Drinkin’ Beers, Beers, Beers – Anheuser-Busch Brewery #142

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                                                                        Cake #142 at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery

So it’s a beautiful, sunny Saturday in mid-June in 2014 and where else could you expect this Cake Monster and Mercutio Krispytreats to be other than out cake hunting? The mission for the day was to see two cakes – the first of which was at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.

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                                                                                  Cake #142 at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery

Now, full disclosure, Mercutio and I figured that what was a trip to the Brewery to see the cake if we didn’t actually take the FREE tour (did I mention it was free?!). But since everyone else in town seemed to have the same idea – for the tour and not the cake hunt, sadly – we had to sign up for a tour time that was much later than our arrival. So with some extra time on our hands, we took the opportunity to admire the cake at the Brewery as well as travel to our next cake location at STL Style before coming back for the tour. So technically the tour followed the cake sighting by one cake in between, but who’s really keeping track at this point besides me, right? So anyway…

 

…some history! In the mid-1800s, St. Louis saw an increase in the number of German immigrants coming to live in our fair city. With this increase in people, and their special know-how and tastes, there was also an increase in the production of beer, in particular, lager – which is a lighter and crisper brew, but one that requires a lot more attention and care than other types.

IMG_2718So now let’s talk about two great forces coming together. On one side there is Eberhard Anheuser who left Germany for St. Louis in 1843 where he got into the soap manufacturing business. Eventually, although he wasn’t a trained brew-master, he became involved with the Bavarian Brewery, eventually buying all other investors out and renaming it E. Anheuser and Co. Cue the entrance of Adolphus Busch who was part of a brewing supply company through which he met Eberhard and eventually his daughter Lilly Anheuser who he fell in love with and married in 1861. At this point, he joined the family business. And thanks to Adolphus, there was a push for wider exposure of their beer and the name Budweiser was introduced as a brand that would be welcomed by Germans and easy for Americans to pronounce. IMG_2714

Adolphus also became the first brewer to use pasteurization which allowed beer to travel greater distances, again, expanding the reach of the brewery.  In 1876 Budweiser became the first national beer brand, due in large part of Adolphus’ skill in marketing and advertising. In 1879 the brewery was renamed the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association and control of the brewery moved to Adolphus after Eberhard passed away and then to his son August Busch Sr. when Adolphus passed as well.

Prohibition was a trying time all around, but under the leadership of August Sr., the brewery thrived by diversifying its efforts and moving into the sale of ice cream and non-alcholic drinks.

 

Through the years, the brewery has faced many challenges but has met them all with great courage and innovation, managing to stay relevant and prosperous. And today as Anheuser-Busch InBev, it is the largest brewer in the world!

 

During the tour, Mercutio and I were regaled with all of this information and more including the process of beer production and bottling. We were even treated to several samples and one delicious larger beverage once the tour was over. Personally, this Cake Monster is not a beer drinker, but when at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, it’s only polite to do as the Anheuser/Busch crew would do and drink up and enjoy!

 

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Do You Believe in Magic? – The Magic House #141

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Cake #141 at The Magic House

Sometimes cake hunting is a long, planned out journey that traverses the city (and maybe even the state) with multiple cakes seen in one day, and sometimes cake hunting is telling Mercutio Krispytreats that you’ll swing by and pick him up because there’s a cake near his house that you want to check out as soon as possible; I’ll let you guess which was the case for Cake #141 at the Magic House.

At the time of the cake hunt, I was still living in Maryland Heights, and so the Kirkwood life was still mostly a mystery to me (with the exception of the cake at the Kirkwood Train Station which I had seen with Miles James on a different hunt), and so what felt like a winding road to get to the cake, would end up being the road I travel every time I come back home after a Mercutio – Cake Monster hang 🙂

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Cake #141 at The Magic House

But on to the history: the Victorian style house that is now the Magic House was built in 1901 by George Lane Edwards. Edwards was a pretty important man to the St. Louis area – in addition to being a part of the A. G. Edwards and Sons brokerage firm, he was also the first president of the St. Louis Stock Exchange and a director of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition aka the St. Louis World’s Fair…pretty important stuff! You can still see glimpses into this historic time period on the second and third floors of the current Magic House.

