In Search of Cragwold

, , 27 Comments

It came to my attention recently that the Lemp family had a western outpost in St. Louis County named Cragwold, now in Kirkwood. You can read about the Lemp family here; Edwin Lemp, the last son, built the Cragwold Estate. The mansion overlooks the Meramec Valley on the edge of a cliff; it is a bit confusing to explain how to get to the Lemp Estate.

Originally, Cragwold was reached via Lemp Road, off of Forest Avenue just south of Big Bend Road. Below is what I believe to be the original entrance to the estate; if you look carefully, you can see a stone house that was probably the caretaker’s house.

What has changed since 1911, when Cragwold was built, is the addition of a superhighway we all know well: I-270. Looking at this map, you can see that Lemp Road originally went straight towards Cragwold. First the interstate, and then a subdivision, slowly erased Lemp Road’s original trajectory to the river bluffs. Look at a map of the area here; the mansion in the lower left corner is Cragwold. Lemp Road now makes an angled turn at the old gateway, instead of following a straight course through the gates.

Cragwold is accessible from the aptly named Cragwold Road, but don’t go trying to knock on the front door. The current owners have “no trespassing” signs posted along the road, so to catch a view of the mansion, you must head across the Meramec River to Unger Park, where the mansion comes into splendid view from the flood plains below. You can read more about the mansion here on page two of this pdf. The house is essentially one story, but clearly has a basement on the bluffs side of the house. The house is listed as having 9,015 square feet, five bedrooms and five bathrooms. An observation tower complements the house, providing what must have been stunning views of the valley before the Chrysler Plant was built.

Here is a bird’s eye view of the mansion, which is no longer owned by the Lemp family. Supposedly when Edwin Lemp died, he ordered his butler to burn all of the family heirlooms in an attempt to end the curse that had haunted the family for so long.

 

27 Responses

  1. dustin

    12/26/2007, 02:59 pm

    The “butler” you referred to was my Uncle John who also inherited the house and land. He and my aunt Florence were more caretakers. They sold the house and land (mostly now Emmenegger Park) and built a smaller house next door and lived there until John’s death. Florence lived several more years in a condo in Kirkwood.

    Reply
  2. Chris

    12/29/2007, 09:16 pm

    Thank you for your information! Do you know who they sold the house to? I know the current owners’ names. Is the legend true about the burning of Lemp heirlooms? Which house did they live in?

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  3. W Lemp

    06/14/2008, 04:06 am

    yes, Edwin requested his items to be burned or destroyed to keep his family’s reputation on a down low. It wasn’t out of shame, but he loved privacy.-wendy lemp

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    12/20/2008, 05:10 am

    #1 Cragwold drive is now up for sale. Who’s house was this? Uncle John’s? It’s not the Edwin main mansion. Didn’t one of his brothers have a place out there? Maybe it’s that one that’s for sale.

    Reply
  5. Chris

    12/20/2008, 05:47 am

    I am terrified that the current seller added a second floor to the original one story mansion. I am going to see if I can get my parents to get a showing of the house.Anything you might know I would be greatly interested in finding out about the history of the area.

    Reply
  6. Brian

    01/05/2009, 05:45 pm

    Everything on the west side of 270 from the end of Cragwold Road to 44 was part of the original estate. Two houses are for sale in this area, neither of which are the original house built by Edwin. I never knew about the gates. I tend to believe your theory about them being originals to the Lemp estate. Keep up the good work. The Lemp also has another estate overlooking the Meramec a bit further south called Alswel. William Jr. built it and it looks like a Swiss chalet.

    Reply
  7. John

    01/11/2009, 05:20 am

    I had a Great Uncle, George Coombes, who had a thriving camp called “Ivanhoe Lodge” near Geyer and Cragwold until lightning took the main lodge and the highway took the rest. The camp was “out in the country” and the children were actually picked up and dropped off each day by coach. All that remains of the camp are a buffalo and elk head that once hung in the main lodge (quite a site), and scores of old film. This discussion has prompted me to view this old film (it should be interesting to view film of this specific area not seen in over 60 years- I look forward to playing around with the old projector). Maybe it will shed some light on the history of such a rich historic area.

