Sunday, July 20, 2014

#186: Carondelet Historical Society - Des Peres School

First, what is Carondelet? How do you pronounce it? Or what was it? I was having a conversation with someone the other day about it, and for many years I thought Carondelet was pronounced 'Karen delay'. Turns out there is NO right way of saying some of these French places in St. Louis. Carondelet is mostly pronounced Kuh-ron-duh-let.

Carondelet started out as a settlement in 1767 by French settler Clement Delor de Treget. Just remember, this was 3 years after the founding of St. Louis and this was before the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Louisiana Purchase. But what this current St. Louis neighborhood takes pride in is this school. If you've been to the St. Louis Walk of Fame then you've probably seen Susan Blow's name. This is where her influence comes in.

Side of the building

The front of the Des Peres school, or the Carondelet Historic Center

A closer look at the sign
The Carondelet Historical Society was founded in 1967, pretty much for the obvious preserve the heritage. It made perfect sense to do it at the home of the first publicly funded kindergarten of the United States - at Des Peres School. Susan Blow was and still is known as the 'mother of kindergarten'. However, she was not the first to think of such idea and coin the word, as that distinction belongs to Friedrich Frobel, who came up with the theory that children, while their minds are creative and developing at an early age, should start school earlier than we think. Public schools started springing up in the late 19th century. And in this building was the first public kindergarten in the U.S.

The building closed as a school during the Depression-era. It is currently in the process of restoration, going back to its 1870s style. 
Right side of the cake

Back side of the cake

Left side of the cake

April Morrison has put out some great cakes, but this one's definitely gotta take the cake! Pun intended, of course. First, I really dig the Letter People on the bottom. That really takes me back to my childhood. In fact, my age decade (30-somethings) are the last to enjoy such fun, cool retro programming. Also, what's very little known is that the Letter People was actually filmed at KETC Channel 9 studios back in the 1970s. I remember doing a one-day externship at the station, shadowing their personality Patrick Murphy (you've heard his voice a lot if you watch Ch. 9) and I asked him about the Letter People. I can recall him cracking up and saying that the two guys that created the show would hang out at the station all-day and night. He even said they were absolute hippies as well.

On top of the cake is a 3-sided look at the history of Carondelet as well as the school. Very unique!

Carondelet Historical Society on FB
Official website

6303 Michigan Ave., ST. LOUIS, MO, 63111
Cake artist: April Morrison

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