About the Mansion

St. Joseph is known for an extensive collection of beautiful mansions built in the late 1800s, and the Wyeth Tootle Mansion at the corner of 11th and Charles Streets is a prime example. Built in 1879 by William and Eliza Wyeth, this 43 room mansion was designed to emulate the castles along the Rhine River in Germany. The Wyeth family only lived in the home for approximately 8 years before the home was sold to Kate Tootle. The Tootle family remained in the home until 1947 when it was purchased by William Goetz (owner of Goetz Brewery) to be used as the St. Joseph Museums. 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.

The first floor of the Wyeth Tootle Mansion has been partially 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. The upper stories contain museum exhibits.

Exhibits

Edifice:  The Architecture of E. J. Eckel. The architect of the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion and the founder of the firm responsible for 75 percent of the buildings in St. Joseph.  The exhibit focuses on his life and the lasting impact of his accomplishments.

Intersections:  Of Time and Buildings. This exhibit is housed in three renovated rooms on the second floor.  The exhibit explores the intersections of history, art, architecture, and humanities as well as the past, present, and future of the City.  Museum professionals, preservationists, scholars, and local artists all worked together on this innovative project.   Intersections is a combination art exhibit, exploration of St. Joseph’s history, and imagining of the role of historic preservation in the City’s future.   The exhibit was created by the St. Joseph Museum in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Friends of St. Joseph.

Confluence: The Great Flood of 1993. An exhibit that chronicles flooding in the St. Joseph area, including the flood in 1952 that covered much of Lake Contrary Amusement Park.  The details on the causes and impacts of the 1993 Flood will be included as a cathartic remembrance of those trying months in the summer of 1993 when much of the Midwest was under water.  The name of the exhibit “Confluence” refers to the merging of rivers and flood waters, as well as the coming together of communities in the face of one of the costliest natural disasters in history. 

History of the St. Joseph Museum. Step back in time through the extensive history of the St. Joseph Museum. Founded in 1927 as the Children's Museum, the St. Joseph Museum has called five locations its home over the near century it has been in existence. The items displayed in this exhibit are some of the earliest donations which were on display when the museum first opened in the annex of the St. Joseph Public Library. Come learn how our organization has grown and evolved over the years and what the future may hold.

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