66 Reasons to Love Saint Louis: No. 20, Lemp Mansion
Phillips 66 recently launched the “66 Reasons to Love St. Louis” campaign, a citywide scavenger hunt of STL’s most beloved shops, eateries, sports venues and culture spots. In partnership with the campaign, we sent our editorial interns out on the town to experience a few of the spots for themselves. Be sure to check out the incredible list, take a pic and check in on social during your visits with the hashtags #STL66 and #contest for a chance to win free gas (!) for 66 months. – ALIVE Editors
The old Lemp Brewery stands proud in the southern St. Louis skyline. It’s a monumental place as far as St. Louis’ proud beer tradition goes: It was the first to introduce lager to St. Louis and the first to distribute coast to coast, which says a lot about the power behind the now-somewhat decrepit infrastructure.
The brewery, currently used as rented-out practice spaces for musicians, was founded by Johann Adam Lemp and passed down to his son William Lemp. The latter Lemp expanded the family empire, bought a 33-room Victorian home for his family and built an underground tunnel from the mansion to his brewery. This masterpiece is what St. Louisans call the Lemp Mansion, and sitting on its hill off of Highway 55, it’s said to be one of the most haunted places in America.
Back in 2012, I joined a band that practiced at the Lemp Brewery. We were lucky enough to land an impromptu tour through the underground caves where the famous Lemp lager was brewed. Giant doors were bolted shut and boarded up. It was so dark you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face (we had flashlights). It was cold, creaky and there seemed to be a spooky, supernatural presence—or maybe that was my imagination getting the best of me, having just heard the Lemp family horror stories.
When William Lemp’s first son died, William’s health and sanity started to go. He took his own life later that year. It’s also whispered that he had another son with a woman other than his wife that they kept locked in the attic of their mansion, too ashamed to let him see the light of day—and there are other stories that will leave you with shivers. That’s why this place makes for the perfect destination around the end of October—check out the annual Halloween bash they put on (the more you know before you go, the spookier the fun!).
Today, the Lemp Mansion runs as a restaurant and inn, and the owners frequently host murder mystery dinners that locals clamor about. With an impressive lunch and dinner menu, and a suite named after William Lemp himself, a stay at the Lemp Mansion is something any St. Louis native or out-of-towner should try.
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