The Magic House itself as it’s known today was created in 1979 by Jody Newman and Barbie Freund who worked for three years to get it ready for the public. According to magichouse.org, the goal of these woman was to create “the first totally participatory museum designed just for children,” and I think they pretty well succeeded. IMG_2701Over the years, the Magic House has had several additions and expansions, and growing numbers of visitors every year, but even though it had been years since I visited the Magic House, I for one could never forget going to there as a little kid and watching my hair stand on end after touching the electrically charged ball…it certainly was a hair-raising experience, heh heh.

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For Mercutio and I, it was just a short trip over to see the cake, but for Miles James and I, the adventure would be reignited with the Regional Arts Commission’s RAC-O-Lantern pumpkin scavenger hunt which led us back to that very location for the first pumpkin in the series. And even though Miles didn’t get to go into the Magic House, he had a fine time smelling all the fall foliage and letting the kids visiting the museum give him head scratches as they passed us on their way out.

 

 

School’s Out For Summer – University of Missouri St. Louis #140

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Cake #140 at the University of Missouri St. Louis

It really was quite poetic that for our last cake of the day at the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL), the cake would happen to be atop a hill tall enough for us to pause and look out from into the world beyond…and then have the crushing fear that either myself or Miles was going to go over the edge of said hill even though that would probably have been next to impossible (*whew* can still feel those fear-of-heights-chills!).

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                                                                   Cake #140 at UMSL

For a little background, the University of Missouri is the oldest state university system west of the Mississippi (score another point for the MO!) with the campus in Columbia having been established in 1839. The UMSL campus location, however, was purchased by the Normandy School District from a Country Club in 1958. The school opened in 1960 with 215 students. Over the years, the school has expanded both in property obtained and enrollments with UMSL being the second largest of the University of Missouri’s campuses, the largest university in the St. Louis area with 16,000+ students, and the third largest in the state – not bad for pretty humble beginnings.

 

And not only was this cake and look out point particularly intriguing, but when the Regional Arts Commission did their RAC-O-Lantern Scavenger Hunt in October of 2014, one of the carved pumpkins was at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on UMSL’s campus. So now not only have I seen the outside of the buildings, but I have gotten to sample a little of the campus’ artistic offerings as well. I was even treated to a parade of little girls in princess dresses and their parents who were headed into the theater for an afternoon production around the same time I was there to see the pumpkin. I don’t remember what show was playing, but I do remember that even when the music started to begin the performance, the lobby of the theater was still ringing with excited little voices who were ready for a show but not at all ready to keep quiet about it.

 

And now to the cake! I mean, the details on this one are both stunning and, I admit, a little spooky, which is absolutely perfect for me. I remember seeing that the cake was decorated by UMSL Fine Arts Students which I think was an awesome idea and brought a lot of dimension to the cake. My two favorite pieces of the cake were the watercolor lady starting a blender…or just generally seeming sinister….seen in the picture on the right and the flying monkey with a knife-tail (or a tail-knife?) seen in the bottom left picture. Either way, the uniqueness of this cake and its images was a memorable way to end a cake hunting adventure with Mr. Miles James.

Miles Conducts a Tour – Ferguson Station Depot #139

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Cake #138 at the Ferguson Station Depot

From Florissant to Ferguson, Miles James and I were hot on the trail of Cake #139 at the Ferguson Station Depot. The history of this location dates back to the 1850s when William B. Ferguson (sound familiar…?) decided to allow the Wabash Railroad to utilize some of his land under the conditions that the area would become a depot as well as a regular stop on the railroad’s line. As more traffic was brought to the depot as a result of this deal, the area developed, and in 1894, Ferguson became a real incorporated city.

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                                                               Cake #138 at the Ferguson Station Depot

The Station Depot itself was thought to have been built sometime between 1879 and 1885 and is the last surviving example in Missouri of a standard station design that was popular at the time in the Midwest. The Station Depot was an important hub for city activity with a train engine whistle even serving as the community fire alarm. Passenger service at the Depot stopped in 1960, but in the 1990s there was a movement to preserve the location for history and posterity.

The Ferguson Station Depot was our second train station stop on our cake hunting tour, but Miles James, for one, certainly took advantage of his time admiring this locale.

From the little waterfall near the cake, IMG_2686

to the steps of the station leading to a rail car, IMG_2688

Miles James was a big fan of this adventure. And as our cake hunting for the day was winding down, it was nice to spend some extra time exploring a cake location with my curious companion before moving on to the final cake of the day.

