August 16, 1868

The “father of physical culture,” Bernarr Macfadden, was born on this date in Mill Spring, a village in Wayne County along the Black River in southeast Missouri. Though relatively unknown today, he was famous in his day as an early proponent of the physical fitness movement. He began the bodybuilding competitions that were precursors to the Mr. Olympia contests. He inspired a generation to lead healthier lives at a time when many thought his methods of health were a sign of insanity.

Based upon content from the book Missouri 365: This Day in Missouri History by John W. Brown, broadcaster and Missouri historian. Get your copy at Reedy Press.

Photo by Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash