The Lemp family experienced family upset,
turmoil and drama, despite their wealth and fortune…
This impressive, early 1860s 33 room Victorian mansion has a basement, three floors and an attic room, which has been made into two bed rooms.
The Attic: The Downs Syndrome son of William Lemp Jr. was kept in the attic room, hidden from view.
Third floor: The servants quarters were on the third floor, as was Else’s room.
The Elsa Lemp Room – Is located on the top floor with a great view of the city of St. Louis and Mississippi River. Features a working fireplace and one of a kind furnishings. Described as beautifully done, sure to please even Elsa.The downs syndrome son of William Lemp Jr. was kept in the attic room, hidden from view.
second Floor – Most of the family bedrooms were on the second floor. Today the Lemp Mansion Bed and Breakfast has made some nice suites for their guests to stay and enjoy: “Spend the Night Where Beer Barons Slept!”
The Lavender Suite – in honor of Lillian Hadlen Lemp, “The Lavender Lady.” This is a 3 room suite: A breakfast-sitting room, bed and bathroom which “recreates the elegance of the Gilded age.” In the sitting room and the huge bathroom, there are two ornate mantles, copper & brass chandeliers and hand-painted wall detailing. One finds fixtures of Italian marble and a white granite shower stall with brass piping in the bathroom.
The William Lemp Suite – Consists of bed and sitting rooms with decorum and splendor that the original residents, William Lemp and his wife would surely be pleased with. Splendor and romance abound in this room. Besides having “rich carpeting, authentic chandeliers and vintage marble -topped walnut furniture,” the suite has a glorious view out the front window of the massive Lemp Brewery, a lovely view out the window by the breakfast sitting room of the beautiful terraced courtyard, garden area and gazebo, used for outdoor weddings. The old coach house can be seen as well, where the family’s champion horses were stabled.
The Charles Lemp Room – Reflects his artistic taste for art deco and post-depression periods in this bedroom. Furnishings include a “queen-size bed, massive wardrobe, Icart prints and other antiques.” Walls are done in plum-burgundy, which look good with hardwood floors and “vintage light fixtures.”
First Floor Rooms – There is a glorious wooden staircase which begins in the first floor entry way and connects all three floors.
The room left of the staircase is the bar, where entities have been known to hang out with the living.
One of the mansions many dining rooms is located in the first floor living room, which is where Tom and I ate dinner one evening. The interior has been restored beautifully, and has been kept in great shape. Loved the grand staircase in the entry hall, which leads up to the floors.
By the way, we highly recommend the food served here. Tom and I were very tired, dressed in our work clothes when we arrived at the Lemp Mansion around 5:15 in the afternoon, absolutely starving to death!!! Though this upscale restaurant, where the waiters wear tuxes didn’t open until 5:30, we were seated immediately, waited on quickly and received our dinners in record time. The meal was fantastic! It was one of the best meals and service we received during our 6 1/2 week road trip, rivaling the food we ate in Savannah!
To the left of the first floor main entrance, is Lemp Jr.’s old office and William Lemp’s study, complete with an Italian marble mantle. It is now called the Lavender Lady Dining Room. On the wall are paintings of the Lavender Lady herself.
To the right of the main hall is the parlor, which has a hand-painted ceiling, and intricately carved mantles made of African mahogany. Next to the parlor was the atrium, which held exotic plants and birds, but now is used for private social events.
At the rear of the mansion,William Lemp Sr. had added on three room sized walk-in vaults, each measuring 13 feet high, 15 feet wide, and 25 feet deep where the Lemp Family through the years stored their vast collection of art, which was disposed of when the last remaining Lemp died, which was Edwin, at his request.
The Basement – The basement housed the wine and beer cellars, the laundry room and the kitchen, which has been modernized to handle the restaurant cooking. There is now a large dining room set up for large dinners for events and weddings in this basement area.
William Lemp Sr also dug an underground tunnel which ran from the limestone caves to the house, through the basement. When refrigeration was available for beer making, parts of the caves were converted for other purposes, including a natural auditorium and a theatre. This underground oasis would later spawn a large concrete swimming pool, heated with hot water piped in from the brewery-boiling house, and a bowling alley. The tunnel is now sealed up. Another now sealed tunnel ran underground to the brewery buildings.
