815 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO, 63101 / Cake artist: Rich Brooks


After the Civil War, five different custom houses were built in different cities (Boston, Cincinnati, New York, St. Louis and Philadelphia). All of them were built to last, but by 1942 they were all torn down except for the one in St. Louis. Originally called the U.S. Custom House and Post Office, it was designed by architects Alfred Mullett, William Appleton Potter and James G. Hill. Mullett was inspired to make the building look like the Louvre in France. It has been occupied by many tenants, most of them government-related, including the U.S. Circuit Court (until 1935) and the Post Office (until 1970). The building was at one time considered for demolition during the 1960s and 70s. Many tenants are currently in the Old Post Office: one of the branches of St. Louis Public Library, Missouri Attorney General, Missouri Secretary of State, Missouri Arts Council, as well as an office complex for Webster University.

The sign
The sign in 2014

Cake placement date: February 22

Where is the cake now?: It was moved inside the building in 2015, where it is still on public display.    (February 2018)

Rich Brooks, the cake’s artist, on painting the cake: “I never thought about representing a building as a cake so when I got the assignment for the Old Post Office cake in downtown St. Louis, I really had the study what made this building to special. I hadn’t been in the Old Post Office and hadn’t visited it’s great halls. I didn’t realize where so many immigrants became citizens and legal Americans. I love the outside of the building with old fashioned streetlights. I surrounded the base with the idea of becoming Americans by using flag images to wrap part of the base along with the massive stairs leading up to the building. The statuary on top the building and inside the main hall were a fun challenge to re-create. The top of the cake represented the grid pattern of the ceiling in the main hall.”

Old Post Office on Facebook / Official website

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