If you’re not into St. Louis history, this will probably bore you.

This past Sunday, Brian and I took a tour throughout St. Louis that centered around the Lemp family history.  Quick synopsis:  the Lemp’s started the first brewery in St. Louis and had a rather sordid, tragic story.  Amidst their insane wealth, they were wrought with suicides, untimely death, and other spooky stuff that makes them incredibly intriguing to me.  Like the Kennedy’s, whom I also can’t stop reading about.

As we drove around St. Louis for five hours or so, we traveled to places that were significant to the Lemp family including the family mansion, several of the family member’s homes, and lastly, the Bellefontaine Cemetery, which is the eternal home to more architectural wonders and interesting people than one person could see in an afternoon.  To see the details of where we went on this tour, click HERE.  It’s a locally-organized tour that we thought was worth the money.  Better yet, I’ve never wanted to explore a cemetery more.  Below is a gallery of some pictures I took along the way, with some descriptions of what you’re seeing.

Courthouse entrance used for William Lemp v. Lillian Lemp's nasty divorce proceedings. Quite the scandal in the 1900's. I like the turtles on the fence.

Brian and Adam Lemp's copper brewing kettle.

Entrance to Hortense Place in the Central West End.

13 Hortense Place - Home and scene of Elsa Lemp's suicide, or murder, depending on who you talk to.

On to Bellefontaine Cemetery - this was an underground vault in which the top portion slide back and forth for access.

The stately Busch mausoleum. It is stated in Lillian's will that the mausoleum must be cleaned every week, and the ivy outside replaced every other year. These instruction are followed religiously.

The opulent entrance to the Busch vault.

The inscription above the entrance reads: “Veni, Vidi, Vici” — or “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

Hops flowers and vines, to signify the beer baron and also his love of wine...Adolphus actually didn't like the taste of beer. A well-kept PR secret if you ask me.

Lillian Busch had her father, the one who contributed all the money to start the brewery, placed out behind the vault. It was weird standing over one of the most recognized names in St. Louis history.

The bronze entrance to the Lemp vault.

Mr. Lay (big important guy at Bellefontaine cemetery) pointing out the different family members and their final resting place. Which was totally weird to me that they were actually IN THERE.

Beautiful warped stained glass inside the Lemp vault.

Brian, checking out the electric switch. The Lemp Vault is the only vault in the cemetery to have electricity.

A stately resting place for the Lemp's.

A young millionaire, Ellis Wainwright, had this vault built for his young wife. He commissioned the job to Louis Sullivan, who was an instructor to Frank Lloyd Wright.

The bronze doors of the Wainwright vault...so interesting.

This woman escaped death on the Titanic, and subsequently helped break the news to the world about the sinking to a reporter from the Post-Dispatch. Go figure.

One of the founders of Brown Shoe....for Jillian.

I'm fascinated with old-timey light fixtures.

It's not often you see two corners of brick in such contrast. at least i don't. Those crazy Lemp's.

The Lemp Mansion, restaurant, and B&B. This concludes the tour.

The further we went on this tour, the more fascinated I became with the idea of this St. Louis and all the “clubs” and elite societies that once ruled this city.  They’re still around, but they seem to be pretty veiled.  I came home and promptly started Googling some stuff, and came across this article, “Dinner at the Club, Darling?“, which talked about how athletic and country clubs in St. Louis have evolved as our society and our values have changed.  The article is about five years old, but it was interesting to me, especially since we were married at the club that August A. Busch Sr. started after St. Louis Country Club repeatedly rejected him and they reference this societal snub in the article.  Needless to say, there were lots of interesting things learned this weekend about St. Louis.  And I will definitely be going back to Bellefontaine to shoot some architecture.

6 thoughts on “If you’re not into St. Louis history, this will probably bore you.

      • I would wager a good portion of the Lemp properties to be haunted. Especially the places where deaths occurred in the Mansion and Restaurant and 13 Hortense Place. A previous commenter will have to confirm since she currently resides in the home now.

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