Kahle-Laumeier House

Kahle-Laumeier House Laumeier Park, 12680 Rott Road
Roland L. Kahle bought 47.67 acres on Rott Road September 30, 1916, from Vahlhaus Realty Co. The president of Vahlhaus Realty was Joseph Griesedieck, brewer of Falstaff beer. On April 11, 1917, Kahle took out a building permit for a stone house and garage estimated to cost $20,450, which was about 4 times the cost of an average house in those days. He listed himself as owner, builder and architect, probably deriving the bungalow like design from some of the many popular publications then available.

At the time, Kahle was department manager of the Rigen Stove Co. The company had been founded in 1860, by John Rigen, and incorporated in 1881, with George Kahle as secretary. Kahle and Rigen were also associated with the Quick Meal Stove Co., incorporated the same year by Charles and Louis Stockstrom, and the 2 firms formed the American Stove Co. in 1901. After 1894, however, George Kahle moved to Dresden, and after 1900, his sons George, Jr. and Otto also disappear from city directories. Roland Kahle (presumably the son of George, Jr.) first appears in directories in 1910, joined after 1914, by his brother Milton. Two sisters remained in Germany.

At the time of Kahle's move to Rott Road a number of South St. Louis businessmen had summer or year round residences in the area, including Edwin Lemp, Joseph Griesedieck, Louis Stockstrom, and Adolphus Busch, Jr. A few years later Milton Kahle moved next door to the house that now forms the core of Peace Haven Association at 12630 Rott Road.

Kahle built the stone garage in 1931, and the gatehouse in 1936, according to county tax records. From about 1932, he suffered from heart disease, and he died at age 52 on March 29,1938, at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. His wife, the former Ada B. Riegel, sold the property on May 28,1940.

"Henry" H. Laumeier (born Herman H.), the purchaser, was the son of Herman Laumeier (1827-1881), a founder in 1872, of the United Bank and Trust Co. and of Christine Hincke Laumeier was recognized as one of the city's wealthiest women. Henry Laumeier lived with his mother at 2201 South Grand Avenue (at Flad). In Later years they also had a country residence on Sappington Road south of Eddie and Park. He managed the family's financial affairs from his Real Estate office at 722 Chestnut, later moved to 318 North Eighth Street. In July or August 1918, when he was 42, he married Byrd Shoemaker, age 22, a native of Salem, IL., then an employee of the Hotel Sherman in Chicago. The following May he advertised that he would no longer pay her bills, and they were subsequently divorced.

After Christine Laumeier's death, Henry was joined in residence at the country house by his sister, Ida, and her husband, Edwin Gempp, and family. When the house burned down in 1939, they moved to the Park Plaza. (The present house at 9227 Sappington was remodeled from the garage of the original house.)

In 1941, Henry Laumeier married Matilda Cramer, who had formerly been the wife of Conrad Besch. They modified Roland Kahle's house somewhat, especially by glazing the south porch. Henry Laumeier died at home on December 9, 1959, at the age of 83. Matilda C. Laumeier died on March 26,1969, leaving over half a million dollars. Mrs. Laumeier had met Wayne C. Kennedy, Director of the St. Louis County Department of Parks and Recreation, through her husbands' nieces, Elizabeth Gempp and Christine Love, and at their suggestion, she bequeathed the house and grounds, by then over 72 acres, to St. Louis County. Laumeier Park opened September 1975, after further modifications to the house in 1971.