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.

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Getting Our Kicks – Old Chain of Rocks Bridge #135

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IMG_2639After 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.

IMG_2638The 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!

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                                                                     Cake #135 at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

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.

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                                                                                          Cake #135 at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

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.

IMG_2642One 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.

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                                                                         Cake #135 at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

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.

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Party On – Castlewood State Park #134

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                                                                                             Cake #134 at Castlewood State Park

The day was winding down. Mercutio Krispytreats, Palmetto Joseph Ray-Ban and this Cake Monster had traveled all across West County in search of cakes and had succeeded. With the cake at Castlewood State Park in Ballwin, where we completed our caking hunting adventure, we had seen 9 cakes in all and had created countless punny songs about our adventures.

Unbeknownst to at least this Cake Monster at the time, Castlewood State Park actually used to be a pretty happening place. While the park is well known for its hiking and biking trails and just general great views of nature, starting as far back as 1915, Castlewood was a resort of sorts with folks traveling in to spend some time in nature, enjoy the sights, and generally get their party on.

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                                                                                                                    Cake #134 at Castlewood State Park

Legend even has it that there were multiple dance clubs within the boundaries of the park that were a pretty strong draw for St. Louisans looking to get down with their bad selves.

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                                                                       Cake #134 at Castlewood State Park

For Mercutio, Palmetto and this Cake Monster, the only partying was done in the spirit of celebration as we congratulated ourselves on a cake hunt well executed and a long day come to an end.

And so with the final cake of our hunt in the rear view mirror, we headed for the only place that was fitting for 3 famished cake hunters – Raj’s Rasoi in Maryland Heights, which, just like Castlewood State Park’s partying days, was too good to last for long (aka they closed their doors not too long after our celebratory meal, much to the sadness of this Cake Monster and Mercutio in particular 😦 ).

 

Hungry Like the Wolf – Endangered Wolf Center #133

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Cake #133 at the Endangered Wolf Center

Looking back on my favorite parts of cake hunting, right up there with tons of incredible adventures is finding out about crazy awesome places in Missouri (and even Illinois) that I had no idea were so close (for the most part) and so wonderful. And so it probably goes without saying that the Endangered Wolf Center is one of those crazy awesome places that I’m so thankful I was able to find out about through cake hunting.

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                                                                             Cake #133 at the Endangered Wolf Center

Background information time: In the 1960s and 70s Marlin Perkins was a TV personality who hosted “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.” Along with his wife, Carol, Marlin turned his attention in the early 70s to helping the endangered wolf population and founded the Endangered Wolf Center on 63 acres of wooded land in Eureka, MO. Today the Center is still thriving and inviting the community to become educated about the plight of endangered wolves and what everyone can do to help out.

While all of this is super wonderful, the only sad thing about the Endangered Wolf Center, at least from a cake hunting perspective, is that the cake for this location was placed at the entrance to the Center which is barred from the rest of the actual wolf sanctuary by an electric fence that you can only go through with a pass and a reservation.

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                                                                                     Cake #133 at the Endangered Wolf Center

Understandably the center probably has it’s reasons for keeping security beefed up like this, but it was a little bit of a let down to come so far on our cake hunt only to be met with a sign for the Center and a fence but no actual wolves.

However, as we had already had a pretty prolific cake hunting day so far, Mercutio, Palmetto and I simply admired the cake, took our customary pictures with it and put our sadness behind us as we got ready for the last cake of the hunt, and our bellies reminded us that it had been a long time since lunch.

Highway to the Amusement Park Zone – Six Flags #132

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                                                                          Cake #132 at Six Flags

For this Cake Monster, there is nothing more reminiscent of childhood and early adolescence than summers and early falls spent at Six Flags. From getting a season pass from the Easter Bunny, to waiting until the first day the park opened, to doing my best to battle the summer humidity to look presentable for my season pass photo, so many summer memories started with Six Flags. And going to see Cake #132 at the entrance to the Park grounds with Palmetto and Mercutio somehow seemed to bring all of them back at once.

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                                                                          Cake #132 detail

Even though this Cake Monster wouldn’t be a patron until many years later, Six Flags St. Louis opened in 1971. In case you’re wondering, the six flags commemorated by the name of the theme park are the six nations that have governed the state of Texas (the birthplace of the theme park) including Spain, France, the Republic of Texas, Mexico, the United States and the Confederate States of America.

Six Flags St. Louis was one of the original three theme parks built and the only one of the three that still is around today.

