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Friday, November 4, 2011

Falstaff Brewery Plant 10

This is the site of the former Falstaff Brewery Plant #10 in Saint Louis.

This location was originally home to Wm. Stumpf's Brewery, and was constructed in 1853. The name Stumpf remained throughout various partnerships and acquisitions until 1877 when the short-lived Thamer Brewing Company took over. Two years later, Anton Griesedieck came into the picture, but ownership would revolve around between The Miller Bros, The Saint Louis Brewing Association and the Consumers Brewing Company before finally returning to the Griesedieck Bros.

In 1920, Joseph Griesedieck approached his good friend William J. Lemp II, of the now infamous Lemp Brewing Company with his offer to buy the rights to the Falstaff name as well as the familiar shield logo. He managed to work out a deal with Lemp to brew his famous Falstaff beer at this facility. Under Griesedieck control, the company continued to thrive-even enduring beyond prohibition-until 1957 when it became The Falstaff Brewing Company.

The next 18 years marked the peak of success for the brewing giant. All that would change, however, when on April 28th 1975 a man named Paul Kalmanovitz bought out controlling share of Falstaff Brewing Company. Under Mr. Kalmanovitz, the company plummeted, laid off thousands, and abandoned and subsequently demolished many former historic breweries. Pabst, a former competitor with family marriage ties to the Lemps, was the last to produce beer bearing the Falstaff name and recognizable shield. The beer's life finally ceased on April 15, 2005 when Pabst brewed it for the last time.

The Falstaff Brewery was designed by the renowned architectural firm E. Jungenfeld and Company. The same firm designed many breweries around the country including, but not limited to, the Lemp and Anheuser-Busch Breweries as well as many other interesting and well made brick buildings in the area throughout the late 1800's-early 1900's. Their work includes impressive brickwork and cornices, numerous tall arched windows and heavy iron staircases. A feature which makes this building unique is the caves that lie beneath the complex at the base of some very rickety stairs. The caves extent is not fully known, however, due to the fact that it is perpetually flooded.

Thanks to the unimaginably shitty leadership of Paul Kalmanovitz, this location is now abandoned and has been steadily deteriorating since that fateful day in 1977 when this plant was abruptly shut down.

Falstaff #10 has always been an iconic location. It has all the history and charm you would ever hope to find in a place to explore. Until it caught fire back in 2008, there was a large room stacked just about floor to ceiling with every single paper document Falstaff seemed to have ever acquired. There were manuals for every piece of equipment, company reports, etc. The floor was absolutely covered in old Falstaff stock certificates to the point that you were literally walking on top of piles of them. You could easily spend an hour just digging through that room, reading all about things that took place here. I always wanted to find the recipe. But everything in that room burned and was hauled off in a dump. There were various personal effects and interesting historical items left behind, like a bottle of valium in the locker room and the calendar still hanging on the wall from 1977, when Falstaff shut down. But many of these relics have since been destroyed. As time wears on, this site is getting more and more destroyed through neglect, vandalism and the current owners who have scrapped just about every piece of metal that was left behind. A lot has changed even just since these photos were taken. But it remains one of my top favorite explores of all time.

This time, we finally decided to go down to the cellars and see what we could find down there. We hadn't heard or seen from anyone else who had done it and, well, someone needed to do it. Until now it was an unsolved mystery as far as we were concerned: "How many rooms are down there? Natural cave? How big is it? Where does the boogeyman actually live?" etc. We found the answers to all these questions. For example, I can confirm that this is where the boogeyman lives. I also learned that the water down there is chest high and ice cold. It was roughly the same level as the top of my chest waders so even though I moved very slowly and carefully, it was regularly going in and I was very cold and wet by the time we climbed back out. I did manage to locate the spring itself which can be found in the very back of the floded cellar. You can see what appears to be natural rock formations through the small doorway. It didn't appear to go beyond what can be approximated from the photos here but the depth of the water prevented me from sticking my head in to verify. Having been in similar situations elsewhere, I can confirm that a spring located through a small door/window just like this with a natural "cave room" just big enough to squeeze into is pretty normal. This is how springs/caves were turned into cellars for making beer in the days before refrigeration. They end up being much more like a cellar and not much like a cave anymore. But as much as I enjoy digging into history like this, I just wish this site was still doing what it was intended to be doing: brewing Saint Louis' legendary Falstaff Beer.

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

Falstaff Brewery Saint Louis © 2014 sublunar

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