Ah, Manchester, Missouri. My old stomping ground. A place where you can find random plastic deer standing guard in front of gas stations and real, live deer just waiting for nightfall and the opportunity to play a fun game of “Deer in the Headlights” with you and your car. *memories*
I’d passed by Manchester City Hall more times than I could count over the years on my way to high school (there’s a cake there too!) and West County Mall (no cake love for the mall ). But in all that time, I never really gave it more than a passing glance as I was headed onto other adventures. And even on the day when Mercutio Krispytreats, Waltrice Disneta and I visited the cake, we merely pulled into the parking lot, snapped a couple of photos and drove to our next location.
So in the spirit of STL250 and to quench my perpetual thirst for knowledge, I decided to do some research into the history of the building and educate myself (and my fellow cake hunters) on what I learned is a fantastic building with a really rich history.
According to manchestermo.gov, the Lyceum building in Manchester Missouri (aka Manchester City Hall) was built in 1894. The website goes on to say, “This region, at the crossroads of Manchester Road and Highway 141 became a natural trading area used by Native Americans as they portaged between the Meramec and Missouri Rivers and is near the site of the first trading post west of the Mississippi.” What? I had no idea that this building had such an important place in Manchester’s history!
Also, “The first floor of the Lyceum, a Classical Victorian building, was originally a tin shop that became a hardware store, evolving later to a general store that sold a complete line of fine merchandise, groceries, shoes, dry goods, hardware, ice cream, and gasoline. It quite possibly was a post office as well in its early years.” This part brought to mind a beloved song from the classic childhood television series, Blue’s Clues: “Here’s the mail / It never fails / It makes me wanna wag my tail / When it comes, I wanna wail, ‘MAIL!'” …I need to download that one on iTunes 🙂
The website also states, “The second floor was a meeting hall or auditorium that became a ‘moving picture theatre’ for the early ‘talkies’ screened here and at one time was used as a roller rink. Other uses were for square dances, masquerade balls, school graduations, church services, amateur theatricals, and political meetings. At one time, local politicians delivered their oratory and views, to the crowd listening on the street below, from its second floor exterior balcony, which still remains.”
I have to say that cake hunting has taken me to some pretty interesting places (…just wait, things only get crazier…), both ones I’ve visited before and places I never even knew existed. But the best part about the adventure really has been learning about each location and where it fits in the puzzle of St. Louis’ history.
All right, enough warm fuzzies! Happy Cake Hunting!