More than a third of a century has passed since John Lemp came to Idaho, and throughout this long period he has been most actively connected with the business interests of Boise. His labors have contributed largely to its growth and upbuilding, and its commercial enterprise is due in no small measure to his investment in industries and business concerns which have contributed materially to its prosperity. He is one of the highly esteemed residents of the city, whose history would be incomplete without the record of his life.
A native of Germany, John Lemp was born April 21, 1838, and belongs to an old family of the Fatherland. There he was reared and educated. In 1852 he came to the United States, landing at New York, whence he made his way to Louisville, Kentucky, where he was principally engaged in clerking until 1850, when he removed to Colorado. There he owned a claim and was for some time engaged in mining, but not meeting with the success he anticipated he abandoned the claim and came to Idaho in 1863. The city of Boise was just springing into existence. The post had been located there, and a few residences and business houses had been erected, but its development was a work of the future in which Mr. Lemp was to bear an active part. He first went to Idaho City, in the Boise basin, then the center of mining excitement, but after a short time returned to Boise, where he has since resided. Here he began the brewing business on a small scale, but by good management and in proportion to the growth of the city his trade has grown and for many years the manufacture of beer in this city was profitable. In 1864 he erected the brewery, which he still conducts, but being a man of resourceful business ability his efforts have by no means been confined to one line of endeavor. Many of the fine buildings of the city stand as monuments to his enterprising and progressive spirit. He erected the Capital Hotel, a fine building containing one hundred and twenty-three rooms and having a frontage on Main Street of one hundred and twenty-five feet. There are three stories and a basement, and the entire building is supplied with modern accessories and conveniences, constituting it one of the best hotel buildings in the state. Mr. Lemp also erected the Shainewalt block, thirty-six by one hundred and twenty feet, together with many other buildings. In fact, he has been one of the most extensive builders in the city. He was, for years, a stockholder and director of the First National Bank, one of the leading and reliable financial institutions in the state; is a stockholder of the Boise Electric Railway Company, and a stockholder in the Hot and Cold Water Company. He has probably done as much as any other one individual toward advancing the varied interests of the city and is numbered among its most liberal and progressive men.
In 1866 Mr. Lemp was married to Miss Catharine Kohlhept, who was born in Germany, but was reared in this country. To them have been born the following children, namely: John Emil, who died in 1895; George William, who is managing his father’s farm; Elizabeth, wife of W. B. Conner; Augusta, wife of Roderick Grant; Ida and Ada, twins, the latter now the wife of H. Hunt; William, who died in 1881; Albert, who is connected with his father in the management of the hotel and drygoods business; Edward, Herbert and Bernard, who are attending school; and Marie, who died in 1896, at the age of four years. The family is one of prominence in the community, and the members of the household occupy enviable positions in social circles.
Mr. Lemp has been a member of the Masonic fraternity for many years, having been made a Master Mason in Shoshone Lodge, No. 3, which has since been consolidated with Boise Lodge No. 2, and of which he is a past master. He also belongs to the chapter, commandery and the Mystic Shrine. He has also been a member of the Odd Fellows society since 1868, has filled all of its chairs, was noble grand, and for thirteen years served as its grand treasurer. The Ancient Order of United Workmen likewise numbers him among its valued representatives. In politics Mr. Lemp has always been a stanch Republican and an ardent worker in the ranks of the party. In 1874 he was elected by his fellow townsmen mayor of Boise, and for about twenty years he has been a member of the city council. He has ever used his official prerogatives to advance the welfare of Boise, to aid in its improvement and promote its best interests. At all times he is possessed of that progressive spirit which seeks not his own good alone, but is alive to the advancement of city, county and state, and his place in Boise would be difficult to fill.