Q: What is Clayton’s oldest and largest park that is down the street from the St. Louis County Courthouse and also happens to be Cake #49 on this Cake Monster’s cake hunt?
A: Shaw Park! (*Ten points*)
Ok, quick history lesson: the area that is now Shaw Park was originally owned by Charles Gratiot who also happened to be Auguste Chauteau’s brother-in-law (remember those dudes from the previous post?). So after owning this land for a while, he sells it to Ralph Clayton who is named after the city of Clayton….just kidding! Had to make sure you were still with me! The city is named after Ralph, obviously, and he lived on the grounds that are now Shaw Park with his wife Rosanna McCausland – recognize that last name? He eventually sold the land to someone else, who eventually sold the land to a big company, but it’s just so interesting to me to learn about the individuals who influenced so much of the history of St. Louis.
Shaw Park is named for Charles A. Shaw. He was the mayor of Clayton from 1933 to 1940 and really helped the city climb out of the Great Depression by investing in areas like Shaw Park to make the statement that it was safe to invest in land again.
The land for the park was acquired in 1935 but officially dedicated in 1937 and has since gone under several renovations to make the park more accessible, patron friendly and basically more fun!
I had been to the park a few times prior to this cake hunt, and each visit was pretty solid. However wherever I go cake hunting, sketchiness is sure to follow.
The cake itself was not actually in the park, but near a trail that frames the park. And it just so happens that right next to where this cake was located was a little inlet off the street where you’re instructed not to park, but you know, I was just planning to get out for a minute, so that makes it ok, right?
So I park my car (illegally probably) in the inlet and jump out with Miles. We run up to the cake, and there are already cake hunters there snapping pictures. I nod to them in my customary hello and wait for them to move on as I could tell they had been there for a while. But they just stand there, taking picture after picture – some close up, some far away – and then they begin talking to each other about the idiot who parked in the inlet aka me even though they didn’t know I was the culprit.
So now I’m uncomfortable and feeling judged, Miles is getting restless because there are so many other dogs around that he wants to play with, and I feel like I’m seconds away from my car getting towed. So I did what any good Cake Monster would do, I gathered up my courage, let Miles lead the way because people generally like him and asked them if they would kindly allow us to snap a few pictures as we were in a hurry.
I did get a look or two from them, but they eventually stepped out of frame enough for me to get a few quick pictures of the cake and Miles (who refused to look at the camera) and then jump back in the car and drive away un-ticketed. *Whew*
While certainly not the most sketchy of all the cake-ventures we’ve had, I was definitely not expecting to encounter so much sketch on what should have been a quick cake stop. Regardless of that, Miles was happy to have been on a cake adventure that included a stop with so many new smells, and I was happy to be one cake closer to 250!