    Reply
  8. ZimmySue

    04/27/2009, 12:09 am

    Cragwold is not up for sale. The estate belongs to my cousin and her husband. They are currently remodeling the inside and making some changes to make the castle “greener”. The rooms of the house are still, for the most part, historically accurate and they’ve done very little to take away from the history. They are extremely religious people and have not complained of anything happening as far as paranormal. This family also ownes TheBridge organization for teens in joplin Missouri.

    Reply
  9. jnb1

    07/08/2009, 01:16 am

    I moved to Lemp Road in 1967 when I was in High School. There used to be a sign on the stone pillars at the gate to the Lemp estate that said "Cragwold" The part of the estate east of the highway was surrounded with a huge fence to keep in the buffalo that the Lemps kept there. They had waning signs all around the property on the fence warning of the danger of the animals.In the 1970's a guy named Neff sold the hardware store his father left him and bought the acreage. Neff built himself a house, and subdivided the rest. When the land was sold to the developer, Neff stipulated that the subdivision had to be named Neffwold. I have never met Neff, but he must be one egotistical son of a bitch.Maybe Neff still has the original Craigwold sign somewhere in his garage.

    Reply
  10. Sam Lee

    11/10/2009, 09:34 pm

    John, My brother, sister and I attended Ivanhoe Lodge as kids in the 1950s. It was a truly wonderful place. Ivanhoe Lodge was where I learned to play baseball, shoot a bow and arrow, swim and appreciate nature. I remember your Great Uncle George. I'm afraid my brother an I were something of a thorn in his side, but we absolutely loved being there. I am currently writing a book about my childhood, and since Ivanhoe was such a big part of it, I would greatly appreciate any pictures, maps or other info you might have that you would like to share. You can reach me at samleesam@aol.com or 239-995-2895. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.Best regards,Samuel Lee

    Reply
  11. John

    11/25/2009, 02:18 am

    My dog and I would go hiking in Emmenegger Park and one winter day while walking on a gravel access road, i noticed a chimney among the trees. We walked through the brush and sure enough we came upon an open foundation with a 20 foot tall white chimney. It seemed like an odd place for a house as it was right on the cliff with the small stream that flows through Emmennegger to the Meramec below. I've always wondered what that foundation was for.Also, on the top of the bluff in Emmenegger there is a path that leads to the large field next to Cragwold. Along that path there are foundations too.Does anyone have any explanations for these things?

    Reply
  12. Mark E. Mooney

    01/30/2010, 05:32 am

    re:other foundations at CragwoldThere were two 'guest houses' of identical shape and size on the other knoll across the stone bridge.There was also a large garage with an old fashioned 'pit' for oil changes and such on the Cragwold Farm vehicles. There was also a large water tower in the field.When Mr. Lemp died, none of his belongings were burned. Most of the furniture and books and such were sold with the big house, which went to the Emminegers.Mr. Lemp's intent was to have my grandparents, John and Florence Bopp be able to move into and enjoy the big house that they had cared for since the '20's when he passed away. His gift of the property to them was both a blessing and a curse, as the big house was in serious need of repairs to the huge central atrium, and other sorts of wear and tear that had accumulated in Mr. Lemp's declining years.Unfortunately, the legacy didn't include enough cash to cover the first year's property taxes, let alone repair the big house, so they sadly made the decision to split the property, sell the big house and build a new home for themselves near the site of the twin guest homes, one of which had been their home for the last 50 odd years. John didn't live long after completion of the new home. Florence enjoyed the home for several years, but finally had to move into Kirkwood as the upkeep and the distance from town were not suitable for an elderly single woman. I still have fond memories of spending time at Cragwold. Mr. Lemp was a fine gentleman, an animal lover and a big supporter of the St. Louis Zoo. For some reason or other, he liked seeing me when we'd visit my Grandparents, so I spent a good deal of time exploring the big house. Mark Mooney

