After a brief hiatus, Miles James was back in action as my cake hunting companion. For the run of cakes we saw together on this day, we started with the cake at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. The Bridge has a pretty incredible history, so allow me to take you on a brief journey into its history…or bridge-story if you will.
Bridge construction began in 1927 with building taking place in both Missouri and Illinois simultaneously and meeting in the middle for a Bridge unveiling in 1929.
The Bridge gained real notoriety in 1936, however, when historic Route 66 was rerouted to include passage over the Bridge. Remnants of this era are still visible today at various points along the Bridge.
One fact that I found particularly interesting was that during World War II, certain sections of the Bridge that were painted red were repainted green to make the Bridge less visible from the air. Fascinating!
When the new Chain of Rocks Bridge opened in 1967, traffic moved from the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, but in the 1980s and 90s, there was a massive effort to clean up and restore the Bridge which culminated in the hiking and biking trail it’s most noted for today.
And, as with any good historical location, the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006, cementing its place in St. Louis history.
One other quick fun fact about the location was that the name ‘Chain of Rocks’ comes from a 17 mile stretch of rocky rapids on the Mississippi just north of St. Louis where the river is very difficult to navigate. While there is a dam covering this part of the river now, when the Bridge was built, this part of the river would have been easily identifiable.
For his part, Miles was a champ – easing back into cake hunting with some new smells and areas to investigate. We even walked about halfway down the Bridge to get a good sense of its glory before moving on to the next cake location.