Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'm Baaaaaack; Very Little Quilting Getting Done; Visit to a "Haunted" Mansion

I'm back from my visit with my son in Fort Smith, AR. My husband and son were nice enough to try to take me to a quilt shop while we were there. I was excited to find one on my GPS right in Fort Smith--Heirloom Quilt II at 1415 N 38th Street. As we were getting closer to the address I could feel my heart beating faster--I was anticipating the quilt store shopping experience. We drove right to that address to find a residential area and a house at that location. It didn't look like it had ever been a quilt shop. Whaaaaaa! I was really disappointed.

While I was at my son's, I did begin to read Melanie Testa's new book, "Inspired to Quilt, Creative Experiments in Art Quilt Imagery." Wow, what a great resource! This is a great book both for inspiration and a great resource for art quilting. I want to try it all. I AM behind on my "art" quilt quota for the year. I vowed to get twelve art pieces done by the end of the year...so far, I have two!

My husband and I stopped at the Lemp Mansion in St. Louis (a restaurant & inn) for lunch on our way back from AR. The food was VERY mediocre and the place needed some repairs, but it was quite an experience. The story goes something like this...the mansion belonged to the Lemp family. John Adam Lemp started out as a grocer offering "an item sold by none of his competitors, lager beer." The beer was made by the Lemp family and aged in the natural cave system under St. Louis. Eventually, they left the grocery business and built a brewery. The brewery was a great success and John Adam Lemp died a millionaire. William J. Lemp took over after his father died. He build the business into the largest brewery in St. Louis. His daughter, Hilda, married Gustav Pabst (remember Pabst beer?).

Now, you should know, some say the mansion is haunted. It is rated by Life Magazine as one of the 10 most haunted houses in America. The family is surrounded by numerous tragedies...
Williams' favorite son died under mysterious circumstances in 1901. Three years later, William shot himself in the head in a bedroom at the mansion. Prohibition (1919) permanently closed the brewery. Williams' sister, Elsa, considered the wealthiest heiress in St. Louis, died by suicide in 1920. The magnificent Lemp brewery once valued at $7 million and covering 10 city blocks was sold at auction to International Shoe Co. for $588,500. After presiding over the sale of the brewery, William Lemp, Jr. shot himself in the same building where his father died eighteen years earlier. His son William Lemp III, was 42 when he died of a heart attack in 1943. William Jr's brother, Charles, continued to live in the mansion after his brother's suicide. Charles was said to be a recluse and he too died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Nate and I like to stay at bed and breakfast establishments, but this is one I don't think I would be comfortable staying in. If you are interested in hauntings and ghosts, you might want to check it out. The mansion has seen much better days; but during its heyday, it had to be a sight to see.


quiltlion said...

OH, WOW! The Lemp Mansion! You lucky duck! It is so cool to see these places! I have been on a real ghost hunt myself! I like the idea of "seeing" a ghost! (Now you know why I am so crazy!) Lyn G

Anonymous said...

Sounds like your trip was great! Great story about the mansion. Sorry you were let down a bit with no quilt store adventure. Dana