveyors – Remonumented October 2004.”

Standing directly on the marker is discouraged by a wooden railing around it. This point was established in 1857.  

A stone marker was built here by the National Youth Administration in 1938.

(Dennis Bresnahan can be reached at (314) 868-7297 or

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