In the middle of the country, Missouri is known for many things. But there’s actually even more to the story of the Show Me State.
Home of Sliced Bread
You can thank some bakers in Chillicothe for sliced bread. Yes, people sliced bread for centuries, but this is the first time – July 7, 1928 – it had been sliced by machine for sale in a bakery. In two weeks, the Chillicothe Baking Company’s bread sales went up 2000%. A plaque marks the spot of this momentous event that continues to allow us to make toast and sandwiches with ease.
Ragtime Became Popular
Sedalia, the longtime home of Scott Joplin, the “King of Ragtime Writers,” hosts the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival, and has done so since 1974. It is not widely known that Scott Joplin, who was a masterful musician in his own right, jumpstarted the Ragtime craze with his most famous piece, Maple Leaf Rag, while living in Sedalia. The Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival showcases musicians from around the world, gives amateurs a place to collaborate and opens the genre to a new generation.
Little House on the Prairie Came to Life
If you’re a fan of the Little House books, then you need to make your way to the little town of Mansfield, nestled in the Ozarks. It is at the Rocky Ridge Farm where Laura Ingalls Wilder, her husband, Almanzo, and daughter, Rose, made a life.
It is also where Laura penned her books and became the world-renowned author we know today. It is at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum where you will learn how she engrained herself into the community as a teacher, journalist, activist and more.
Hair has its own Museum
In Independence, you can visit the world’s only museum dedicated to hair. It may seem odd now, but before photography, it was common to gift a lock of hair or keep hair to memorialize a loved one. What people did with the hair was quite creative, and it is what is on display at Leila’s Hair Museum. Everything from hair broaches and jewelry to pictures made from ground hair (sepia) is on display.
Natural Cave is used for a Mansion’s Air Conditioning
Sedalia lawyer James Bothwell built Stonyridge Farm (Bothwell Lodge) near the end of the 19th century. While being built on a bluff with limestone quarried from the area, he discovered natural caves. Bothwell decided to use these caves as natural air conditioning. The 12,000-square-foot summer home was built in phases and upon his death, Bothwell left the 31-room home to a group of people, which became the Bothwell Lodge Club. The property was to remain in their hands as long as there were more than five living members. The death of the sixth member spurred the property’s exchange to the state, per Bothwell’s wishes, in 1969. The property is now a state historic site and can be toured.
Chess is Celebrated on a Global Scale
The World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) and the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame make their home in St. Louis. The WCHOF celebrates the game, what it means to our culture and the impact it makes on the art world. The museum offers educational exhibits as well as a complete line up of featured artists and performances.
History of Mental Health is on Display
The Glore Psychiatric Museum in St. Joseph takes a look at the treatment of mental health from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries with life-sized displays. Located on the adjoining grounds of the original state hospital – “State Lunatic Asylum No. 2” – the museum chronicles the tools and apparatus for treating patients as well as exhibits patient artwork. It has been named one of the 50 most unusual museums in the country.
Stay at the Oldest Continuously Operated Motel on Route 66
Opening in 1935, the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba has been updated with all the modern amenities in its original cabins. The charm from a bygone era has stayed. The cabins were built with local stone and offered weary travelers rest from the end of the depression through today.
Pays Tribute to the One-Day U.S. President
Travel to Plattsburg to see the statue of David Rice Atchison, the Missouri Senator who served as President for just one day. As President pro tempore of the Senate, Atchison took the highest office in the land on March 4, 1849, between President James K. Polk and Zachary Taylor. When Polk’s term ended, Taylor refused to be sworn in on a Sunday. So, that technically left Atchison President for a brief 24 hours.
One of the Most Unique Wedding Venues in the Country
Bridal Cave near Camdenton is an apt name for this natural cave that was once inhabited by the Osage Native Americans. More than 3,000 weddings have been performed in the cave’s natural stalactite Bridal Chapel and local folklore says the Osage used it for wedding ceremonies in the 1800s. You can tour the cave as you pass through or book your upcoming nuptials.