The Lemp family story began in 1838, when Johann Adam Lemp immigrated from Eschwege, Germany, and settled in St. Louis, opening up a mercantile store. One of the products he sold was his own homemade, lager beer. Because people loved it so much, he started serving it out of a pub attached to his little plant. By 1845, his light, golden beer was really popular, so much so that he got out of the mercantile business and opened a brewery to just make and sell beer. This was the start of a hugely successful beer venture, Lemp’s Western Brewing Co.
He discovered limestone caves near Cherokee and DeMerit place, a perfect location to let the lager process “take it’s course.” When Johann died, in 1862, he left a fortune and a thriving business to his son, William J. Lemp Sr. a great choice to succeed him. William greatly expanded the brewery, and by 1870, controlled the beer market in St. Louis, as well as having national distribution. Needless to say, the Lemp family had money and power, and of course wanted an estate to show their prosperity, and create a place where they could enjoy the good life.
William J. Lemp, Sr.’s father in law, Jacob Feickert built the mansion in 1868, with the help of Lemp money, at a location which was close to the brewery which encompassed 5 blocks. William Lemp bought the place in 1876, and further improved the mansion into a Victorian manor. Also, From the mansion through the limestone caves to the Brewery a tunnel was built to connect it all. When refrigeration was invented, some of the cave space was converted into an auditorium, a theatre, a swimming pool and a bowling alley.
By 1892, the brewery was incorporated into the William J. Lemp Brewing CO, reflecting the business empire built by William J. Lemp Sr., which existed until 1919 prohibition, though the company began to go down hill much earlier in 1911 because William Lemp Jr. wasn’t much of a businessman. He didn’t keep the equipment updated or keep up with the newest industry techniques. Thus, when the smaller breweries melded into one large entity in St. Louis, bringing competition that William J. Lemp Brewing Co. wasn’t prepared to deal with, profits trailed off, putting the business in a slump. During this time, William Lemp Jr. remodeled the mansion to include offices on the first floor, and built a house in the country.
In 1922, William Lemp Jr. sold everything involved with the brewery for just a fraction of what these assets were worth the year before Prohibition.
After William Lemp Jr, died, his brother Charles transformed the mansion back into a family dwelling and lived there with two servants and the Downs Syndrome boy, known only as “Monkey-faced boy”. Charles still had money from his dad’s beer empire, and traveled a lot throughout Europe, before and after the war, taking up the family tradition of buying works of art. Charles, as he got older, showed signs of having a obsessive/compulsive disorder, exhibiting some really odd behaviors. The boy died in the ’40s at the age of 30, and Charles followed in 1949.
In 1949, the mansion was sold and became a boarding house for many years in a deteriorating neighborhood. It became harder and harder to get tenants due to the hauntings which started during this time. In the mid -1960s, a large part of the grounds was taken for the new Hwy 55. By this time, the Lemp Mansion turned into a flop house, probably on the path to a tragic end provided by the wrecking ball.
In 1975, the mansion was rescued, renovated, restored and turned into an upscale Bed and Breakfast, a fine restaurant and a place to hold events. Every Sunday night they also have Murder Mystery Dinner Theater.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
My My! The Lemp family sure experienced a lot of family upset, turmoil and drama, despite their wealth and fortune.
The old cliche, “Money doesn’t buy everything,” is true. Not one person in the Lemp family ever had to worry about money; there was always plenty of it, no matter the circumstances. Some members became independently wealthy from other ventures and situations. Others still had money left from the Brewery business. However, having money and power doesn’t prevent tragedy, poor health or shield from the consequences of having a tendency to develop mental illness, of partaking in a party life style or having a lack of disciplined or spiritual life. When events became too painful, many of them showed signs of depression /obsessive/compulsive behavior which led to a bad end. The only one who lived to a ripe old age of 90, was William Lemp Jr.’s brother, Edwin, who left the mansion long ago, enjoying a quiet life on his own estate, avoiding unnecessary stress from his eccentric family.
William Lemp Sr. never recovered from the death of his favorite son, Frederick, in 1901, who suffered from a health problem which finally killed him. Frederick was being groomed to take over the brewery, as he had a head for business, but that plan was snuffed out. William Lemp Sr. lost interest in the business, slipped into a depression and wound up shooting himself in 1904 in a first floor room of the mansion, setting a horrible example for his children, making suicide as a way to end one’s trouble and pain.
