Located in St. Louis, Missouri is the Lemp Mansion, completed in 1868. Not too far from the mansion is the Lemp Brewery. Both began with a family passion and legacy but throughout the years, darkness and death threatened to end what they worked so hard to build.
In 1838, the Lemp family began when Johann Adam Lemp arrived in St Louis from Germany. He built a grocery store, selling regular household items, groceries, and homemade beer as the recipe was handed down to him from his father. Two years later in 1840, he quit the grocery business and built a brewery at what now stands to be the Lemp Brewery near the Gateway Arch. He introduced St. Louis to their first lager when he sold beer in a pub that was attached to the brewery. He soon found out though, that the pub was too small to handle the production and storage of the beer. He found a limestone cave south of the city as it provided the perfect conditions for the lagering process. With hard work and dedication, the Lemp Western Brewing Co. flourished and in 1858, the beer won first place at the annual St. Louis fair.
After Adam Lemp’s death (August 25, 1862), his son William began to majorly expand the brewery. He purchased a five-block area above the caves and around the storage house and in 1864, a new plant was completed at Cherokee Street and Carondolet Avenue. The brewery continued to expand until it covered the five blocks. The brewing company continued to maintain its position until prohibition.
In 1868, William’s father-in-law built a house a short distance away from the brewery and eight years later, William purchased it to use for a family residence and an office. Below the mansion, a tunnel was built to connect to the brewery and the caves. After mechanical refrigeration became available, parts of the cave were turned into a theatre and an auditorium and later, a swimming pool would be added with warm water along with a bowling alley.
When the popular ‘Falstaff’ beer was introduced, the Lemp Brewery became known nationally and the beer is still being brewed today by a different company. The brewery became the first to partake in the coast-to-coast distribution of beer. Meanwhile, William Lemp, Sr. helped Busche and Anheuser get started on their brewing journey. Although, while success was high, the Lemps faced their first family tragedy when William’s most beloved son, Frederick Lemp, died at the age of 28 of heart failure in 1901. William Lemp was devastated as he began to hide from the world, rarely being seen in public after. Three years later, William’s closest friend, Frederick Pabst, also passed away, leaving William to tend to the brewery alone, though his attitude towards it grew to be more indifferent. But he still went to work every day, albeit nervous and overwhelmed. As grief consumed him, his physical health began to decline and on February 13, 1904, William Lemp ended his own life with a gunshot to the head.
In November of the same year, William Lemp, Jr. took over the role his father once held as president of the William J. Lemp Brewing Company. He inherited a great fortune, for he and his wife, Lillian spent their riches on clothing, art, carriages, and filled the home with servants to tend to daily household tasks. When William Lemp, Jr. began to grow tired of his already-wealthy, beautiful wife, he urged her to spend her time shopping, giving her $1,000 a day, stating that if she didn’t spend it all, she’d get no more. It was during this time that he would run the brewery during the day and would host parties at night in the caves, entertaining his friends with a slough of prostitutes. One day, his lavish activities caught up with him when he was introduced to another son born from a different woman, not his wife. There is no official documentation of this boy existing, however, many believe he was, in fact, real. Rumors arose that the boy was kept in the attic, locked away for his life because he had down-syndrome as many people thought of the boy as an embarrassment, so they locked him away as to not tarnish the Lemp family name.
This young boy is one of the spirits that is said to haunt Lemp mansion, as many refer to him as “Monkey Face Boy.” Another soul is that of William Lemp’s daughter, Elsa, as she shot herself like her father in 1920, apparently over the downfall of her marriage. Two years later, William Lemp, Jr. began to feel overwhelming grief and pressure and shot himself in the same place his father had eighteen years prior. But this wasn’t all, William Lemp III, died of a heart attack at age forty-two and one of William Lemp, Jr.’s brothers, Charles, committed suicide, shortly after the death of William Lemp, Jr.’s son, the one who had been locked away. The last Lemp, Edwin Lemp, remained until he passed at the age of 90 in 1970, due to natural causes. It was then that the Lemp family died out. They’re buried at the Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.
Today, the Lemp Mansion serves as a restaurant and inn, capturing the hearts and curiosity of those who enter. But while renovating the home in the ’70s, many employees and workers claimed to have seen apparitions and heard odd sounds. Tools would often disappear and they would always feel like they were being watched. Frightened by the ongoing phenomena, many would leave and never return.
The soul of William Lemp, Jr.’s illegitimate son is said to haunt the attic of the home as his face has regularly been spotted from the street, peering out the attic window. Paranormal investigators often leave toys in the attic and draw circles around them to find them moved or in another location the following day.
In the downstairs women’s bathroom, once belonging to William, Jr., many women report seeing a man peeking over the stalls. After debunking possible explanations, they believe this to be William Lemp, Jr.’s spirit, given his womanizing past.
In William Lemp, Sr.’s room, people often report hearing someone sprinting up the stairs and kicking the door. When he shot himself, his son, William had run up the stairs to find it locked and had kicked the door in to find his father. Could this be a residual haunting?
The Lemp Brewery takes part in a haunted house attraction, during the autumn months, taking advantage of the spooks and hauntings by adding some more scares. Tickets and dates can be found HERE.
Due to the tragedy and the loss that the Lemp family endured, it’s likely they aren’t at rest as many believe they still reside, walking the halls of the Lemp Mansion and Lemp Brewery.
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Disclaimer: The information above is a combination of prior knowledge and research. No works were plagiarized, only referenced as a source of information. While anyone is welcome to comment, I attempt to make this a positive and friendly community where we can share our experiences. Any derogatory or negative comment(s) will be deleted. As always, reader discretion is advised.