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We’re the stodgy Midwest. All the social innovation and hip trends start on the coasts. Right?  Then how to explain that the cocktail party wasn’t invented in Manhattan or Beverly Hills, but right here in the Central West End. Not only that, but playwright and poet T.S. Eliot, who lived here scribed a successful play in 1949, “The Cocktail Party.” Moreover, a 1917 St. Paul Pioneer Press story that says in May of that year, Mrs. Julius S. Walsh, Jr. of 4510 Lindell Blvd. invited 50 guests to her house at noon on a Sunday, serving drinks for an hour followed by lunch.  “The party scored an instant hit,” the Pioneer Press declared.  Within a matter of weeks, according to Wikipedia, “cocktail parties became a “St. Louis institution ” In 1924, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis bought the Walsh mansion and it has served as the local archbishop’s residence ever since. (Conventional wisdom credits Christopher Nevinson with holding England’s first cocktail party in 1924.)

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