William Lemp’s wife – died of cancer in the William Lemp Suite.
The Lemp children fell under the spell of having a lot of money, and I suspect that they were spoiled, raised to be self-centered and totally unprepared to handle the ups and downs and consequences of life and of their own behaviors.
William Lemp Jr. became President of William J. Lemp Brewing Co. Yikes! What a choice. William Lemp Jr. was used to doing and acting as he pleased, whose very self-centered goal was to make himself happy. He and his wife got busy spending money like it was water. William gave his wife, Lillian Hadlen Lemp a budget of $1,000 a week, so it is reported. They had one son, William Lemp III, whom they probably lavished with material things. Not much is said about him.
In 1922, William Jr. was so depressed about selling off the brewery and the death of his sister, Elsa, that he shot himself in his first floor office in the mansion, which was the same room that his father killed himself.
Lillian Hadlen Lemp – She loved the lavender color and smell so much that she was known as the “Lavender Lady,” because she only wore lavender colored clothes, in imitation of the Carina of Russia. She loved William, but William Lemp Jr. had another character fault which probably hurt deeply the people who loved him, like Lillian. Though William Lemp Jr married her, a rich, beautiful trophy wife, he was a womanizer, and held some wild parties at night down in the caves, complete with “working girls.” William also slept with women in the master bed when his wife was out of town. She ignored her husband’s indiscretions, taking her mind off his bad behavior by concentrating on her own activities and in raising her son. Interestingly, it was William Lemp Jr. who had the gall to seek a divorce, which turned into a nasty, scandalous, city event in 1908, made complete with a custody fight over their son, William Lemp 111. All the dirty laundry was aired, which must have been mortifying for her personally.
“Monkey-face boy,” – William Lemp Jr. had a Downs Syndrome son, the result of an affair. Known only as “Monkey-face boy,” this innocent soul spent his entire life hidden away in the attic, ignored by all, and considered the shame of the family, not only because of his handicap, but also because he was a consequence of William Lemp Jr.’s party life style, which happened after his divorce. The 30 year old boy in the attic died sometime in the late 1940s, which is a long time to spend in one place. He was buried in the family plot, with just a simple marker, which says LEMP.
Elsa Lemp Wright – Was William Lemp Jr.’s sister, who killed herself on March 20, 1920, shooting herself in bed on the second floor. She was suffering from an internal painful condition and from the stress of a rocky marriage.
William Lemp III – In 1943, William Lemp III died of a heart attack at the tender age of 42. Perhaps he had inherited the same genetic disorder that also killed his uncle Frederick.
Charles Lemp and his dog – Charles was William Lemp Jr.’s brother. While living in the mansion over the years, he developed an obsessive/compulsive disorder. One day, a few years after the boy in the attic died, Charles shot his dog in the basement, though the dog’s body was found halfway up the back stairway, which goes up to the third floor. Charles then shot himself in his second floor room.
The Actions of Edwin Lemp – Edwin had instructed in his will for his servants to destroy all the art work his family had stored in the vaults which had been collected over the years, as his way of sticking it to his family, whose pride and joy was in their art collections. This alone must have had the entire Lemp family spinning in their graves. Edward was raised with this self-centered philosophy of doing what makes you happy. The art could’ve been sold and the money given to the city of St. Louis, or the art given to non-profit organizations. Instead it was burned in a self-centered fit of revenge. Too bad; the art could’ve been used to brighten the lives of others.
It is no wonder that The Lemp Mansion is considered the most haunted place in St. Louis. The first to know of the restless spirits were the people who lived here during the mansion’s boarding house days.
Residents complained about hearing footfalls all over the mansion, and knocking on walls and doors as well.
From 1975 – 1977, when the mansion was being renovated and restored to its former Victorian beauty, workmen reported paranormal occurrences.
Not only did they have supervision from the owners and on-site supervisors, but had some rather cranky anxious entities micro managing their efforts, not at all sure that this assembly of riff raff living could be trusted to fix their mansion.
The workers felt harassed by slamming doors, ghostly noise and experienced an uncomfortable feeling due to the oppressive atmosphere which permeated the mansion and the “burning sensation” of staring eyes.
A painter doing restorative work on the ceiling, felt an impatient presence watching his every effort, which drove him off the job.
The entity of Monkey-face boy haunts the third floor, attic hallway and storage room, still looking for a little love and attention.
