The Missouri House voted Wednesday afternoon in Jefferson City to give final approval to legislation designating July 7th of each year as “Missouri Sliced Bread Day.”

A mural in downtown Chillicothe notes the city is the home of sliced bread (photo courtesy of the Greater Chillicothe Visitors Region)

The bipartisan House vote was 128-16, with 13 members absent and one voting present.

The bill also encourages Missourians to commemorate the first sale of sliced bread, which happened in 1928 in northwest Missouri’s Chillicothe.

State Rep. Richard Brown, D-Kansas City, the ranking Democrat on the House Special Committee on Tourism, describes the bill as good for Chillicothe and Missouri.

“This bill is the greatest thing since sliced bread and if we (the House) don’t pass this bill, we’ll all be toast. And with that Mr. Speaker, I urge the body to pass this bill,” Brown says on the House floor.

The bill sponsor, State Rep. Rusty Black, R-Chillicothe, tells House colleagues the first sale of sliced bread happened almost 90 years ago, in 1928 in his community.

“The first automatic bread-slicing machine and bread-wrapping machine was first used in the great town of Chillicothe in the greater state of Missouri,” Black says.

State Rep. Rusty Black speaks on the Missouri House floor on February 21, 2018 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

Black also says sliced bread is value-added agriculture.

Of the 16 “no” votes, nine came from Democrats and seven came from Republican House members.

State Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, voted against the sliced bread legislation, telling Missourinet it is a waste of taxpayer dollars and a waste of House time.

“We should actually be in this body (the House) vetting bills that have real impacts on Missourians, not creating a sliced bread day,” Ellington says.

Representative Black’s bill now heads to the Missouri Senate.

Grand River Historical Society Museum curator Pamela Clingerman traveled from Chillicothe to Jefferson City to watch Wednesday’s House vote.

She notes Chillicothe is located on “The Way of Genius,” which is Highway 36.

The Washington Post profiled the sliced bread legislation in an article this week.

The story also highlights the “Way of American Genius”, noting the Highway 36 corridor across northern Missouri. Mark Twain lived in Hannibal, Walt Disney lived in Marceline and J.C. Penney was born in Hamilton, all towns along the highway.

“We have somebody who had an idea and ran with it, and everybody told him no you can’t do it and yes he did,” says Clingerman.

Clingerman tells Missourinet that the Chillicothe Baking Company owner in 1928 was Frank Bench, and that the machine inventor was Otto Rohwedder.

Her Grand River Historical Society Museum has about 9,600 square feet of exhibit space, and is open year-round.

Clingerman says Chillicothe plans citywide celebrations on July 7, which is a Saturday.

Longtime Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune editor Cathy Ripley also traveled from Livingston County to the Statehouse to cover Wednesday’s House vote.

Ripley is mentioned in the Washington Post story. She’s the reporter who, while searching through microfilm of old newspapers, found a headline about sliced bread.

The Washington Post story notes Ripley “stumbled upon a slice of American innovation long overlooked by local residents and state historians.”


Click here to listen to the full interview with Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Grand River Historical Society Museum curator Pamela Clingerman, which was recorded at the Statehouse in Jefferson City on February 21, 2018: