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Celebrating Missouri's Fathers

June 19, 2020

Since the beginning of time, "fathers" have helped make the world go round. Our history books are filled with fathers of invention and innovation. There's the Father of Aviation, the Father of Modern Education, the Father of the Cell Phone, and on and on. There's even a Father of the "Mother Road" – Route 66.

Then there's our own dads – nurturers, providers, advice givers … and tellers of bad jokes.

Fathers – famous and not-so-famous – have always been an important part of our lives. It's no wonder they are held in high esteem at many places and for many reasons across the Show-Me State – from modern medicine to barbecue to classic rock and roll.

Mark Twain, Father of American Literature, grew up in in Hannibal, a place that inspired some of his greatest works including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Learn more about his life at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, Mark Twain Cave and other attractions in his hometown.

Andrew Taylor Still, Father of Osteopathic Medicine, spent his formative years in Northeast Missouri and later established A.T. Still University in Kirksville – the first osteopathic medical school in the world.  The Museum of Osteopathic Medicine, located at the university, tells the story of osteopathic medicine, developed in 1864, and its holistic approach to wellness that dates back to Hippocrates.

Born and raised in St. Louis, Chuck Berry is known as the Father of Rock and Roll. He refined rhythm and blues into major elements that helped define the rock and roll sound. A statute of Chuck Berry stands in the Delmar Loop area of St. Louis, right across the street from Blueberry Hill, a restaurant and music club – filled with pop culture memorabilia – that pays tribute to the music icon.

Many dads speak the language of barbecue and know that Missouri barbecue can't be beat. With accolades from the likes of the Food Network and the Travel Channel, Pappy's Smokehouse has been serving up awarding-winning barbecue in St. Louis since 2008. The restaurant was named for the late Jim "Pappy" Emerson – the owners' brother, uncle, friend and mentor, who provided "great food and good times."

Dad's "sweeter side" is on display at Dad's Cookie Company in St. Louis. Henry Renz Sr., a South St. Louis baker, bought Dad's Cookie Company from its original owner in 1938. His son took over the family operation in 1949, continuing the time-honored methods handed down from his father. The company passed to the next generation in 1988. Eight cookie varieties, including peanut butter, double chocolate and Dad's Original Scotch Oatmeal, are available at the retail shop and online.

You've got to get to Big Daddy's Donuts in Belton early for the best selection – they often run out by the time they close up shop at noon. Try a traditional glazed or cake donut, long john or cinnamon roll. Specialties include the "Crodaddy," a cross between a croissant and a doughnut, and the "CroMama," a croissant donut with cream cheese filling.

Professor Tom Harte's daughter would urge customers to try a slice of "my daddy's cheesecake" after she convinced him to bake a few of his homemade cheesecakes each week for the restaurant where she worked a summer job. The name and the cheesecake caught on. More than three decades later, My Daddy's Cheesecake Bakery and Café in Cape Girardeau serves breakfast items, soups, salads and sandwiches as well as decadent cheesecake that can also be ordered online and shipped to your front door.

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Springfield is known as the the granddaddy of all outdoor stores. Owner Johnny Morris started the business in 1971 with a small fishing tackle display in his father's liquor store. Today, more than four million people visit the flagship store for the Bass Pro chain each year. Explore the 300,000-square-foot facility that includes a Tracker Boat showroom and thousands of items for fishing, hunting, camping, boating, golf and archery, clothing, footwear and items for your home or cabin. You'll also find cascading waterfalls, flowing steams, live ducks, and giant aquariums, including a 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium.

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