Henry Luerhmann's

... Saloon, Hotel, and Restaurant 

 

 



The Luehrmann Hotel building was a Memphis landmark on Main Street from 1888-1906.  The
hotel was the upper 3 floors, with 38 rooms - reserved for men only, although some women in fine clothes might appear at intervals.  The fortune it took to build and equip this magnificent establishment came largely from beer, in particular Schlitz Beer.   Proprietor Henry Luehrmann was the prominent brewer as well as the owner of this fine hotel-restaurant.  His aim was to please, and he was considered the most honest and trusted businessman in Memphis.

Henry Luehrmann      

 

Click on small photos to see an enlargement


Henry A. Luehrmann was born 27 August 1841 in Melle, Germany, which was a suburb of the Hanover area.  He came to the United States when he was 15 and settled in St. Louis where there was a large German population.  There he obtained a job as a clerk in a brewery, while going to school at night.  When the Civil War came, Luehrmann enlisted in the Union Army and after the war, settled in Memphis where he again became a clerk in a brewery, but he soon owned the brewery. 

Melle, Germany, c.1850

Melle Germany

St. Louis, c. 1850

Memphis, c. 1866

    

 

 

    
Leuhrmann's Saloon
 

Leuhrmann had saved his money in St. Louis and shortly opened his own Saloon in Memphis.  His Saloon did so well that he added a restaurant named "The Terrace Garden" and then he opened his own brewery.  With increasing popularity, he built his original hotel on the site of the Terrace Garden.  Luehrmann was becoming a very wealthy man.  His restaurant  also became hugely successful until a major fire destroyed this block of Main Street in 1883.

   
           

1877 Ad        

 Beer Btl FIRST Hotel H. Luehrmann 1882 Directory

1885 TerraceGarden


From the Commercial Appeal, 1883 ... after a major Main Street fire that destroyed several city blocks:
 "The building on the southeast corner of Main and Monroe has been pulled down and will be replaced by a substantial brick structure. Henry Luehrmann will occupy it, using the basement as a saloon and restaurant and the roof as a beer garden."  The two 1883 articles on the right describe the new saloon and beer garden.

 

1883 Article

1883 Article

1884 Article

 

 

 

Leuhrmann's Hotel

After the fire, Leuhrmann moved across Monroe and rebuilt his hotel.  This new location was next door to the old Pantages/Warner Theatre.  And this was the grand Leuhrmann's hotel-restaurant that is remembered so well in Memphis.  The 38 room hotel was for men only - with one exception.  The Metropolitan contralto, Ernestine Schumann-Heink, was a friend of Mr. and Mrs. Leuhrmann, and she was allowed to have a room in this all-male world.  The money to build this fine hotel came mainly from beer.  Leuhrmann had become very wealthy as the bottler and dealer in Schlitz Beer.  The 1888 newspaper below has a lengthy article describing the opening of his grand hotel. 

Hotel Leuhrmann  

Hotel Leuhrmann

1888 Opening

1891 article

Schumann-Heink

Vintage Match Case

Hotel Leuhrmann    

The Luehrmann Hotel was designed by architect Edward C. Jones.  The cellar had huge modern boilers for central heat, along with generators for electric lights, elevators, and cooling equipment.  There was also a roof summer garden.  The kitchen was located in the basement, along with the latest equipment.  .  Luehrmann's aim was to please.   Each room had it's own alarm... and there were baths on every floor.  All rooms and halls were carpeted with the finest carpets.  And he dug his own artesian well for pure, clean water.  The basement also provided a unique perspective about Henry Luehrmann.  It was here that he kept and personally fed his own lobsters and oysters each day. 

              

Page 1

Page 2

Hotel Leuhrmann

Edw C. Jones

Hotel Leuhrmann

1896 Article

1901 UCV Ad

     

         
      
  
 

 

Leurhmann's Restaurant

Luehrmann's was a splendid place for leisurely dining.  There were 135 kinds of wine and the seafood was the freshest in town.  Henry Luehrmann bought only live lobsters, crabs, and oysters to be fattened in his basement.  In the restaurant, the waiters wore tails.  Napkins and tablecloths were made of thick linen, embossed with Luehrmann's crest and logo.  This Restaurant and Gaston's Restaurant, around the corner, were the two most popular restaurants for fine dining in Memphis.  No finer food had ever been known in the city.    And  Luehrmann's had the highest prices in town.

 

Very Rare Post Card

Nothing was too small for Henry's attention.  Each day, he thoroughly inspected the bar and personally tested the polished brass with his silk handkerchief.  Then he gave the coffee his personal "nose test".  If it displeased him, he had it poured out and started from fresh.  After all his inspections, he went to the basement to feed the oysters.  The restaurant was patronized in particular by the big sportsmen in town for the races at Montgomery Track, and the famous names of the theatre, along with the big businessmen of Memphis.    The Hotel-Restaurant was located at 296 Main Street, which became 10 S. Main under the new 1905 numbering system.

Platter

 
 

Cup

Butter Dish

Creamer

Dinner Plate

Bowl

    

2 1/2 Cent Token

2 1/2 Cent Token

Token

The 1903 Directory below, shows the Luehrmann family is now associated with the hotel/restaurant.  The 1904 photo shows Cornelius Vanderbilt IV in attendance at the Memphis Racetrack.  You can "bet" that afterwards he would have had dinner at Luehrmann's, and may have stayed overnight.  The 1896 article shows that Henry sponsored races at the track.  The last two photos below, show the Warner Theatre next to the old Luehrmann Hotel in the late 1950s.  It's interesting to see the changes in the building.

1903 Directory

1904 C. Vanderbilt

1896 Luehrmann Stakes

1950s Luerhmann next to Warner's

 
 

 

       

Henry married Louise Correll and they raised 5 children  in Memphis - Adele, Adolph, Arthur, Hugh, and Henry, Jr..  Their home was located at 99 Idlewild Avenue (Possibly 99 Madison Avenue - it was on the corner).  The various directories below verify his profession as Saloon owner, brewer, restaurant  and hotel proprietor.  In addition to Hotel-Restaurant, Luehrmann was involved with numerous other successful enterprises, among them the Pioneer Cotton Mills, The First National Bank, Home Insurance Company, and the Building and Loan Association.

 

Location of Home             

Luehrmann Home

1872 Directory

1877 Directory 1979 Directory 1889 Directory

1908 Directory

      

By 1905 the Tennessee Legislature had shut down the Montgomery Race Track.  The big sportsmen no longer came to Memphis.  Luehrmann's Hotel-Restaurant building was sold at auction for the sum of $91,000.  Afterwards Henry's health failed and he went to California, but returned several months later and checked into a Knoxville hospital.  He had been ill with tuberculosis for about a year and died 18 June 1905.   He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery.  His son attempted to revive the hotel, but without success.  In 1909, the hotel, dining room, and bar were officially closed and a sale was held of all items at a fraction of their value.   His daughter Adele became a mystery writer with more than 8 books to her credit (although we have not been able to confirm this 100%)

                1905 Death Record

1882vHome Ins Co Ad

1886 Home Ins Co Ad

1917 Mystery writer

  
 
 
 
 

Credits

 

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