With the reopening of the Bevo Mill as Das Bevo, many have repeated a story that August Busch Sr. built it as a place to stop during for his 10-mile jaunt between the family estate at Grant’s Farm and the Anheuser-Busch brewery at Arsenal Street and South Broadway. The fact is, it’s not true. August Busch Sr. might have stopped off every once in a while on the way home. But that wasn’t its reason for being.
It was actually a way to fight off the rising tide of Prohibition, by demonstrating that it was possible to have a proper meal and maybe a beer or drink or two in a pleasant atmosphere.
I discovered this while I was doing research on the Bevo Mill for my book Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis’s South Side. I found more evidence of this fact recently, when I came across an article in which August Busch, Sr. discussed the reasons he built the Bevo Mill. The article, published in the Post-Dispatch seven months before the German restaurant opened in late June 1917, spells out his reasons. An excerpt is below.
The words in a newspaper article printed more than 100 years ago make it clear why the beer baron erected the strange restaurant with a fan at Morganford and Gravois. Busch’s actual reason is more intriguing than the one that said he spent a fortune to build a place to get out and stop.