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. This would be known as the Lemp family curse.
Start of the Curse, Frederick Lemp
The favorite son of William Sr was set to take over the family business. Big plans just as Frederick got sick.
They tried everything to save him, like an extended trip to California for the warm climate. Nothing worked and Frederick died at only 28 years old. Listed by some as “mysterious circumstances”. This created over-the-top legends.
From my limited research they all seem false. Frederick’s death was no mystery, just heart failure.
What is true 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.
Then another death when William’s close passes.
This 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 got cancer and died in that same master bedroom only 2 years later.
William Jr pushed on. Running the family business as best he could. But being a drunk made it difficult. He put more energy in to parties than the brewery. The business suffered.
And he constantly cheated on his wife Lillian who filed for divorce.
The divorce became a media circus. Stories of William’s cheating. He fought back, saying Lillian broke the “values of the time” by using foul language and wearing lavender in public for attention.
Lillian was award a record high settlement in 1913, and sole-custody of their son.
Then in 1920 Prohibition happened. Profits dropped from the leaderless Western Brewery.
More Suicide in Lemp Mansion – –
William Jr’s sister Elsa lived in the mansion after her marriage broke down.
Her relationship was over, then back on again. Confusing her emotions up until March of 1920. Just 11 days after her re-marriage she had a night of insomina. Elsa had a fit, took a gun and shot herself in the head inside the Lemp Mansion.
When asked, William Jr said of his sister’s death,
“That’s the Lemp family for you!”
2 years later, 1922, William Jr gave up.
He sold the Brewery for next to nothing. Then just a few months later followed his father and sister. 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. It failed.
He died of a heart attack at the age of 42.
Then Uncle Charles Lemp, brother to William Jr, became the final descendant of the St. Louis family to live inside the Lemp Mansion. This unmarried bachelor moved in with his dog.
DARK FACT :: Charles Lemp planned his suicide
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. Explained how he wanted things handled after his death. And 8 years later in 1949 the final act of the cursed 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.
He made it known in his will. Upon his death all items from the house 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. At the same time people smell cigar smoke 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, staring out the window. She was surprised to see someone else in that early. The dedicated server called out, “Sir, would you like a cup of coffee?”
The waitress looked away to turn on a light, and back when 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.