    Reply
  13. Mark E. Mooney

    01/30/2010, 05:32 am

    re:other foundations at CragwoldThere were two 'guest houses' of identical shape and size on the other knoll across the stone bridge.There was also a large garage with an old fashioned 'pit' for oil changes and such on the Cragwold Farm vehicles. There was also a large water tower in the field.When Mr. Lemp died, none of his belongings were burned. Most of the furniture and books and such were sold with the big house, which went to the Emminegers.Mr. Lemp's intent was to have my grandparents, John and Florence Bopp be able to move into and enjoy the big house that they had cared for since the '20's when he passed away. His gift of the property to them was both a blessing and a curse, as the big house was in serious need of repairs to the huge central atrium, and other sorts of wear and tear that had accumulated in Mr. Lemp's declining years.Unfortunately, the legacy didn't include enough cash to cover the first year's property taxes, let alone repair the big house, so they sadly made the decision to split the property, sell the big house and build a new home for themselves near the site of the twin guest homes, one of which had been their home for the last 50 odd years. John didn't live long after completion of the new home. Florence enjoyed the home for several years, but finally had to move into Kirkwood as the upkeep and the distance from town were not suitable for an elderly single woman. I still have fond memories of spending time at Cragwold. Mr. Lemp was a fine gentleman, an animal lover and a big supporter of the St. Louis Zoo. For some reason or other, he liked seeing me when we'd visit my Grandparents, so I spent a good deal of time exploring the big house. Mark Mooney

    Reply
  14. mike B

    01/30/2011, 10:55 pm

    John said…I had a great Uncle…I too attended Ivahoe Lodge, it was probably 1952. I was 6. My parents had gone to Mexico for vacation, and my brother and I were sent to Grandma's house in Jennings for the week. My cousin lived there, and so he and I went to Ivanhoe lodge that week, probably to keep Grandma from going crazy. It was a long ride from Jennings Station and Florissant Roads back then and most likely we travelled Lindbergh Blvd, The only thing I can remember is some "pavilions" overlooking a bluff, and that long ride twice a day

    Reply
  15. Rick W.

    11/21/2011, 10:54 pm

    I am a Realtor and the old Bopp property is coming up for sale shortly. It is now an 11.2 acre estate with a main house, pool, log cabin overlooking the Meramec, carriage house, and barbecue pavilion. Wonderful place, and for sale! Is anyone interested? You can call me at 314-814-1194 for more information

    Reply
  16. Rick W.

    11/21/2011, 10:55 pm

    I am a Realtor and the old Bopp property is coming up for sale shortly. It is now an 11.2 acre estate with a main house, pool, log cabin overlooking the Meramec, carriage house, and barbecue pavilion. Wonderful place, and for sale! Is anyone interested? You can call me at 314-814-1194 for more information

    Reply
  17. Anonymous

    04/26/2012, 04:58 pm

    The current owners are family members of mine. I've been to this house several times to play in the pool and gazebo. it's not haunted, its gorgeous. I dont believe any heirlooms were burned. The family is extremely religious and do not believe in such stories of huantings. They have renovated and from what I hear, it will be amazing! The basement does have a couple of dungeons,though! It's a gorgeous house and amazing people own it and have taken wonderful care of it. Please do not worry, this landmark is being well preserved!

    Reply
  18. Anonymous

    06/19/2012, 04:24 am

    Gosh this blog is FASCINATING! My husband and I spent the night in Lemp Mansion and now I am really curious about this place. Hoping more people will come along with more stories and pics. All your comments are just really awesome to read, thank you all for contributing so much information!

    Reply
  19. Anonymous

    06/19/2012, 04:56 am

    Cragwold is located at 1455 Cragwold Road in Kirkwood, St. Louis County, Missouri. The property was originally the 200-acre suburban estate and primary residence of Edwin A. Lemp, of the locally famous Lemp brewing family. The property consists of 103 acres; 6.5 acres now in private ownership, and 96.5 acres of the Emmenegger Nature Park owned by the City of Kirkwood. These two properties compose the bulk of the historic Lemp estate, which includes: One building (Lemp’s house), one "site" (the Emmenegger Nature Park), a stone bridge, two lily ponds, carriage house,barn, swimming pool, tennis court, and gazebo.The house sits near the northern edge of the property at the top of a series of cliffs overlooking the Meramec River. The westernmost edge of the property follows the river southward at the bottom of the cliffs and slopes to a lower elevation at the southern end of Emmenegger Park. The boundary turns east through the woods to Stoneywood Road and first follows it, then Cragwold Road to the north. The boundary then turns west to follow the current Cragwold driveway, north once more for a short distance, and finally west through the woods again and back down to the river.

