Ruth Porter was one of the founders of the Greater St. Louis Committee for Freedom of Residence, which was started in 1961 to help integrate housing in St. Louis. She was a civil rights leader, and the NAACP named her the “outstanding woman of the year” in 1965. She died just two years later, but she has had a lasting influence. The park named in her honor is located along the St. Vincent Greenway, which seeks to connect local cities and the UMSL and Washington University campuses. It will also hopefully connect to the proposed Loop Trolley.
Liza Fishbone painted the cake at the park. It features a water theme. There are friendly water droplets painted on the cake and a somewhat frightening creature painted on the top of the cake.
Left Bank Books is an independent bookstore located in the Central West End. According to its website, it was founded in 1969. Today it remains locally owned, and it offers many interesting titles about topics that are sometimes difficult to find in chain bookstores. Left Bank Books also has a cat-in-residence whose name is Spike.
Peat Wollaeger painted the cake at the bookstore. It is covered in a multitude of eyes and a couple of grinning faces. All the eyes on the cake could only read a fraction of the books offered in Left Bank Books’ inventory, so stop on by sometime!
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The Central Institute for the Deaf (CID) is located in close proximity to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Dr. Max Aaron Goldstein, an ear, nose, and throat doctor, developed a dream of helping deaf children learn to talk. He founded CID in 1914 to provide a place where teachers, physicians, and scientists could help children who were deaf. CID started with four students, and it has grown in success and size. Recognized as the first auditory-oral school west of the Mississippi, it continues to make great strides in helping children who are hearing-impaired.
April Morrison painted the cake at CID. It features children with speech bubbles, which hearkens back to CID’s mission. The cake also celebrates CID’s 100th anniversary.
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St. Louis Children’s Hospital has a long history. It was first envisioned in 1878 when ten women met for an afternoon tea. Appoline A. Blair was the hostess, and she introduced the idea of a pediatric hospital. Everyone supported the idea, and they raised $4,500 over the following months. The hospital opened downtown on October 28, 1879, and it quickly grew. After numerous expansions and moves, it moved to its current location in 1984. Today the hospital continues to help patients, and it receives approximately 250,000 patients each year. It is also recognized as the oldest children’s hospital west of the Mississippi.
April Morrison painted the cake at the hospital. Its design is very kid-friendly, and it features mountains and a hot air balloon. A crescent moon is also painted on the top of the cake.
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Building off of Gaslight Theater, today’s cake celebrates the entire district of Gaslight Square. Gaslight Square had a short-lived but vibrant life as an entertainment district. The two blocks of Olive comprising Gaslight Square officially received its name on March 24, 1961. Laclede Gas Company installed 121 gas streetlights along Olive, and the district teemed with excitement. By 1967, Laclede Gas had shut off some of the lights for delinquent payments. Five years later, aldermen ended Gaslight Square and reverted it back to merely two blocks that were part of Olive.
Theresa Hopkins painted the cake that stands at the intersection of Boyle and Olive. Laclede Gas sponsored the cake, so it features a Laclede Gas theme. The back of the cake depicts men busily working, and the top of the cake hearkens back to Gaslight Square’s history.
The Gaslight Theater is located in the Old Gaslight Square District in the Central West End. According to the theater’s website, the Gaslight Square District originated primarily from brothers Dick and Paul Mutrux. They started one of the first saloons in the area, and it was named Gaslight. Gaslight Square flourished as an entertainment district in the mid-1950s and early 1960s. By 1962, property values in the district had tripled. The area subsequently declined, but it is on its way back. The Gaslight was rehabbed fairly recently, and today it is home to the St. Louis Actors’ Studio. It frequently hosts entertaining events, such as live music and comedy shows.
Alison Rieke painted the cake at the Gaslight Theater. The cake is full of pride of Gaslight Square. It features historical establishments from the district, as well as musical symbols that indicate the district’s importance today. The “250” is one of my favorite parts of this cake, but the top is also cool.
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Maritz primarily helps businesses increase their productivity. Edward Maritz started the company as the E. Maritz Jewelry Manufacturing Company in 1894. The business became one of the leading wholesale jewelry distributors. He even sold Swiss watches and silverware. After his death, his son James took over the business and saved it from the brink of bankruptcy by reconfiguring its purpose. Slowly the company became what is today. Its main function is to provide corporate services, and I’m not sure I entirely understand what Maritz employees do. However, their complex is huge, so they must be fairly successful.
Rich Brooks painted the cake at Maritz. It features a Route 66 theme, and the highway painted on the cake travels through the different seasons. The Arch and the starry sky behind it is one of my favorite parts of the cake, but I also like the little details like the person fishing.
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