Wyeth Tootle Mansion
St. Joseph is known for an extensive collection of beautiful mansions built around the turn of the century, and the Wyeth Tootle Mansion at the corner of Eleventh and Charles Streets is a prime example. With three floors, a tower and more than 40 rooms, it stands today as one of the best examples of St. Joseph’s late 19th-century wealth and opulence, featuring stunning woodwork, hand-painted ceilings and imported stained glass.
In 1879, William and Eliza Wyeth hired architect E. J. Eckel to design a mansion resembling the castles they had seen on the Rhine River as they were traveling in Germany. This 43-room Gothic style mansion combines an example of the homes of early prominent St. Joseph residents with exhibits on the history of St. Joseph.
The first floor of the Wyeth Tootle Mansion has been restored to its Victorian grandeur. Old photographs of each room help visitors visualize the interior as it was around 1900. Each room’s ceiling is impressively different, from the cherubs that float above the Louis XVI parlor to the dark rich colors that cover the Moorish room. Ornate parquet floors and walnut woodwork change from room to room.
Historical exhibits include portraits of prestigious St. Joseph citizens of the time, a timeline of the growth of St. Joseph in the 1800s, St. Joseph businesses like Aunt Jemima Pancake Flour that had national or international impact, the Civil War in St. Joseph, and Jesse James. One exhibit room features Edmund J. Eckel, the architect for the Wyeth-Tootle mansion and whose firm was responsible for the design of 75 percent of the buildings in St. Joseph. The exhibit focuses on his life and the lasting impact of his accomplishments on St. Joseph and includes his desk, drafting table, and sketches.
Natural History fills the third floor of the Wyeth-Tootle. Visitors can see mounts of the mammals, birds, and fish that fill the northwest Missouri region, including a few animals that aren’t from this area including a full-size African Lion and Alaskan Brown Bear that a Wyeth family member brought home from hunting expeditions.
New temporary exhibits include:
- The Architecture of Edmund J. Eckel (Award-winning and acclaimed architect who designed some of the most impressive 19th century homes, buildings and structures across the city and the region. Many are studied by architects today.)
- Enterprising St. Joseph (early business establishments that left a lasting national or international impact).
- A new exhibit featuring letters and items from outlaw Jesse James, spanning newspaper clippings and items from his days in the Civil War to his final days in St. Joseph.Because of its age and historic nature, the Wyeth Tootle Mansion has limited handicapped accessibility.
- New! On Saturday, May 16, 2015, the Mansion will be the location for the first St. Joseph Preservation Expo followed by the St. Joseph Preservation Awards on Sunday. View the brochure here! Two pages (pdf). Preservation Expo Page 1. Preservation Expo Page 2. Vendors, experts and volunteers wanted!
Starting May 2, 2014, Wyeth Tootle Mansion hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays only throughout the spring and summer months. (After September 28, the Mansion will open for groups of ten or more by appointment). Please call 816-232-8471 for more information or to schedule a group visit. Admission for individuals and groups is cash or check only, please.
Please note that since the Mansion is available to rent for private events it may be closed to the public for a short time. Please check as you plan your visit to note if a private event is scheduled at the Mansion. For a rate sheet with information on renting the Mansion for an event, please call 816-232-8471.
View Wyeth Tootle Mansion image gallery here.