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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Marine Villa in St. Louis, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Cherokee Cave

Cherokee-Lemp Historic District

 
 
Cherokee Cave Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, April 23, 2019
1. Cherokee Cave Marker
Inscription.  The caves that riddle the underground of the Soulard and Benton Park neighborhoods served as natural refrigerators for the local breweries. Adam Lemp was aging his German style beer in the cave system beneath your feet even before the California gold rush of 1849. During the the American Civil War, Lemp began moving his entire brewery to this site to utilize these caves.

These caverns connected the Lemp Mansion, at 3322 DeMenil Place, with the cellars underneath the brewery. During the late 19th century, the Lemp family built a smaller theater in a cavern room and a pool, similar to a Roman bath, in another part of the caves.

Prohibition shut down the brewery and the caves. Entrepreneur Lee Hess bought the abandoned cave in 1945 and began developing it as a tourist attraction. He dug a new entrance to the cave and built a museum over it, at the corner of Cherokee and Broadway.

In 1950, Lee Hess opened his "Cherokee Caves" and museum exhibiting both natural man-made wonders. A room with spaghetti-like stalactites hanging from the ceiling, an underground creek, and the skeletons of prehistoric animals discovered
Cherokee Cave Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, April 23, 2019
2. Cherokee Cave Marker
in the cave fascinated visitors. In his museum, Hess installed the interior of the thousand year-old "Damascus Palace and Ancient Tile Court," which had been exhibited at the 1904 World's Fair.

Cherokee Cave and Museum became a favorite haunt of South St. Louis school children. Hess, who lived in the DeMenil Mansion was threatened with the headache ball. Though Cherokee Cave is only a memory, dedicated volunteers saved and restored the DeMenil Mansion as a museum.
 
Erected 2007 by NiNi Harris.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceNotable BuildingsNotable Places. In addition, it is included in the Missouri, St. Louis, The Cherokee-Lemp History Walk ⚜️ series list.
 
Location. 38° 35.522′ N, 90° 12.972′ W. Marker is in Marine Villa in St. Louis, Missouri. Marker is at the intersection of Cherokee Street and DeMenil Place, on the right when traveling east on Cherokee Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 904 Cherokee Street, Saint Louis MO 63118, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Origins (a few steps from this marker); DeMenil Mansion (within shouting distance of this marker); DeMenil Place During The Gay Nineties
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(within shouting distance of this marker); The Lemp Brewery (within shouting distance of this marker); The Bungalow (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); This cake commemorates (about 500 feet away); 3319 DeMenil Place (about 500 feet away); 3322 DeMenil Place (about 500 feet away).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 30, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 130 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 30, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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Nov. 28, 2020