Larz and Isabel Anderson began their love affair with the automobile before the turn of the century. In 1899, soon after they married, they purchased an 1899 Winton Runabout, a true horseless carriage. From 1899 to 1948 the Andersons purchased at least thirty-two new motorcars, in addition to numerous carriages, creating “America’s Oldest Car Collection.”
As the cars became obsolete they were retired to the Carriage House. By 1927, the Andersons had opened the Carriage House for tours of their “ancient” vehicles. When Isabel Anderson passed away in 1948 she bequeathed her entire Brookline estate, including the mansion, Carriage House and land to the Town of Brookline. She stipulated in her will that the motorcar collection be known as the “Larz Anderson Collection.” Fourteen of the original thirty-two vehicles remain in the collection.
The Veteran Motor Car Club of America (VMCCA) opened the Antique Auto Museum at Larz Anderson Park in October 1949. Families proudly displayed their vintage motorcars, competed in lawn games, and enjoyed picnic lunches on the grassy slopes of the Polo Field. On display were fifteen Anderson automobiles, twenty-four carriages, and six sleighs. After that, the Museum hosted an Antique Auto Fair, a Glidden Tour, and a Duster Meet.
Since the grand opening over fifty years ago the Museum has grown into a major New England non-profit educational institution with community events, lectures, children’s programs, walking tours of the Anderson Park, and an ever-changing series of exhibits on the Andersons, the automobile and its impact on society and our culture.
OTHER COLLECTION VEHICLES
Among those no longer with us: