My St. Louis — the Gateway (and Cakeway) to the West
Amid all the news of civil unrest in the St. Louis area last year, the media lost track of the big positive story — St. Louis was in the midst of a year-long celebration of its 250th anniversary.
Part of the celebration — which ran roughly from Feb. 14, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015 — was a major community art project, the “Cakeway to the West.” Artists created 250 fiberglass birthday cakes to mark 250 historical (or other) points of interest in the St. Louis metro area. The cakes started at 250, but eventually grew to 252 official cakes. Rumor has it there were three or more rotating cakes that appeared in random locations at random times.
The birthday cakes appeared on lawns, sidewalks and plazas at the major cultural institutions, legendary businesses, government buildings, national monuments (e.g., Gateway Arch), schools, historic structures and sports stadiums. Most were decorated to celebrate the specific location. Some of the cakes were auctioned off on New Years Eve, some were still standing, as of March 2015, although the project wrapped up in mid-February. The cakes became the property of the site where they were placed. St. Louisans got behind the project in a big way, some making an effort to see as many cakes as possible in person. Did you miss them? If only there was a way to see all those cakes again. There is! Amateur photographer Matthew S. Nolan decided to take pictures of all the cakes and their locations and publish them in a book. At the request of his publisher, Bluebird Books, I wrote short profiles of each location and did production of the book. (Insert shameless self-promotion here.) 252 Years — 252 Cakes: The Definitive St. Louis 250th Anniversary Cake Book is now available at local bookstores and institutions and, in limited quantities, on Amazon. The 12” x 12” softcover coffee-table book is in full color (of course) and makes a great gift.
SALE LOCATIONS: The Book House (Maplewood)
Missouri History Museum Gift Shop
The Novel Neighbor
STL Style House (Cherokee Street)
Sweet Boutique (Clayton)
Webster Book Shop
World News (Clayton)
Architecture Institute of America
Women’s Exchange (Clayton)
— Eileen P. Duggan
Book photos by Matt Nolan