Who really designed the Lemp Brewery’s buildings?

By on January 3, 2019

From St. Louis Magazine:  One of my favorite books in the collection of the Missouri History Museum Archives is Edmund Jungenfeld & Co’s 1892 Portfolio of Breweries and Other Kindred Plants. This little book is a treasure trove of photographs of some of the most iconic breweries in the United States, including the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, which takes up a half-dozen pages. But as I flipped through the small book, eventually getting to photos of some insignificant little breweries out in American’s heartland, I began to wonder, “Where is the Lemp?”

Conventional wisdom in St. Louis has always held that the successors of the great Edmund Jungenfeld—Widman, Walsh and Boisselier, known as Jungenfeld & Co.—played a significant role in the design of most of the buildings on Lemp Brewery property. But if that is so, why wouldn’t their book feature what was then such a prominent brewery? The logical explanation: Jungenfeld & Co. did not design anything for the Lemp Brewery. Over the next weeks, I will show that most likely, it was another prominent engineer and pioneer of early refrigeration, Theodore Krausch, who designed many of those new buildings during the Lemp Brewery’s business boom during the 1880s and 90s. Jungenfeld & Co. was the local architect of record, as we say, in St. Louis, but primary source material indicates that Krausch was designing the Renaissance Revival red brick monuments on the Lemp Brewery grounds. And Krausch, ladies and gentlemen, was the brains behind the revolution in how Americans consume beer and food to the present day.

As we learned from Louis Lemp’s notes on brewing and Frederick Widmann’s treatise on brewery architecture, German academic culture at the end of the 19th century was seeking to create a scientific approach to artisanal processes. Krausch was born in Dresden, in what was then the Kingdom of Saxony, and studied at the Polytechnic University, which focused on engineering and other applied sciences. He came to America in 1848, perhaps a refugee from the turmoil of the revolutions that wracked Europe in that year. First landing in New York, he eventually settled in Chicago, where he quickly established himself a reputation for effective refrigeration and ice house cooling.

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About Dede Hance