When the first “Past to Present Car Show” was hosted by the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion in 2015, the hopes were it would open the historic building to the public in a bigger way.
“We’re just trying to find ways to utilize the mansion in a kind of a community-friendly type setting. And so someone thought that a car show might be something we could try,” Brent Larson, a board member for St. Joseph Museums, which runs the mansion, said.
During the past five years, the mansion has seen a response bigger than it expected, from both visitors and people bringing their cars, bikes and trucks from a variety of eras.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the mansion, located at 1100 Charles St. and its adjacent streets will be filled with vehicles that range from vintage classic to modern-day marvels from the Knuckle Draggerz Car Club. There also will be food vendors, auctions and self-guided tours of the building.
When asked what makes the car show different from others, Larson gestures back to the mansion. Instead of a typical parking lot setting, it has vehicles surrounding the historic structure, as people show off their best rides. If it gets too hot or the crowd gets too big, they can go inside the mansion to get a slice of St. Joseph history.
“(This is) probably the best backdrop anywhere of any car show in the country,” he said. “We do some things a little bit differently than other car shows do, where we really try to get the entries to come and enjoy themselves.”
The range of vehicles is always surprising to Larson. He said the entries he’s received should put a smile on people’s faces.
“We have motorcycles, we have a tractor showing up, you name it and we just have a great time,” he said.
To be a part of the car show, registration is $10 per vehicle. The fees go toward renovations and beautification efforts for Wyeth-Tootle.
“See all this beautiful landscape? Part of this money goes toward that,” he said, motioning to a special flower near the entrance. “Anything that we really need inside, we’ll use it for that. (We’re) just trying to keep the mansion preserved.”
The hopes are that people will enjoy the mansion and car show equally and both will continue to expand and evolve.
“It’s exciting because the Museum Hill District and St. Joseph Museums collaborate together to host it. So every year, it gets better. We’re starting to see it build in a way that I think is good for everybody,” he said.