How Willaim J Lemp Set A Standard For St. Louis Breweries

William J. Lemp had already completed the two most important buildings in his brewery, the malt house, and brewhouse. The next task was to create an impressive public face for the institution on Cherokee Street and Second Carondelet Avenue. Although the 1866 brewhouse was functional, it did not have the same panache as the malt house. This house established a new architectural vocabulary at the Lemp Brewery. Lemp’s business grew and he needed more office space as well as steam power. He completed his campus by 1875 with expansions to meet these needs. The most striking thing about the brewery on Cherokee Street in Compton and Dry is its unification. While other breweries added to their facilities haphazardly during that time, Lemp Brewery seemed to have been designed with an overall master plan, most likely by Edmund Jungenfeld.

A quick overview of chronology is necessary before we discuss these buildings. The original brewhouse was built between 1864-1866. “Then were added in rapid succession the malthouse, which is one the best in the United States, then offices and finally the east front and brewery and ice houses, the entire establishment covering only one block of ground.” 1 Source also indicates that the malthouse was completed in 1874. This means that the remaining physical plant was finished in just one year. Although the author suspects that the official timeline might be incorrect, it is possible that Lemp’s capital was so rich that the buildings were constructed in “quick succession” between 1874-1875.

The new office building on Cherokee Street provided a public face for the brewery along this busy east-west highway. The confusion is because a source from 1878 refers to the offices as being “in the principal building,” which would have been a description of the brewery’s brewhouse as “handsomely finished” in black walnut. 3 A newspaper article would also describe the new offices as having their bank vault and telegraph office and “built of heavy brick and stone, and decorated with the most elegant and ornamental architecture.” 4

The offices were also illustrated in a Lemp souvenir book dating back to the 1890s. The photograph shows the original office building, as well as the east front of the brewhouse. This photo was taken just a few years before the latter was demolished to make way for the new stockhouse in 1911. 5 It was at this point that the Lemps moved their offices from the Feickert-Lemp Mansion to the Feickert-Lemp Mansion to build new vaults to replace those on Cherokee Street. 6

The next wing was the brewhouse extension. It was completed after the office wing. This gave the brewery a grand appearance on the busy Second Carondelet Avenue facade. While it was built to increase space for brewing operations and to provide more room, it is certainly a refined version of the 1866 vernacular-style brewhouse. The brewhouse extension’s unique feature is its ability to remain largely intact, despite being covered up by later additions.