Allan Ferguson grew up along Route 36 in Decatur, Illinois, and recalls taking the highway both east and west as a child, all the way to Colorado and back. He moved to Colorado to attend graduate school and still lives there now, but over the years has found himself making that trip countless times, and about three years ago he wondered why no one had ever written a book about the vast history of Route 36.
“One day I was making the trip from Denver to Decatur and was somewhere in Missouri - probably near Chillicothe when I realized no one had ever told the story of Route 36,” Ferguson said. So that is exactly what he did.
He spent the next three years researching and spending time in the numerous towns that line the highway - he took the majority of the 152 pictures in the book during his travels.
The end result is a book with more than 200 pages, that tells the story of Route 36 and ends with a two-chapter history on the highway.
“I want people to think of Route 36 as a destination highway as they think of Route 66,” he said.
The book is divided into states, moving east to west. The book, Ferguson says serves as a guide, full of history and areas one should be sure to stop and see if they are traveling along Route 36. He does not include hotels, restaurants and more commercial area attractions as hours, and establishments change frequently, and a quick internet search can provide those answers.
The book is then divided into sections, starting on page 109 readers will find Missouri's Part II section, Brookfield to St. Joseph. This section mentions Chillicothe’s claim to fame as the Home of Sliced Bread, along with the murals and acquisition of the Sliced Bread Machine at the Grand River Historical Society and Museum.
the back cover of the book shows a photo of Ferguson with the library mural, which he noted is one of his favorites in town.
Ferguson will have copies of the book with him at Boji Stone and the museum on Thursday. The book can also be found online at US36guidebook.com/.
His stop in Chillicothe is part of a three-week tour he is doing along Route 36 to promote the book.