Over the years the park has put new rides in (hello, Hurricane Harbor!) and taken old rides out, but the heart of the park has remained the same – and I still love me some Log Flume!

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                                                                 Palmetto, Cake Monster and Mercutio at Cake #132 

At the time of the cake hunt, the park was allowing cake hunters to access the Six Flags parking lot through a special lane used only for checking out the cake and moving along, so even without season passes, Mercutio, Palmetto and I were able to live a little bit of that summer life by spending time with the cake in front of the fountains that lead the way into the park.

 

 

As an interesting side note: once 2014 ended, the fates of the cakes were pretty uncertain. Some of the cakes remained at their locations while some were auctioned off to the highest bidder (usually a hardcore cake hunter who wanted a real piece of the action to add to their collection), and some, like the Six Flags cake, were refurbished and oftentimes given a new location.

The fate of the Six Flags cake fell into the last category as it was in need of a pretty much full scale repair by the time the year of the cake hunt was over. So it was re-imagined and repainted and given to none other than one of my favorite independent bookstores – the Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves! The interesting thing about this discovery was that the first time I stopped by the Novel Neighbor in 2015, I noticed the cake out front and took a picture because I thought I had never seen it before, but it was only when doing research on the Six Flags cake did I discover that the cake that stands outside my favorite place to go for local art and good books is none other than the Six Flags cake with a face lift! Small cake hunting world indeed! 🙂

Who Let the Dogs out? – Purina Farms #131

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IMG_2600Right, so when you think of Purina Farms, what probably comes to mind is a glorious sanctuary where all day long dogs run around obstacle courses and eat dog food and generally star in dog food commercials…..it’s not just me who has this fantasy, right?

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                                                                    Cake #131 at Purina Farms

Well regardless of the image you conjure in your own mind, this Cake Monster, (along with Mercutio Krispytreats and Palmetto Joseph Ray-Ban, I’m sure), pictured our trip to Purina Farms to be, well, at least a little more filled with animals than it was on the day we visited. In fact, the day we were there, we didn’t even see many other people outside of another possible cake hunter or two – not gonna lie, eeriness on top of disappointment is the beginning of the recipe for disaster.

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                                                                 Cake #131 at Purina Farms

But let’s back up a little bit: Purina has a long history, stretching all the way back to 1894 when it was founded by William H Danforth. Back then it was called the Robinson-Danforth Commission Company. The name changed in 1902 to Ralston Purina. In 1926 Purina Farms was founded to begin the process of testing both the nutrition level and taste-good-ness of the dog food the company was producing. Over the years Purina has continued to do research into the most nutritious and delicious food for all types of pets.

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                                                                      Cake #131 at Purina Farms

And now back to the story: so even though we didn’t get to check out any cool dog obstacle courses with dogs actually running on them, we did get to walk around the farm a bit and check out a few things without having to worry about dodging a crowd. Plus the cake for this location was especially cool and incorporated a pretty epic theme, so overall, I think we can count this adventure as a win – I will be back to see some dogs jumping over hurdles though!

 

Frankly, The Cake Hunting Mannequin Count Is Too Dang High! – Franklin County Courthouse #129

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Cake #129 at the Franklin County Courthouse

I like to think that with cake hunting there were cake locations along the way that were super interesting and were places that I’d likely never visit if it wasn’t for the opportunity to see a cake. And then…there were cake locations that just made me scratch my head and cross them off the list never really to be thought of again. Cake #129 at the Franklin County Courthouse falls into that second category.

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                                                                                           Cake #129 at the Franklin County Courthouse

Now don’t get me wrong, seeing a life size statue of Ben Franklin posed oh so sweetly on a park bench is fairly noteworthy, but other than that, the courthouse itself was unremarkable and not to mention closed when we arrived to see the cake.

Franklin County, if you couldn’t guess, was named for Benjamin Franklin and thus why his likeness sits outside the courthouse for all of eternity, just waiting to scare generations of cake hunters for the rest of time.

The county itself was founded in 1818 but the courthouse that now stands at the cake location was built in 1923 to replace the log cabin that had been used for the courthouse until then.

So, since none of the courthouse’s history seems all that different from the histories of other courthouses I’ve seen on the cake hunt, I’m assuming that the main reason for the cake placement was the statue, and despite my well documented fear of mannequins, Mercutio, Palmetto and I had a pretty good time taking some pictures with the statue version of Mr. Franklin – after lots of coaxing on their part to actually get me close to the mannequin long enough to take a picture with it.