History of Lemp Mansion
Built in the 1860’s by the head of the local Western Brewery, Lemp Mansion served as the family’s home and remote office. The German descended William Lemp would become legend when installing the first refrigeration unit in any brewery, anywhere.
The family business boomed until the early 1900’s, when tragedy began what would be known as the Lemp Curse.
Start of the Curse, Frederick Lemp
The favorite son of William Sr was set to take over the family business. Big plans were put in place just as Frederick got sick.
They tried everything to save him, including an extended trip to California for the warm climate. Nothing worked and Frederick died at the young age of 28.
Some listed the death as “mysterious circumstances”, which caused over-the-top legends. But they seem false in our limited research. Seems like Frederick’s death was not mysterious at all, just heart failure.
What is real is how hard William Sr took his son’s death.
For years he went through the motions, coming to work, sitting at his desk, lost in thought and distraught. Then William’s close friend dies, and that leads to February 13, 1904.
When in the master bedroom of the Lemp Mansion, William Sr shot himself in the head.
The Tragedy Continues – –
William Sr’s widow, Julia, then got cancer and died in that same master bedroom just 2 years after her husband’s suicide.
William Jr pushed on, running the family business but with a bad reputation. Everyone knew he was a drunk, that he put more energy in to parties than the brewery. The business suffered.
And he constantly cheated on his wife Lillian, who then filed for divorce.
It became a media circus, with stories of William’s cheating ways, him countering with how Lillian broke the values of the time by using foul language and wearing lavender in public for attention.
In 1913 Lillian was award a record high settlement and sole-custody of their son.
Then in 1920, Prohibition happens and profits dropped from the leaderless Western Brewery.
More Suicide in Lemp Mansion – –
William Jr’s sister, Elsa, who lived in the mansion after her marriage broke down.
Her relationship was over, then back on again. The confusing love was sealed in March of 1920, then only 11 days after her remarriage, Elsa shot herself in the head after a night of insomnia.
When asked, William said of his sister’s death,
2 years later in 1922, William Jr gave up. He sold the Brewery for next to nothing and a few months later followed in his father’s and sister’s footsteps.
While sitting in his office inside the mansion, William shot himself through the heart.
Fighting the Curse – –
William the III (William Jr’s son) tried to bring back the brewery after Prohibition. Starting his own business and attempting to utilize the family name. This failed.
He died of a heart attack in at the age of 42.
Then Uncle Charles Lemp, brother to William Jr, became the final descendant of the St. Louis family to live in the house. The unmarried bachelor moved in with his dog.
The recluse never entertained, rarely went out and was known as an angry man.
Then in 1941, Charles did something strange. He sent a letter to a local funeral home explaining how he wanted things handled after his death.
Only 8 years later, in 1949, the final act of the cursed Lemp family occurred. Charles Lemp killed his dog before taking his own life inside the Lemp Mansion.
It’s Over – –
The final son of William Jr lived a normal life far away from the Lemp Mansion.
It was well-known that upon his death, all items from Lemp Mansion were to be destroyed. Not confirmed, but many believe this was his way to “end the curse”.
The Atrium room once housed the family’s exotic plants and birds. Visitors to the house will still hear song birds in this room.
A ghost has been seen at the dining room table reading a newspaper, and cigar smoke has been smelled from the main hallway.
Opening the Restaurant – –
Today a restaurant and Inn, workers have been witness to some interesting experiences. Including a waitress coming in early to open.
She sees a man sitting at one of the tables, his back to her as if looking out a window. She was surprised to see something in there that early, but every the dedicated server she called out, “Would you like a cup of coffee?”
The waitress looked away to turn on a light, then back and she jumped. The room was empty, the man gone.
Unrest – –
Poltergeist activity puts the house at risk when it’s closed at night. The ghosts are blamed for lighting candles and ripping table cloths to knock things over.