Guests and staff have heard him speaking, “Come play with me.”
People on the street have seen a little downs syndrome boy peeking out of the tiny window in the attic.
Paranormal investigators have left toys in the attic bedroom in a marked spot. When they come back, the toy is always found in another part of the room.
Another paranormal investigator felt something tugging on his hair in the attic hallway, just outside the boy’s room.
The Main Stairway
Guests staying here have heard fast running of foot steps up the stairs and the sounds of someone kicking in a door. Perhaps, when Charles Lemp shot himself in his second floor bedroom, a servant ran up the steps and had to kick the door down to get to him.
Video of orbs going up and down the stairs have been taken.
A feeling of being watched from the main stairway is a common report.
The Back Stairway
The panting of a dog and the clicking of his nails, and the dragging of his chain can be heard on the stairway, still looking for his beloved master, Charles.
Second Floor – The William Lemp Suite
A white apparition of an older gentleman was seen with a two inch beard in the sitting room by the window, near the sliding door which leads to the bedroom.
A presence was felt near the mirror on the large clothes closet, a free-standing antique.
Second Floor – Lavender Lady Suite
A strong scent of lavender has been noticed, which sometimes permeates the furniture as well.
A shadow has been seen slipping through the crack in the bathroom door
The locked door to this room has been found standing wide open on several reports.
The piano on the first floor is played by a music-loving entity when the mansion is still. Rag-time is a favorite.
Bar – Drinks have been known to stir themselves. Glasses move and break by themselves as well.
Lavender Lady’s Dining Room
(originally William Lemp Jr.’s Office and William Lemp’s study)
An investigator from Missouri Ghost Hunters Society, was pushed out the door of this room not too gently by a male presence.
The paintings of people in this dining room seem to follow you around as you move.
Dining area in living room –
Guests have been touched by a presence not seen.
A full, lifelike apparition of a man is seen sitting at a table before the restaurant opens for meals. When asked by staff, what he was doing there, he vanishes before their eyes. Yikes. What a way to start your shift!
Downstairs Women’s Bathroom
(Just left of the dining area in the living room)
Many women have reported to staff of a solid apparition of a man peeking over the stall at them. This room was William Lemp Jr. private bathroom.
“Gates of Hell” in the Basement
An angry, fussy entity or two haunts the area.
The areas around the sealed off tunnel – which led to party central, is said to be haunted. The staff, who go down in the basement, call this tunnel area, the “Gates of Hell.”
Psychics sense an angry silent shadowy figure, intensely pacing back and forth in front of the sealed tunnel.
Basement Dining Room for large affairs
Out of the corner of his eye, one investigator spotted a white, misty apparition floating up by the archway. When he turned it disappeared, but a quick picture taken then revealed an orb.
The table cloths have been silently torn off the tables and the tables moved and disrupted, when people have their backs to them. Some entity doesn’t approve of the job done, doesn’t like the living eating in his area or that guests were required to eat in such a place- the basement!!!
The living sometimes feel a presence looking over their shoulder, to see what is being worked on.
Oh Yes indeed!
It is thought that five or 6 members of the Lemp family, an unknown entity in the basement and a dog still call the place home, being really pleased what the owners have done in restoring the mansion. With the exception of the grump in the basement, they willingly and cheerfully share their mansion and their rooms with guests, staff and even ghost investigators.
As the Lemp Mansion seems to be ghost central, many paranormal investigating groups have done and continue to examine and collect data, which certainly supports the Lemp Mansion’s reputation of being home to members of the Lemp family and a dog!
For Example: G.H.O.S.T.S. “Photos and videos of orbs have been captured. EVPs have also been recorded. Various anomalous readings have been detected by EMF and Tri-Field meters, and by infra-red non-contact thermometers.”(stlghosts.com/cases/lemp1.html)
3322 DeMerit Place,
St. Louis, MO
The Lemp Mansion Inn and Restaurant is located on DeMerit Place, near the cross streets of Texas and Cherokee.
Situated in a formerly well-to-do residential area, it sits on the edge of a small hill giving it a lovely view of St. Louis and the Mississippi River.
- Lemp Mansion Restaurant and Inn Brochure
- Haunted Places: The National Directory: by Dennis William Hauk, 2002, The Penguin Group
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr
Special Thanks to Nate Lee for some of the photographs