The oldest collection of motorcars in the United States can be found at the Larz Anderson Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts. It is located in Larz Anderson Park, the large former Estate of Larz and Isabel Anderson. In addition to the magnificent collection of classic cars, special meets called "Lawn Events" take place on weekends where automobile enthusiasts and industry professionals can show off their vehicles and new technologies.
Upon the death of Isabel Anderson in 1948, the entire Estate was bequeathed to the Town of Brookline. Their legacy includes the couple's Mansion, Carriage House, land, and many of the vehicles they had ever purchased including a horseless carriage manufactured by the Winton Motor Carriage Company in 1899. The assemblage of motor cars became known as the Larz Anderson Collection in accordance with Isabel's Last Will and Testament.
The Museum's home is the Carriage House, a building designed by Edmund M. Wheelwright, an architect from Boston. The huge structure was completed in 1889, and in its day housed horses, carriages, and even the stable staff who worked for the Andersons. Such was their enthusiasm for motorcars, that Larz and Isabel even added a garage to the Carriage House so their vehicles could be serviced and repaired on the premises.
The museum has carried on what the Andersons began in 1927, when they opened the Carriage House on Sunday afternoons for tours of their collection. Today, the Auto Museum is open six days per week and hosts themed "Lawn Events" on weekends from May through October. These meets give motor vehicle fanatics and industry professionals alike a chance to gather together to display their vehicles, and also admire those owned by other enthusiasts who often arrive in their own cars. Previous Lawn Event themes have included car days for Cadillacs, Corvettes, British Cars, Studebakers, Porches, and even antique bicycles.
Every year a wide variety of exhibitions are held at the Museum, all based around motor vehicles and their impact on society and culture, and spans every make of car and era in the history of the motor vehicle, including Hot Rods, alternative fuels, motorcycles, and more.
As well as a majority of the extensive collection of motor vehicles the Andersons collected during their marriage, one can also see the twenty-four horse drawn carriages and six sleighs originally owned by them, or by Isabel's relations. Additionally, the Museum houses a classic bicycle collection that was once owned by a local cycling enthusiast, Dr. Ralph W Galen.
Of note, for a brief period during the 1970s, part of Larz Anderson's collection was moved to Boston and displayed near the Children's Museum at Museum Wharf. During this time, the collection was housed in what was called the Museum of Transportation. The entity is long defunct, but still a memory for some Bostonians who may have visited the Boston location (especially on a school field trip).
The Larz Anderson Auto Museum operates as a non-profit educational institution throughout the year. It also holds community events, programs for children, and lectures on local history and the transportation industry. You may also participate in a conducted walking tour of their 64-acre Park.
Larz Anderson Auto Museum
15 Newton Street, Brookline, MA 02445