Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Inside Inn, Smile Soda, and More!

Inside Inn
The official hotel of the 1904 World’s Fair, the Inside Inn was the only hotel located on the grounds of the famous event that brought the world to St. Louis. Located near the present-day intersection of Oakland and Hampton in the Forest Park, the Inside Inn contained 2,257 rooms and could accommodate more than five thousand guests. The hotel also contained shops, salons, restaurants, and many other amenities that made visiting the fair as convenient as could be. Like many of the World’s Fair buildings, the Inside Inn was a temporary structure that was demolished shortly after the fair concluded.

Jefferson Boarding House
Another one of restaurant critic Joe Pollack’s “Class of 1972” restaurants that are remembered today for improving the city’s culinary scene, Jefferson Boarding House was the creation of legendary chef Richard Perry. Opening in the early 1970s at the northwest corner of Utah and South Jefferson, the Jefferson Boarding House offered a unique dining experience with planned meals, scheduled meal times, and specific seating. The food was traditional, but it was the best traditional food you could get. Meals included soup (served from ladle), lamb chops, beef and chicken dishes, and some of the most delicious desserts in town.

Papendick’s Bakery
Founded in 1893, the Northside bakery once known as Papendick’s was one for the history books. It was in this bakery that Gustav C. Papendick revolutionized the baking industry by improving an invention that everyone takes for granted today: sliced bread. In 1912 Otto Rohwedder introduced the first bread-slicing machine to the world, but his invention wasn’t perfect. It sliced bread, but it overlooked packaging and customers wanted bread wrapped and ready to take home. Sensing opportunity, Papendick bought Rohwedder’s crude machine and improved it by implementing a cardboard tray system that kept the slices together long enough to be wrapped and sealed in wax paper. Papendick’s variation was an instant success and everything else became “the greatest thing since sliced bread.”

Smile Soda
In 1930 St. Louis could count no fewer than fifty local producers of carbonated beverages. One fo them was the Orange Smile Syrup Company, which opened in 1929 at 2101 South Ninth Street. For nearly thirty-five years, Smile produced St. Louis favorites such as orange Smile and Buster Cola. Smile may be gone today, but advertisements such as “Drink Smile, Refresh with a Smile” can still be seen on the field exterior of the Smile Factory’s former building in the Soulard neighborhood.

Forest Park Highlands
With memorable rides like the Comet, the Racer Dips, Little Toot, the Cuddle Up, and the Aero Jets, Forest Park Highlands was the premier amusement park in St. Louis for nearly seventy years. Known as “the Big Place on the Hill,” Forest Park Highlands was located on Oakland Avenue just south of Forest Park. Along with dozens of spine-tingling rides, the park boasted a swimming pool, a dance hall, and a decadently unique ride named “the Flying Turns.” Also known as the Curves, the bobsled-like ride spun cars around in circles as they descended a path of high-walled curves. Despite years of success in the 1940s and 1950s, the end came quickly for the Highlands when a fire engulfed the park in July 1963. With more than 250 firefighters needed to put out the blaze, only the roller coaster and carousel survived. Today, the site is occupied by Forest Park Community College.

Montaldo’s
An elegant laddies apparel store located on Maryland Plaza in the Central West End, Montaldo’s was a staple high-end shopping in St. Louis for more than forty years. A specialty shop started in 1919 by sisters Lillian and Nelle Montaldo, Montaldo’s was famous for fine ladies nothing and exceptional customer service. Lillian Montaldo believed that “whatever is exceptional in quality and design must be offered to Montaldo’s customers.”

Information from Lost Treasures of St. Louis by Cameron Collins