Within a 50-mile span of Highway 36 that stretches across north-central Missouri, you can stop in on the boyhood homes of J.C. Penney in Hamilton, Gen. John J. Pershing (WWI) in Laclede, and Walt Disney in Marceline. And to top it all off you can pull over for a sandwich in Chillicothe, the "home of sliced bread." So much history in such a short distance.
Claiming to be the home of sliced bread is pretty bold, like declaring to be the birthplace of iced tea. But the citizens of Chillicothe have so brazenly seized this fame, that they have painted it on the side of a building on Main Street.
Here's what the town's website says about it:
"It was recently discovered that sliced bread was first offered for sale - ever - in Chillicothe, Missouri. A product of the Chillicothe Baking Company, it was sliced on a machine called the Rohwedder Bread Slicer. Invented by Iowa inventor, Otto Rohwedder, the bread slicer was put into practice in 1928 in beautiful downtown Chillicothe."
Also on our recent tour, we had the honor of performing at Walt Disney Elementary in Marceline. Right there in the front hall of the school is Walt's first grade desk enshrined in a glass case. Pretty cool. And you don't have to look too closely to see the big W.D. carved into the desktop. A daring prank for a first-grader. Walt must have been a bit of a rebel. I can just see present day first-graders trying to etch their name in history by carving up their desks just in case they become famous some day. If Walt did it, then...
That evening in Brookfield about 500 people showed up to rock the elementary school gym. And then the next night we performed in Laredo to an audience of about 70 -- pretty impressive for a town of 250. Thank you Parents As Teachers! You really know how to promote an event.