1135 Route W, Sullivan, MO, 63079 / Cake artist: Rich Brooks
Meramec Caverns was opened in 1935 by Lester Dill, who discovered the current 4.6 miles of caves found. The caverns are believed by scientists and archaeologists to have existed for over 400 million years. It is also believed that Native Americans used them for shelter. Europeans explored the cave in 1722. 1864 Confederate troops hid gunpowder in the cave, and legend has it that the famous outlaw Jesse James and his gang used the caverns as a hideout in the 1870s (no evidence has been shown). In the 1950s and 60s, movies and TV shows were shot in the caves, most notably Lassie. Kate Smith once sang in the theatrical area. Of the over 7,000 surveyed caves in Missouri, it is the most visited cave in the state, with an estimated 150,000 visitors annually.
Cake placement date: March 7
Where is the cake now?: The cake was removed at the beginning of January 2015. Its whereabouts are unknown.
Notes: This was the most southern and western-most cake, and the farthest from downtown (as in from the Gateway Arch, 69 miles).
Rich Brooks, the cake’s artist, on painting the cake: “I tried to represent the astonishing stalactites and stalagmites in all their wonder. As many of you know, supposedly it was one of Jesse Jackson’s hideouts which was represented by two men in silhouette. Again it was along Route 66 with the painted barns advertising Meramec caverns. As I grew up I seeing many of those barns, I always wondered who got out there and painted those roof signs. Again I added my friends red Corvette because it sparkeld a road trip in my mind. It was a bright and colorful cake.”