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 ūüôā

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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.

 

 

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Sap-Sap-Sap-Sappington! – Thomas Sappington House #102

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So do you ever just feel a little crazy? A little off the rails, so to speak? Well for some reason, when planning this post, for no logical reason, all that kept coming to mind was the gloriously insane character from Disney’s The Sword in the Stone¬†– Madam Mim. In particular what kept playing in my head was her chant to a young Arthur, who happened to be a bird at this point in the movie, (usual Disney stuff, you know) about being insane, giving herself the title of the Mad-Mad-Mad-Madam Mim. Here the clip, if you wanna refresh your memory or just enjoy a little taste of what goes on in my mind sometimes.

 

Anyway like I said that has literally nothing to do with Cake #102 at the Thomas Sappington House other than the fact that Thomas’ last name fits the same rhyme scheme as Madam Mim’s, and the cake at that location happened to be the second cake on our adventure, so here we are.¬†IMG_2437

IMG_2431The Thomas Sappington House is located in Crestwood just a little hop over from the Kirkwood Train Station. The Sappingtons moved to the area just after the Louisiana Purchase and built several homes around town. Of those homes, this is the only one that has been preserved and is open to the public. Built in the early 1800s the Thomas Sappington House is supposedly the oldest brick house in St. Louis County Рpretty impressive stuff! IMG_2435

 

Also on the property, which is gorgeous to walk around, and which Miles and I took full advantage of, is the Library of Americana and Decorative Arts which showcases a unique piece of American history and the decorative arts. There is also a cute little restaurant on the property called The Barn which I recently dined at with a fellow – though currently not written about/given a cool name yet – cake hunter. And I will say, the food there was delicious!

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Cake #102 at the Thomas Sappington House

The Thomas Sappington House is also adjacent to Grant’s Trail (which also got a cake of its own, but more on that later!) which you can sort of see behind the cake in the picture above.

And while I think that having the trail so close to this historic landmark is a great idea and most certainly has brought interested bike riders and walkers to the House and restaurant, on that beautiful day when Miles and I were cake hunting, the trail provided more than a few distractions for a curious little pug who just wants to say hello to everyone who passes by.

 

From Trainwreck to Train Station – Kirkwood Train Station #101

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Cake #101 at the Kirkwood Train Station

The next few cakes on the list hold a special place in my heart because when I was doing the actual cake hunting, in 2014, I was living in a pretty sketchy apartment in Maryland Heights (by the Trainwreck Saloon…get it?). But when I went out to Kirkwood to see these cakes, I remember being so impressed with the area that I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I wanted to live there one day. Well fast forward two years, to 2016, where, as luck would have it, I’m now living just down the street from several of these cake locations. Definitely an upgrade!

 

IMG_2423But let’s go back, back before I was all settled in my new place, and even back before Miles James and I scouted out the cake at the Kirkwood Train Station, way back to 1852, when the land that was to become the Kirkwood Train Station was acquired. On May 11th, 1853 the first train pulled into the Kirkwood Train Station and due to the popularity of that stop, Kirkwood (named for the chief engineer of the Pacific Railroad, James Kirkwood) became the first planned suburb west of the Mississippi and the area around the train station was built up to accommodate this new suburb.

IMG_2424The original structure of the train station hung on for about 40 years but in 1893 the wood structure of the train station was replaced with more permanent and sturdy stone. The train station was active for many years until in 2003, due to budget cuts, Amtrak decided to remove all station agents from the Kirkwood train station which would seem to derail the use of the station. However the city rallied around the train station and bought it from the Union Pacific Railroad choosing to staff the train station with volunteers from the city itself instead of paid workers which has worked so well that it is still how things are run there today.

As a resident of Kirkwood, I pass the train station quite frequently, but on a recent trip to some local Kirkwood shops, Mercutio Krispytreats and I even stopped inside the train station to poke around for a bit. The train station still retains a lot of its old time charm and even has a little library where you can pick up a book before your train departs, but Mercutio gave me a stern look when I tried to take one myself, so I did not bring back a souvenir from that trip, but there will be more!

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Cake #101 at the Kirkwood Train Station 

As for Miles James, he enjoyed this adventure in particular because not only was this his first cake hunt in quite a while, but when we stopped at the train station to take a commemorative photo with the cake, all the little old ladies who were passing by stopped to pet him on the head and tell him what a good boy he was, so he was pretty pleased with the area as well.

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Note the puppy face in the rear view mirror.

Plus on the way to the next cake, I happened to see a piece of art in the middle of a median that I wanted to get a picture of. And since we were stopped at a stoplight when I reached for my camera, Miles decided to take that opportunity to jump into my lap and see the artwork as well. Needless to say, we were both feeling the call of the Kirkwood even during that first trip to the area.

 

Cake Monster Gives a Lesson in Architecture – Frank Lloyd Wright House #22

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Just a short car ride from the AKC Museum of the Dog is the Frank Lloyd Wright House, the next stop on our adventure that afternoon.

Cake #22! At the Frank Lloyd Wright House

Cake #22! At the Frank Lloyd Wright House

While this Cake Monster knows many things – mostly cake related – one of the things I admittedly do not know very much about is architecture. So¬†after Mercutio, WD and I pulled up to this cake and admired the geometric designs on the sides and top (and the delicious(?) looking orange “icing”), I made a mental note to research just what this house looked like, since the cake was at the bottom of the hill leading up to the house,¬†and why it was such an important stop on the Cakeway to the West (…how I wish I could take credit for that awesome name!!).

wpid-20140315_171502.jpgThe Frank Lloyd Wright House located in Kirkwood, MO is also¬†called the Kraus House after the couple (Russell and Ruth…aww!)¬†that lived in the house for about 40 years.

The house was one of a series of about sixty houses created by Frank Lloyd Wright¬†called Usonian Homes. These types of houses are single story houses¬†most of the time without¬†a garage that were¬†usually created¬†in an L-shape which would fit around a garden or other such area. According to Wikipedia.com (ugh! the English major in me is cringing for citing Wikipedia, but…), “A strong visual connection between the interior and exterior spaces is an important characteristic of all Usonian homes” (…ok, that wasn’t that bad).

Below are some images of what the house in St. Louis looks like.

Picture source:  tripadvisor.com

Picture source: tripadvisor.com

Picture source: stlouistours.net

Picture source: stlouistours.net

In the photo on the right, you can really see the unique shape of the house as well as the solar panels on the roof which were also a part of a lot of the Usonian homes.

The word Usonian itself was Wright’s way of referencing¬†this type of American¬†home design¬†because, according to Wright, there was no previous conventional American style which gave him the freedom to create something new and spectacular.

Again, according to Wikipedia.com (*cringe*), “Wright believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture.” I think the house here St. Louis is a great example of this philosophy.

One last thing for today’s lesson¬†–¬†check out the crazy, awesome¬†floor plan for the house in St. Louis.

Picture source: ebsworthpark.org

Picture source: ebsworthpark.org

I think that, after seeing that floor plan, and learning about this house, this Cake Monster just added one more thing on her to do list (after seeing all the cakes, of course!).