One of St. Louis’s most haunted restaurants was once home to a successful family wrought with misfortune and suicide.
The History: The Lemp Mansion was built in 1868 with Adam Lemp and his family moving in eight years later. Lemp began brewing German lagers at his grocery store and founded the Western Brewing Company but Willaim J. Lemp Sr. is credited for building Western Brewing Company into the largest brewery in St. Louis. Despite the family’s success, their lives were wrought with misfortune. In 1904, William Sr. committed suicide after his son and best friend died by shooting himself in his own bed. in 1922, William J. “Billy” Lemp, Jr. shot himself in his office, which is now the front left dining room in the mansion. Elsa Lemp Wright (youngest child of William Sr.) shot herself in her bed after an unhappy marriage. And Charles Lemp (William Sr.’s third son) shot himself and his dog in 1949. He was the last Lemp to live in the mansion. The mansion has gone through many phases from offices to a boarding house. Today, it serves as a hotel and restaurant which hosts Halloween parties and murder mystery dinners.
The Haunting: Said to be one of the Top 10 most haunted places in America, the Lemp Mansion has its fair share of tragic history and ghost stories. Claims of paranormal activity date back to the 1970s as the mansion was being restored by the Pointer family. Workers would claim to see apparitions, hear noises, tools would go missing, and workers felt like they were being watched. Many would leave the job site, never to return. The mansion is said to be haunted by members of the Lemp family with most of the activity focusing on the stairway, the attic, and the basement. Claims have been made of William Jr. appearing in the downstairs women’s bathroom, and those staying in William Sr.’s room claim to hear the sound of someone running up the stairs and kicking their door (according to stories, when William Sr. shot himself, William Jr. came running up the stairs and began pounding on the locked door). The most famous story of the Lemp Mansion is of the Monkey Face Boy. According to legend, William Sr. had an illegitimate son with down syndrome who was locked away in the attack. People claim to see the boy looking out of the attic windows and when investigators leave toys in the attic for the boy, they are said to move to another part of the room by unseen hands.
There is definitely a heaviness when you enter the Lemp Mansion. A place that was wrought with so much tragedy is sure to absorb some of that energy and guests either staying at the hotel or dining in the restaurant can feel the weight of the mansion’s history. The Lemp Mansion embraces its spooky history offering a wide selection of ghost tours of the mansion as well as holding Halloween parties and murder mystery dinners. Guests are able to wander around to see the famous marble tub straight from Italy. Be on the lookout for shadowy apparitions and the sound of someone following you. And don’t be afraid to ask the staff about their experiences!
Many haunted locations tend to have a higher price range when it comes to their food and the Lemp Mansion is no different. Despite the fact that it’s in a bit of a rough neighborhood (some members of my group refused to accompany me because it was in the “bad side of town.”), the Lemp Mansion offers a fine dining experience with a variety of dishes to choose from. I ordered the chicken parmesan and it did not disappoint! Other dishes worth trying are the beef wellington, Wiener schnitzel (they were a German family after all!), and the seafood stuffed mushroom caps. They offer Sunday dinner “family style” and don’t forget that it used to be a brewery so make sure to order a beer!
Type of Experience: Hotel and restaurant
Dining Style: Casual-Dress Casual
Price Range: $5.90-29.90 (or market price)
Phone Number: (314) 664-8024
Hours of Operation:
Sunday Dinner: 11:30am-8:00pm
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