In Search of Alswel

Update: See more pictures in these posts here and here, and historic photos here.

In the grainy photo above, you can see my attempt to photograph one of the other legendary houses owned by the Lemp family, in this case one that looks like a giant Swiss chalet. It is unreachable due to a security gate, but you can see pictures here at the St. Louis County website. Also, the entire historic nomination file is here. Like its cousin Cragwold, up the Meramec River, Alswel represents a fascinating look into St. Louis’s past, when Sunset Hills was a resort and the hideout of the city’s industrialist families.

Alswel sits at a strange bend in the Meramec, where it spreads out into a lake. Just like Cragwold, the best photograph I could get was from the bottomlands below the estate. The park at the bend in the river has these cool delta wing shelters.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Many years ago, I drove around trying to find Alswel, and I distinctly remember driving right up to it on a public street to take a closer look. How odd? Either I was blatantly trespassing, or they have changed the streets up there.

  2. Chris says:

    I bet they’ve added the security gate recently; the construction looked new.

  3. Big Janitor says:

    Interesting link here – http://www.dnr.mo.gov/shpo/nps-nr/88001460.pdfIn the mid 80's this property was owned by a lady named Donnely who collected and sold antiques and nick-nacks. She used many of the out-buildings (one of which was the original carriage house – others were probably guest houses) to store some of the items she collected. When she passed away, her family sold what was left of the original estate immediately surrounding the main house to a developer, who built a gated subdivision around it.

  4. Mike S. says:

    In 1960 My father worked for Mercantile Trust Co. which held the Lemp Family Trust. The bank was going to sell the 192 acres with the House. My father and I went to visit the house. I walked throughout the house. It still had the Lemp Family furnishings in each room. In the Kitchen there was a "secret" door which opened to a long stairway which led to the Meramec River. The Carriage House held 3 Coaches waiting to leave. The Butler's house was on the south and looked like a minature chalet. I'll never forget the experience. I met Dorothy Donnelly. She only rented the property. When Edwin died, the Trust distributed the liquidated Estates.

  5. Chris says:

    Thanks for all the interesting tidbits. I would love to get inside.

  6. Brian says:

    Along what is now Alswel Lane, there is a water tower with the estate’s name on it. It’s on old ivy-covered tower right in the middle of a neighborhood.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      I think I saw that back in the underbrush.

  7. mike Arnold says:

    I was in the neighborhood today. Lots of pretentious McMansions all around the house, but it looks occupied and in fantastic shape.

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