Memories at the MetroLink- Shrewsbury MetroLink Station #106

Standard
IMG_2457

Cake #106 at the Shrewsbury MetroLink Station

Ok, so this one was a little weird….I guess I should have known to be a little wary of this cake in the first place because it was located at a MetroLink Station, which in and of itself is not sketchy per se, but, on that day and to this day, I keep coming back to one question, “Why?”

With the majority of the other cakes on this and my other hunts, I can usually think to myself, “Surely this old building/museum/statue has some historical significance to St. Louis or the mid-west, even if I don’t know what it is yet”, but a MetroLink Station? In Shrewsbury? Still not too sure about that one. And even after searching for some fun tidbits or interesting data about the location, the best I could come up with is that this branch of the MetroLink was built in 2006 and was renamed in 2008 to the Blue Line…other than that…not so much! Granted, I will give St. Louis some props for having such a transit system in place at all, but I’m not so sure that decision warranted a cake.

So even with questions on my mind on the day of the hunt, Miles and I still went on with the show and I parked the car in the parking lot so we could walk to the cake which was under an enclosure. Now this enclosure is right where the MetroLink takes on passengers and leaves them off, so I waited for what I thought was an opportune time to examine the cake and take our customary photos with it. Should be easy peasy, right? Wrong. Because right then something strange happened: a young woman who I had never met before got off the MetroLink, made a beeline for Miles and myself and plunked an elbow down on the cake as she started talking to us.

Initially her behavior wasn’t that unique, as I had encountered other cake hunters and curious strangers who had stopped for a moment or two to talk with me along the way, but what set this encounter apart was that she just didn’t leave. At first this was fine, maybe she wanted to make a new friend, but the conversation she struck up with me was mostly one-sided. She wanted to talk about her boyfriend and the dates they went on, and she even went so far as to ask my opinion about whether or not I thought they should move in together. Now at first I was game for her conversation; I listened patiently and tried to respond as best I could, but she quickly outwore her welcome, mostly because it was pretty obvious what I was trying do: as she was resting on the cake, I was standing a few feet away from the cake with my camera in one hand and the other raised and snapping to draw Miles’ attention to it so he would look in my direction for the picture. However, despite this, or maybe in some strange way, because of it, my stance and gestures did not even give her pause and she continued right on with her thoughts as if I were an old friend, intently interested in what she had to share.

IMG_2458

Cake #106 at the Shrewsbury MetroLink Station

As she continued on, it quickly became apparent that, like it or not, some part of her was going to be in the picture, and if our interaction had been even an ounce less sketchy, I may have considered asking her to be in it in a more formal way, but as it was, I just zoomed in as much as I could on Miles James and thankfully only captured a part of her leg and some elbow/arm.

After the pictures were taken, the next obstacle remained how to leave this conversation that I had not wanted to participate in in the first place. I started by making some small shuffling moves away from the cake while emphatically putting my camera away and grabbing my keys, but true to character, she was undeterred. Next I tried the more overt tactic of saying, “Welp, it was nice talking with you,” and hoping she would respond in kind and I could slink away, but this only served to help her change her course of conversation to something about how nice it was to get my thoughts on things. Finally I just decided to spit out a quick, “Goodbye and good luck,” and flee as inconspicuously as I could. And without looking back, Miles and I headed straight to the car, leaving the parking lot in record time.

But, you know, from time to time in my current life, I pass the Shrewbury MetroLink Station, and each time I do, I pause for a moment to think of this unique young lady who shook up my cake hunting experience so drastically that I still associate her with that location even more so than the actual cake placed there. So, wherever you are, overly friendly lady, I hope you got home safely that day at the MetroLink Station and thanks(?) for making that event so much more memorable if a bit strange.

Summertime at the Seminary – Kenrick-Glennon Seminary #105

Standard
IMG_2452

Cake #105 at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

After seeing a train station, a historical house, a university and that university’s theater, it was time to head to a seminary in Shrewsbury for the fifth cake of the day at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. Many cakes ago, Miles James and I had also visited the other seminary that was home to Cake #62 – Concordia Seminary. We had hunted for that cake in the middle of springtime when things were just beginning to warm up and stay that way and now we were back living the seminary cake hunting life as it was just starting to feel like summertime.

In learning more about this location, I discovered that the roots of this seminary go all the way back to 1818 when members of the Vincentian Community arrived in Perryville, MO and established St. Mary’s of the Barrens Seminary, which became the first seminary west of the Mississippi River and encompassed all of the land obtained in the Louisiana Purchase plus some. In 1826 Bishop Joseph Rosati established the Diocese of St. Louis in the upper part of this territory and shared the seminary in Perryville.

IMG_2454

Cake #105 at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary 

In 1842 Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick furthered Bishop Rosati’s vision and moved the students to St. Louis establishing a temporary house in Soulard. Several location changes later, in 1916 Cardinal John Glennon opened what was called the second Kenrick in Shrewsbury but is now the home of the present Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.

Over the years the seminary has gone through several renovations, the most recent of which was completed in 2013 and saw an updating and remodeling of the buildings but still a maintaining of the architectural integrity of the original buildings.

Fascinating stuff, for real.

IMG_2456 (2)

Cake #105 at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

What is also fascinating is that around this time, Miles and I, and my other cake hunting co-adventurers, would start to encounter more and more fellow cake hunting enthusiasts on our outings. For this trip in particular, Miles and I were admiring the cake – well Miles was admiring it, and I was keeping a look out for someone to run up and tell me I had parked illegally, which I hadn’t…I don’t think…- when some fellow cake hunters, a whole family, if my memory serves me, came up and asked if I wanted them to take a picture of me holding Miles by the cake. Thrown off and not prepared to say no to such a request, I said sure, and just like that, with unexpected winkle in the pattern of our cake hunt, so began an interesting turn of events in our so far surprisingly unsketchy, relatively normal cake hunting adventure.

Reppin’ the Performing Arts at the Rep – The Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts #104

Standard
IMG_2442

Cake #104 at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts

Webster University is more than just my almost-mater, it was also the site of not one, not two, but three cakes! The second of these three was at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts, just a short drive and pleasant walk from Cake #103’s random placement by a parking garage.

Completed in 1966, the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts was the first location in the United States that was specifically designed to be the home of both a professional acting company and an undergraduate department of theater arts.

The performing arts center gets its name from both the Sisters of Loretto who founded Webster University and Conrad Hilton, of hotel fame, who was a former student at the university, and who donated the majority of the funds needed to build the center in gratitude for the education he received there.

IMG_2448

Cake #104 at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts

So in addition to being a great learning tool for the theater arts department, the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts is also home to both the Repertory Theatre (The Rep) and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, which also happens to be the location of the third cake, but that adventure comes much later.

This Cake Monster has only been to one performance at the Rep which happened to be on a date with a high school boyfriend, but that hasn’t stopped the adventures at this location.

On the day Miles James and I traversed the campus in search of the cake, there was some sort of excitement going on as the lawn in front of the cake was littered with white plastic chairs in neat little rows although there were no people around to occupy those chairs.

Even so, Miles James was quite preoccupied by all the new and interesting smells around, and so the picture-taking portion of the hunt was a little difficult to pull off.

 

Additionally the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts also holds a very special place in my heart because for a week in October of 2014 the Regional Arts Commission held their own scavenger hunt by hiding specially carved pumpkins around St. Louis and tweeting out clues about their locations. And it just so happens that a few months after my adventure with Miles James, on my actual birthday, to be exact, I was led back to the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts to find one of the last pumpkins of the hunt.

IMG_3765

 

IMG_3766IMG_3770

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By my birthday that year, I was mostly finished with my cake hunt, but when I returned to the office after using my lunch break to find the carved pumpkin, my co-workers had some delicious birthday snacks waiting for me, including a super creative and ultra memorable handmade Cakeway to the West edible cake – complete with a picture of Miles toothpicked to the top!

IMG_3771

Cake Hunting at My Almost Mater – Webster University #103

Standard
IMG_2438

Cake #103 at Webster University 

The next cake on our list for the day was at a location that I am very familiar with – Webster University in Webster Groves. At present, two years after this cake hunt, I pass the university once a month when I’m on my way to The Novel Neighbor for a glorious book club which Mama Monster and I partake in. But back in 2014, Webster was a place I was happy to revisit as I had seriously looked into attending the university for my Masters degree. While I eventually ended up at another cake location for that degree (oh, Lindenwood University, you little sketchball), it was still nice to reminisce on the grounds of what very well could have been a part of my educational history.

However the history of the university itself is pretty interesting in its own right. Webster University was originally called Loretto College after the Sisters of Loretto who founded the institution on November 1st, 1915. The Sisters had a dream to help those who might not otherwise have the opportunity receive higher education.

IMG_2440

Cake #103 at Webster University

Loretto College started out as a women’s college becoming, in fact, one of the first all-women Catholic colleges west of the Mississippi. In 1924 the school changed its name to Webster College, eventually settling on Webster University in 1983.

Through the years the university continued to grow, eventually broadening its horizons by allowing the first two male students to enroll in classes in 1962. As the school grew so did its academic offerings and eventually its campuses as the university now has grown to include campuses in Thailand, England, Switzerland, and Austria among others.

Plus in addition to Webster University being my almost mater, it is real life Mercutio Krispytreat’s future mater! As we speak Mercutio is hard at work on his MBA (*wild applause!*), and is very glad, I’m sure, that the university decided all those years ago to allow gentlemen like himself to study there too.

IMG_2439

Cake #103 at Webster University 

Sap-Sap-Sap-Sappington! – Thomas Sappington House #102

Standard

So do you ever just feel a little crazy? A little off the rails, so to speak? Well for some reason, when planning this post, for no logical reason, all that kept coming to mind was the gloriously insane character from Disney’s The Sword in the Stone – Madam Mim. In particular what kept playing in my head was her chant to a young Arthur, who happened to be a bird at this point in the movie, (usual Disney stuff, you know) about being insane, giving herself the title of the Mad-Mad-Mad-Madam Mim. Here the clip, if you wanna refresh your memory or just enjoy a little taste of what goes on in my mind sometimes.

 

Anyway like I said that has literally nothing to do with Cake #102 at the Thomas Sappington House other than the fact that Thomas’ last name fits the same rhyme scheme as Madam Mim’s, and the cake at that location happened to be the second cake on our adventure, so here we are. IMG_2437

IMG_2431The Thomas Sappington House is located in Crestwood just a little hop over from the Kirkwood Train Station. The Sappingtons moved to the area just after the Louisiana Purchase and built several homes around town. Of those homes, this is the only one that has been preserved and is open to the public. Built in the early 1800s the Thomas Sappington House is supposedly the oldest brick house in St. Louis County – pretty impressive stuff! IMG_2435

 

Also on the property, which is gorgeous to walk around, and which Miles and I took full advantage of, is the Library of Americana and Decorative Arts which showcases a unique piece of American history and the decorative arts. There is also a cute little restaurant on the property called The Barn which I recently dined at with a fellow – though currently not written about/given a cool name yet – cake hunter. And I will say, the food there was delicious!

IMG_2428

Cake #102 at the Thomas Sappington House

The Thomas Sappington House is also adjacent to Grant’s Trail (which also got a cake of its own, but more on that later!) which you can sort of see behind the cake in the picture above.

And while I think that having the trail so close to this historic landmark is a great idea and most certainly has brought interested bike riders and walkers to the House and restaurant, on that beautiful day when Miles and I were cake hunting, the trail provided more than a few distractions for a curious little pug who just wants to say hello to everyone who passes by.

 

From Trainwreck to Train Station – Kirkwood Train Station #101

Standard
IMG_2418

Cake #101 at the Kirkwood Train Station

The next few cakes on the list hold a special place in my heart because when I was doing the actual cake hunting, in 2014, I was living in a pretty sketchy apartment in Maryland Heights (by the Trainwreck Saloon…get it?). But when I went out to Kirkwood to see these cakes, I remember being so impressed with the area that I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I wanted to live there one day. Well fast forward two years, to 2016, where, as luck would have it, I’m now living just down the street from several of these cake locations. Definitely an upgrade!

 

IMG_2423But let’s go back, back before I was all settled in my new place, and even back before Miles James and I scouted out the cake at the Kirkwood Train Station, way back to 1852, when the land that was to become the Kirkwood Train Station was acquired. On May 11th, 1853 the first train pulled into the Kirkwood Train Station and due to the popularity of that stop, Kirkwood (named for the chief engineer of the Pacific Railroad, James Kirkwood) became the first planned suburb west of the Mississippi and the area around the train station was built up to accommodate this new suburb.

