Saturday, August 30, 2014

#250: St. Louis County Courthouse

WOO-HOO! (in Homer Simpson mode) Cake #250!!! It still hasn't sunk in yet that I have now visited the first 250 cake locations. Unbelievable. I can't believe it. I've traveled far and away and close-together places, and here I am. But of course - this doesn't necessarily mean that I am done. At the moment there are 251 cakes, plus 2 that still need to be put out. The one that I missed, which likely will be #251, is Six Flags. I'll explain more about that in my future post.

So why did I choose the St. Louis County Courthouse as my grand milestone cake? Not very many reasons, but if you recall, this was one of my 'skipped' cakes. But not intentional. The other four cakes in Clayton were in my first ten. At the time all I had was the list on me and no app or map. I was mostly going by the city the cake was in, which is how I got those Clayton cakes. A few days later, when discovering the map...I noticed I pretty much walked by the cake location without noticing! So, needless to say, I was a bit bummed. Since May I have not any urge to go back to the hustle-and-bustle of Clayton. Well...until now. I'm still wondering why this has a St. Louis address when this is located in downtown Clayton. are the facts about St. Louis County and its courthouse, as well as its adjacent Police Department.
  • St. Louis County is the largest populated county in Missouri - just 2,000 short of 1 million!
  • County seat is Clayton
  • The county does NOT include the city of St. Louis, which is independent
  • The St. Louis County Circuit Court was established in 1815.
  • The city of St. Louis separated itself from the county in 1877.
  • The St. Louis County Police Department (which is also by the cake) was created in 1955.
  • And, for the record, the city of Clayton is named after Ralph Clayton, who donated land for this courthouse.
Another thing that might interest you - and surprise as well, the largest populated suburban cities in St. Louis County:
  1. Florissant
  2. Chesterfield
  3. Wildwood
  4. University City
  5. Ballwin

Remember, if I were to include the entire 'caking' region, most of those cities would be knocked off the list and be replaced with O'Fallon (MO), St. Charles and Belleville.

Did you know...there is a St. Louis County in Minnesota?
The courthouse building

A dedication to Buzz Westfall
And....the cake, which is located in (kind of) a hidden area. It's got an American and St. Louis flag theme. Very fitting, I'll say. This happens to be one of Rich Brooks' many cakes. He was very thrilled that one of his was my 250th.
Back side of the cake

Right side of the cake

Left side of the cake

Official website

7900 Carondelet Avenue, ST. LOUIS, MO, 63105  (it is actually located in downtown Clayton)
Cake artist: Rich Brooks

#249: Green Center

  • Was started by Mr. Aubrey Green in the 1930s; he built his home on the property in 1932.
  • The property had an orchard, which even at that time, was unusual.
  • Most of the property was purchased from the city of University City (after Green's death in 1995), and was named Kaufman Park after its former mayor
  • The house has been rumored to be haunted.
  • It is currently being used as a place for environmental and garden enthusiasts, as well as a laboratory.

The 'Global Roots Local Shoots' garden in the backyard

The Green Center house

Geometric dome

Green Center sign from the road

The cake on the front porch. I'm curious about the lions...
The cake, done by multi-cake artist Megan Rieke, is what I would probably expect, to be a green one along with a 'green theme':
Left side of the cake

Back side of the cake

Right side of the cake
NOW: The cake was sold by the Green Center (perhaps to help raise money for the place), and it was sold to Chris Davidson, who works at the Missouri School for the Blind. With the help of multi-cake artist Rich Brooks it was re-painted and it was placed at the Missouri School for the Blind.

Official website

8025 Blackberry Avenue, UNIVERSITY CITY, MO, 63130
Cake artist: Megan Rieke

#248: Grants Trail

Growing up and coming from Glen Carbon/Edwardsville, I am no stranger to bike/walking trails. After all, the Ronald Foster Bike Trail is one of the first 'rails to trails' in Illinois, and is still a fun place to ride and walk on. On the other side of the border and river in Missouri, I haven't experienced any until I ventured onto the Grants Trail.

Grants Trail is 8 miles long. I've been on most of the trails in Madison County, where some are longer than others. What makes Grants Trail stand out so much is that its more travel/tourist-friendly. You will always find signs of many things, plus some businesses that are off the trail have water jugs for animals. That's something you don't see on the Illinois side. I parked at the Sappington House & Museum after snapping the cake picture and walked a mile and a half to Grant's Farm, which is off the trail. (Hey, I wanted to dodge the $12 parking fee) Of course, had I known better, I could have parked at Applebee's too (off Watson Road). I also noticed that the trail is taken very seriously, as it has its own traffic signals on the major roads and highways. That's another thing you can't find on Illinois trails...just the yield and/or stop sign.
On my way to Grant's Farm. What? I got another mile?

A cool horizontal, far-away view of the trail, going east

A historical marking of Clydesdale Park (close to the cake)

Another area close to the cake and parking lot, with the Tesson Ferry overpass
Visit the website and it will give you a full-detailed version of what you'll see throughout the trail, as well as where to park and stop.

