The city was originally named Wolfe's Point. However, when it was discovered that another city in Missouri had a similar name the city was forced to change its name. A local school teacher suggested Lupus, the Latin for wolf. The city is most well known for its chili festival, held every autumn, which draws several hundred people from the surrounding area. The musical films Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, both based on Mark Twain's novels, were shot partially on location here. In 1976, the school of journalism at the University of Missouri published a book of photo essays on the history and the diminishing population of the city titled Lupus: portrait of a Missouri river town.