IMG_2424The original structure of the train station hung on for about 40 years but in 1893 the wood structure of the train station was replaced with more permanent and sturdy stone. The train station was active for many years until in 2003, due to budget cuts, Amtrak decided to remove all station agents from the Kirkwood train station which would seem to derail the use of the station. However the city rallied around the train station and bought it from the Union Pacific Railroad choosing to staff the train station with volunteers from the city itself instead of paid workers which has worked so well that it is still how things are run there today.

As a resident of Kirkwood, I pass the train station quite frequently, but on a recent trip to some local Kirkwood shops, Mercutio Krispytreats and I even stopped inside the train station to poke around for a bit. The train station still retains a lot of its old time charm and even has a little library where you can pick up a book before your train departs, but Mercutio gave me a stern look when I tried to take one myself, so I did not bring back a souvenir from that trip, but there will be more!

IMG_2421

Cake #101 at the Kirkwood Train Station 

As for Miles James, he enjoyed this adventure in particular because not only was this his first cake hunt in quite a while, but when we stopped at the train station to take a commemorative photo with the cake, all the little old ladies who were passing by stopped to pet him on the head and tell him what a good boy he was, so he was pretty pleased with the area as well.

IMG_2426

Note the puppy face in the rear view mirror.

Plus on the way to the next cake, I happened to see a piece of art in the middle of a median that I wanted to get a picture of. And since we were stopped at a stoplight when I reached for my camera, Miles decided to take that opportunity to jump into my lap and see the artwork as well. Needless to say, we were both feeling the call of the Kirkwood even during that first trip to the area.

 

Milestones Are Better at a Mansion – Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion #100

Standard
2014-05-17 12.10.27

Cake #100 at the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion 

If there is one thing in life that rivals my love for adventures / scavenger hunts, it’s used book sales. Being able to walk down long aisles of too-well-priced-to-resist books of all different genres is one thing that will always bring me joy. So it was with much serendipity that the day I set out to see my first triple digit cake was also the day that that very location was holding a used book sale. I mean, could I get any luckier?🙂

I had never been to the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion before this trip and so I was secretly hoping that the used book sale would be actually inside the mansion, instead of on the sidewalk in front, so I would get the opportunity to poke around inside a little. And much to my delight, as I pulled up to the mansion and saw cut out paper arrows pointing up the steps, I knew my dreams had come true!

2014-05-17 12.09.30

Cake #100 at the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion 

Located in Benton Park near Cherokee Street and the Lemp Mansion, the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion is on the US Register of Historic Places and with its roots dating all the way back to 1849, it definitely has an interesting story to tell. The mansion was actually built in two parts. The first was built in 1849 by Henri Chatillon, a hunter for the American Fur Company of St. Louis and a guide. His contribution to the mansion was a four room brick house. On this property was a farmhouse which Chatillon sold to Nicolas DeMenil and his business partner Eugene Miltenberger. Fun fact: DeMenil married Emilie Sophie Chouteau – a descendant of the founders of St. Louis. Anyway, DeMenil hired an architect to turn the farmhouse into a Greek Revival Mansion and that architect definitely succeeded in bringing a unique look to the budding mansion.

After surviving years of being passed from generation to generation and undergoing several renovations, the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion still stands as an outstanding architectural feat and historical location. Second fun fact: At one point in its history, one of the owners of the mansion was interested in preserving the property due to its proximity to the Cherokee Cave!! Now I have been to Cherokee Street/the Lemp Mansion/the surrounding area a ton of times and never knew that each time I was walking along the street an intricate cave system was (possibly) right under my feet! Mind = Blown.

2014-05-17 12.09.10

Cake #100 at the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion and the used book sale sign! 

But back to the caking: on one hand I count this hunt as unsuccessful because I did not get to explore much of the mansion itself other than the room holding all the used books for sale and the outside of the mansion, which I took a leisurely stroll around before leaving the property. But on the other hand, I count this as a great success not only for the used book sale which provided a much-needed boost to a glorious idea for a new blog that had been floating around in my mind for some time (which you can learn more about here), but this cake marked my 100th Cakeway to the West cake and although it is probably the simplest cake design of the bunch, to me, it looked the most like an actual cake which was perfect for a triple digit celebration!