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!
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.
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!