The Lemp family is probably one of the most prestigious American families you’ve never heard of. The hard-working German immigrants made their fortune as beer brewers in 19th-century St. Louis alongside, and in competition with, the Anheuser-Busch family of Budweiser fame. However, despite their success, the Lemp family could not escape tragedy, as many died by suicide or “mysterious circumstances.”
The prominent family bought a plot of land at the highest point of St. Louis’s Bellefontaine Cemetery and constructed a large family tomb in which the deceased might peacefully rest. According to The Riverfront Times, the structure was completed in 1902 for $60,000, roughly the equivalent of $1.5 million in today’s money.
At present, the large mausoleum is less than half-full. However, according to some, there is still plenty of activity inside: Paranormal enthusiasts report seeing Lemp spirits walking around the tomb at dawn and dusk, suggesting that their tragic lives have left them unsettled in death.
If ghosts aren’t your thing, the Lemp Family Tomb is still a must-see for its significance to St. Louis and brewing history. In fact, you can make a day out of it by visiting the Lemp Mansion—now a restaurant and inn—or the old Lemp Brewery.
Know Before You Go
While you're at the cemetery, make sure to visit some of the Lemps' famous neighbors-in-death, including explorer William Clark, U.S. senator Thomas Hart Benton, and many notable St. Louis residents.