Disney's boyhood house is not open for tours, but its current occupants encourages visitors to walk on the property to a large cottonwood tree under which Disney would lie down to draw. A mowed trail with interpretative signs also leads to a barn — modeled after Disney's — where tourists are encouraged to scrawl messages on the walls.
Heaney hopes people will take a similar step back in time when they tour Pershing's boyhood home. He did, which is why he applied to become the director of the state historic site after visiting it on vacation two years ago. "When I first came here to tour the site, I could really see that sense of home," Heaney said. "I could see where his room was and how the home was all situated… and I think that really brought it to life for me."
If You Go…
GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER BIRTHPLACE: Located near Diamond; from Missouri 59, go west on Route V 2 miles then south on Newton County Road 16Q. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. No admission. Contact (417) 325-4151 or www.nps.gov/gwca.
HARRY TRUMAN BIRTHPLACE: Located just off U.S. 160 in Lamar. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. No admission. Contact (417) 682-2279 or www.mostateparks.com. J.C. PENNEY BIRTHPLACE: Located downtown Hamilton on U.S. 13. Open 9:30 a.m.-noon and 12:30 p.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday. No admission. Call (816) 583-2168. JESSE JAMES BIRTHPLACE: Located a few miles northeast of Kearney on Missouri 92. Open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Admission: adults, $6.50; age 55 and older, $5.50; children 8-15, $3.50. Call (816) 628-6065. JOHN J. PERSHING BOYHOOD HOME: Located in Laclede; from U.S. 36, go north on Missouri 5 into town and follow the signs. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: adults, $2.50; children 6-12, $1.50; younger children, free. Contact (660) 963-2525 or visit www.mostateparks.com. MARK TWAIN BIRTHPLACE: Located in Mark Twain State Park near Florida, Mo.; from Missouri 107, go east on Route U. Open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. Admission: adults, $2.50; children 6-12, $1.50; younger children, free. Contact (573) 565-3449 or www.mostateparks.com. MARK TWAIN BOYHOOD HOME: Located in downtown Hannibal. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission: adults, $6; children 6-12, $3; younger children, free. Contact (573) 221-9010 or www.marktwainmuseum.org. WALT DISNEY BOYHOOD HOME: Located near the northern city limit sign of Marceline on Missouri 5, just a few miles south of U.S. 36. The home is privately owned and not open for tours, but visitors are welcome to walk down a path to a cottonwood tree under which Disney used to draw and are encouraged to scrawl messages in a barn. No admission. Call (660) 376-2332.