To get a taste of European architecture, make sure to visit the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion of the St. Joseph Museums, Inc. The Wyeth-Tootle Mansion, 1100 Charles Street, St. Joseph, Missouri, provides an accessible (and unforgettable) experience.
Not only does the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion celebrate Gothic architecture and Victorian-era interior design. It also houses exhibits that explore early local enterprises, natural history, cultural history, and even natural disasters that have shaped the region’s history.
Each of the three floors of the ornate 1879 mansion is dedicated to one or more historical exhibits, the newest of which is titled Confluence: The Great Flood of 1993. This third-floor exhibit is a permanent fixture for the museum that addresses the flood’s physical, economic, and social effects on the surrounding area.
The mansions commanding height, impressive tower, and remarkable view of the Missouri River region were inspired by the original owners’ trips to castles along the Rhine River in Germany. William and Eliza Wyeth commissioned architect E.J. Eckel to help them realize their grand vision. Eckel’s architectural vision and talent left a lasting mark on the St. Joseph community, as his firm designed 75% of St. Joseph’s outstanding historical buildings.
The first and second floors of the Wyeth-Tootle reflect the history of area architecture. The restoration highlights Victorian-era decor and period photographs to give guests an added visual of what it would have been like to visit the home at the turn of the 20th century. Visitors often experience a “wow” moment at the Mansion’s incredible woodwork, ornately patterned floors, and hand-painted ceilings, including images of cherubs and heavenly clouds.
Three of the Mansion’s 43 rooms are devoted to “Intersections: Of Time and Buildings,” an exhibit that examines the junctures of history, art, architecture, and humanities, along with St. Joseph’s past, present, and future. The “Edifice: The Architecture of E.J. Eckel” exhibit at the Wyeth-Tootle commemorates Eckel’s talent and contribution to St. Joseph’s architectural appeal. The third-floor children’s area views are some of the most sweeping and expansive in the city.
In addition to housing historical and cultural exhibits, Wyeth-Tootle Mansion hosts community events throughout the summer and fall, including Mah Jongg parties and Music at the Mansion. The Mansion also serves as a wedding, holiday party, and business meeting venue.
Whether you have a passion for history or architecture or want a better understanding of the development of the area, a trip to St. Joseph is sure to prove both educational and rewarding. To plan your visit to the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion, arrange a rental, or attend an event, find a list of dates and details on the St. Joseph Museums, Inc., website: stjosephmuseum.org.