BigBAM: Bike Across Missouri gives riders a glimpse of the state's backcountry | News | columbiamissourian.com

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Armstrong, Missouri, has a long history of being a stop on the way to someplace else.

The town was founded in 1878 by W.A. Armstrong, who was in the area only to build the Alton Railroad at the behest of big-wig Chicagoans.

The town's population has declined steadily from a 1920 high of 616 to its current 285, according to census data.

This week, Armstrong saw its population triple, if only for a day, when an estimated 600 cyclists rode through as part of Missouri Life’s Bike Across Missouri tour.

The visitors actually sought out Armstrong and other small places just like it. They came from as far away as Canada to experience a part of Missouri that's often overlooked: rural, small towns that embody the spirit of the vanishing Midwest. Towns like Armstrong.

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