 

Taille de No…Way This Place Is Haunted?! – Taille de Noyer #138

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IMG_2679It can happen at any place, at any time – the dreaded cake-venture gone awry. In this case, the ‘awry’ part was due to the fact that the next cake on my list for the day was at Taille de Noyer, which until that point was a place I had never heard of, and which I wasn’t even sure was an actual place (and not a statue or shrine, etc), and which is in fact located on the grounds of McClure High, and which made it all the more difficult to find.

IMG_2677At this point in my cake life, I was used to driving around and around to find what I was looking for, but with this cake in particular, I remember my trusty GPS telling me to be brave and go onto the school grounds, even though I was realllllyyy hesitant to do so, since I had already looked everywhere else, and thankfully I eventually listened because I was pretty greatly rewarded.

Taille de Noyer, as I discovered, is a beautiful building full of history. The oldest section of the home is thought to date back to 1790 when it was used as a trading post. The most notable time in its history, however, was when it was owned by St. Louis’ first millionaire John Mullanphy, who purchased what was then a log cabin in 1805. John was a philanthropist and built the first hospital west of the Mississippi.

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Cake #138 at Taille de Noyer

The cabin John purchased was eventually passed to his daughter and her husband and down through the family, expanding with each generation. It stayed in the family until the 1960s when it was purchased for the purpose of expanding McClure High. However when demolition began on different areas of the home, the Florissant Historical Society stepped in and began renovations and restorations of the home. The Historical Society now calls Taille de Noyer home and opens it to the public for tours and other celebrations.

The history of cake locations is always fascinating to learn after I have completed my cake-venture, but what made this location even more special for me was learning afterwards that it is considered by some to be one of the most haunted places in the St. Louis area joining the ranks of the Lemp Mansion, the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion and the Payne Gentry House as far as haunted cake locations go. Disembodied voices have been heard in the house as well as figures being seen in the windows of the mansion. And with that discovery, Taille de Noyer cemented its place in not only haunted St. Louis lore but in my heart as well.

Miles Has a Good Time at a Shrine- Old Saint Ferdinand Shrine #137

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Old Saint Ferdinand Shrine #137

After two cakes, Miles and I were primed and ready for our third cake at the Old Saint Ferdinand Shrine in Florissant. This particular cake adventure took place in the early summer and to both of our surprise, the parking lot at the shrine was packed. It was definitely the perfect day for an adventure.

The Old Saint Ferdinand Shrine is actually a combination of four buildings, one of which, a church, is the oldest Catholic Church west of the Mississippi. The other buildings that make up the shrine are a schoolhouse, rectory and a convent where Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne lived for many years. Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne (which you may remember from an earlier cake adventure) gifted the Saint Ferdinand Shrine with its cornerstone in 1821.

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Old Saint Ferdinand Shrine #137

The Old Saint Ferdinand Shrine is open for tours and other special events, and on the beautiful June day when Miles and I visited the cake, it was full of tourists, most of whom were very excited to meet a small, friendly pug along the way.

The church was open during the time we were there and since it seemed impolite to bring Miles along, he was given a little break in the car with the window cracked while I poked my head in and gave the church a quick viewing. The viewing was so quick, I barely remember the insides of the church, but when I got back to the car, I found that Miles had made a new friend in a little boy who was standing by the car window waving at the happily barking pup. On that note, and after Miles accepted a couple of head pats from his new friend, we headed out for our next adventure.

Daniel Does It All – General Daniel Bissell House #136

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Um, yeah, so this was the view that greeted Miles James and I when we were granted our first gander at the General Daniel Bissell House. I mean, woah. And you know I love a good pergola! *swoon*

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Cake #136 at the General Daniel Bissell House

So who exactly was General Daniel Bissell and why is his house so exciting (aside from the obvious majesty of the pergola walk-up!), you may ask. General Bissell worked on the house from 1812 and 1820, and he and his descendants would get to enjoy it for 150 years until it was donated to St. Louis County in the 1960s.

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General Daniel Bissell House

 

As for General Bissell himself – get this – at 9 years old he enlisted in the Connecticut militia as a fifer. I’m sorry, what? That fact right there should automatically grant you a cake, but Bissell went on to eventually became the military commander of the Upper Louisiana Territory and posted up at what would eventually come to be called Fort Belle Fontaine. Bissell retired from the military in 1821 and spent the rest of his life tending to his estate and building it up for future generations to enjoy.

What I personally enjoyed about this location was the spectacular cake. It was very simply done in light blue/grey and whites but was memorable nonetheless. What Miles enjoyed the most was the sunshine, the walk around the grounds, and of course the multitude of flowers which he couldn’t help but stop and sniff as we passed.