How do I get to the cake at Grants Trail? It's tricky. It is obviously off of Grants Trail, so if you happen to be walking, running or biking right by it, then....oh wait, you want to drive to get to it? No problem! When you're driving on MO Highway 21, or Tesson Ferry Road (depending on which direction), make sure you turn on Tiffany Square Parkway, which is a subdivision. When on that street, immediately turn right on Tiffany Village Court. Despite of the signs that say 'Private' and all, make sure you turn into the private road that leads to a parking lot to the bike trail. Here are the sides of the cake:
Right side of the cake

Back side of the cake

Left side of the cake

Top of the cake
NOW: The cake sold for $455 on 1/1/2015 (biddingforgood auction).

Wikipedia link
Official website

Located at Tesson Ferry Road & Grants Trail (see instructions above), ST. LOUIS, MO, 63123
Cake artist: Corinne Didisheim

#247: Grant's Farm

Now here's a place I haven't been to since my childhood days in the 80s. It was great to be back. Sure, there are a lot of things I didn't remember and obviously some things had to have changed since 1988.

Grant's Farm, is without doubt, one of the most notable places for families to get together and have fun. I wish I can say this is very travel and tourist-friendly, only because there are no signs off the interstate that point how to get here. Not everyone owns a GPS, you know! Another positive and negative: + it is free, - everything else costs an arm and a leg. You can pay for parking just right in front of the place or you can walk the trail and park somewhere close for free. Either way, its 'grant'ed a great time for anyone, regardless of age.
The entrance from the parking lot

Entrance to the Tier Garden at Grant's Farm
But just think, you can see several, I mean several, different animals you probably won't see anywhere else in America. You'll be able to see them out in the 'wilderness' all over the farm via tram. At the end of the tram ride, just walk around and enjoy nature and the animals. Or just head straight toward the Tier Garden. If you are 21 and over and drink alcohol, you can get 2 free samples of selected Anheuser-Busch brand of beer. It's a great social setting, with old German music playing in the background. Or if you're up for some history, check out some Anheuser-Busch memorablia in the rooms. And, of course, the cake is located here too!

You'll also get a lot of history. Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States, once farmed here in the 1850s before his Civil War days. His hand-built home is featured here, along with the Busch family mansion. (The land was purchased by the Busch family in later years). It was finally opened to the public in 1954, making this year (2014) its 61st year in operations.

Most of you know I am not an animal person, but I thought I'd share some pics I took during the tram tour

The bald eagle was not part of the tram tour, but right when you get off, you'll see them

The cake, which sits high in the tier garden. I was unable to get the top part, in which hopefully I wasn't missing out on anything!:  (Please note: in order to get this cake, you have to take the tram all the way around to the Tier Garden. In other words, allow yourself plenty of time. Likely 35-45 minutes average, from the time you get out of your car to here.)

Right side of the cake

Right and back side of the cake

Left side of the cake
Grant's Farm on FB
Wikipedia link
Official website

10501 Gravois Rd., ST. LOUIS, MO, 63123   (it is actually located in Grantwood Village)
Cake artists: Ian Greenlee and Julie Krovicka

#246: Sappington House Museum

The Thomas Sappington House was one of my last few final stops to 250. I ended up parking here in the early afternoon so I can easily access the Grants Trail to Grants Farm. It was, like, 95 degrees hot outside! But after all the exploring, it was worth dodging the $12 parking fee at the farm. It was about a mile and a half using the trail from the Sappington House to Grants Farm. Unfortunately, I didn't go in the restaurant, gift shop or take the tour. I hope to come back sometime down the road.

Who is Thomas Sappington, you ask? Here are the factoids:
  • The Sappington Family were early settlers of St. Louis County, during the final days of Lewis & Clark's expedition.
  • Thomas was a Revolutionary War veteran who served as George Washington's bodyguard at Valley Forge
  • The house was built in 1808 after Thomas' marriage to Mary Ann Kinkhead.
  • The Sappington Barn was built in later years, and is a model of a barn that once existed on the property in the 19th century.
  • The house was restored and by 1966, it was open for tourists. Still is to this day, as a reminder of what life was like during the 19th century in Crestwood and St. Louis.

Front of the Sappington House (from the road)

The cake, designed by the students of the Ursuline Academy of St. Louis (an all-girls private high school that is located in nearby suburb Oakland and is, fittingly enough, on Sappington Road):
Back side of the cake

Right side of the cake

Left side of the cake

Top of the cake, which reads Ursuline Academy's initials and a message: 'Go light your world'
NOW: As of 6/4/2015, the cake is still sitting there.

Official website

1015 S. Sappington Road, CRESTWOOD, MO, 63126
Cake artists: Ursuline Academy Students

Friday, August 29, 2014

#245: Webster University

Here's a cake that I had to go back to - since last time it was surrounded by a fence due to construction. Luckily I was able to get it on my last caking round. Whenever you get this cake, I say....good luck on finding a place to park!

About Webster University:
  • It is a non-profit, private, non-denominational independent university.
  • In 2014, about 22,000 students enrolled there. They came from all 50 states!
  • Founded in 1915 by the Sisters of Loretto as Loretto College, as an all-girls school.
  • The first male students were enrolled in 1962.
  • Webster's mascot is a Gorlok, which is a made-up creature with many features
  • There are other numerous spin-off Webster campuses all over the world, including in Switzerland and Mexico

The parking garage where the cake is located

Webster University sign
The cake, with a shoe theme, decorated by Megan Rieke:
Right side of the cake

Back side of the cake

Left side of the cake

Top of the cake

Webster University on FB
Wikipedia link
Official website

572 Garden Avenue, WEBSTER GROVES, MO, 63119
Cake artist: Megan Rieke