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    06/19/2012, 05:14 am

    I just went to {1455 Cragwold Rd. Kirkwood Mo 63122} on Google Satellite, and you can see the house, the swimming pool and the gazebo which is by some trees that almost hide it. Next to the swimming pool is the tennis court (to the right of the pool, then the trees,and then the tennis cout)Drag the cursor to the left and you'll see the house with a really big flat roof and as you scroll across the top of the roof (going left)you can see the Tower on the bottom left corner of the house, then a bunch of woods and as you keep scrolling the mouse to the left, the River….best way to see it. I don't see a carriage house unless the garage is the carriage house. Very possible the garage is the carriage house, it shows three upstairs windows.

    Reply
  21. Anonymous

    06/19/2012, 06:01 am

    the foundations spoken of here, were the remnants of what were the servant quarters. The tennis court, gazebo, barn, and carriage house, all of which were built by Russel Emmenegger, who purchased the estate (and who's name the City of Kirkwood's park carries, Emmenegger Park). The water lily ponds are of cement construction and measure 25 × 13 feet and 23 × 11 feet. Lemp used these ponds to cultivate a lily that became known after him; The Edwin Lemp tropical water Lily, scientific name, Nymphaea.This description fits the satellite image; The gazebo is a large, two-story, octagon-shaped structure with a spiral stair case in the center. The barn is a single-story, wood-framed structure that Emmenegger built to house a few horses he owned. The carriage house has a gambrel roof, the first floor is a three-car garage with an apartment on the second floor, visible in satellite image.At the far north end of the property, an old stone foot bridge spans a ravine that separates the house from the servants’ quarters to the north. The bridge was constructed of native stone that wasprobably gathered on site. The bridge has changed little since it was built and is still in good condition.The stone step pathways leading up the hill on both sides of the bridge are still in place for a few yardseach direction, but they quickly deteriorate as one goes up the hill. Also non-contributing are the tennis court, gazebo, barn, and carriage house, all of which were built byEmmenegger. The tennis court is a single, standard-size court located to the east of the house near theroad. The gazebo is a large, two-story, octagon-shaped structure with a spiral stair case in the center. Thebarn is a single-story, wood-framed structure that Emmenegger built to house a few horses he owned. The carriage house has a gambrel roof, the first floor is a three-car garage with an apartment on the second floor. These locations are visible on SatelliteWebsite with a wealth of information regarding the Lemp's estate at;http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:NriPyAwIA04J:www.dnr.mo.gov/shpo/nps-nr/09001175.pdf+&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

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  22. Janet

    12/21/2013, 06:36 pm

    This blog…what a find! I went to Camp Ivanhoe for many years as a child…learned to swim, took archery, became quite proficient with a 22 (winning many riflery blue ribbons)….I loved the craft cabin and lunch in the big dining hall! I loved the natural rock mini ampitheatre! Does anyone still have their slice of tree with the autographs of their camp friends? It was most unfair, however, that only the boys were allowed to watch the MLB All Star Game the day it was played. “Over hill, over dale, ’till we hit the the dusty trail” I have many memories, especially of the day that the older girls, who were often mean to us younger girls, started to put on their bathing suits for swimming only to discover that bees had taken refuge in them. As a young adult I came back to try and find Camp Ivanhoe on Geyer Road, but never could.

    Reply
    • Tom Maher-Kirkwood

      12/22/2013, 04:19 am

      I was there many times in the late ’40s to early ’50s with my Cub Scout pack and later Boy Scout troop from St. Peters; we used the swimming pool one night per week. The camp was sold in 1954, a street was run through it, and homes were built. The street is Ivanhoe Woods.

      Reply

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