Why the Wenatchee Museum preserves a 95-year-old sandwich


Locked behind five doors, hidden in a dark container and wrapped in cellophane is a 95-year-old artifact: Clyde Pangborn’s Sandwich.

Yes. That’s right. The Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center has a 1926 sandwich and plans to keep it permanently.

Anna Spencer, the museum’s collections coordinator, keeps Pangborn’s meal in a temperature-controlled room. It was she who found the sandwich hidden among a collection of archived objects almost forgotten last June.

“We just want to make sure nothing happens to her,” she said.

Spencer deals with various items of historical significance to North Central Washington.

The sandwich is wrapped, wrapped and kept in the museum archives, giving it four layers of protection from the elements.

Spencer said she was shocked when she rediscovered the sandwich. “I just think it’s fascinating.”

This bite-sized piece of history is believed to have been taken away as a keepsake before Pangborn’s famous first flight across the Pacific Ocean in 1931.

This month marks the 90th anniversary of the daring feat. It is a historic achievement that put the Wenatchee region on the history books and prompted the enduring relationship between Wenatchee / East Wenatchee and the sister city of Misawa, Japan, where Pangborn and Hugh Herndon began their historic flight. .

The late John Walz, of Saint Maries, Idaho, kept the sandwich in a small red tobacco tin for decades before his son Pete found it in an attic, according to museum records.

John had left a note on the sandwich packaging labeled “Clyde Pangborn Sandwich 1926”. Pete donated his findings to the museum in 2010.

Pangborn’s aviation career began during World War I when he worked as a flight instructor with the United States Army. He later returned from the war and was part of a flying circus show that performed aerial acrobatics.

Following the historic breadcrumbs, it is believed that John acquired the sandwich during Pangborn’s pre-fame flight escapades as the pilot flew into the Northwest Interior.

So why does the museum keep a few crumbly slices of bread?

Spencer said it was because Pangborn and its trans-Pacific flight still had great historical significance for the Wenatchee Valley. She also said: “It is only one of these objects” among some 70,000 other artefacts kept at the museum.

The idea is to put together pieces that tell the story of this valley, she says.

The museum doesn’t know much about the sandwich and there are still several pieces of history to be known, such as what type of sandwich it is or why it was put away in the first place.

“It’s kind of a conundrum,” Spencer said.

The museum does not seek to display the artefact due to its delicate nature, but the people of the valley can rest assured that this slice of glory will remain for years to come.


About Carlos V. Mitchell

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