L arz and Isabel Anderson made various provisions to ensure that their beautiful estate in Brookline would be a resource and benefit to the surrounding community. In addition to hosting dignitaries, the Andersons used their home as a cultural center, hosting plays for children of the town, dog shows, birthday parties, charity functions, and ice skating on the pond in the winter, as well as playing host to informal lawn gatherings of likeminded early automobile enthusiasts, at the dawn of the motor age. Decades after their passing, the Larz Anderson Auto Museum continues the Anderson’s enduring legacy by opening our doors to the public for our Community History Speakers Series. Designed to create a community-wide conversation about history in our area, the topics range from architecture, textiles, American history in Brookline, and of course, the Andersons themselves. Doors open at 6:30pm | Presentation at 7:00pm for all events.


Though these are free community events,
online registration in advance guarantees your admittance.
Make sure to reserve your ticket before
it’s sold out!

Doors open at 6:30pm | Presentation Starts at 7:00pm
for all events unless stated.


On June 10, 1907, five teams set off in their automobiles on the journey of a lifetime, racing from Peking to Paris. Traveling more than 9,000 miles on what were once considered state-of-the-art automobiles, only four teams finished. The winner was an Italian prince. While many other endurance races exhibited the strength of both the automobile and the driver over the next 80 years, it was not until the dissolution of the Soviet Union that the Peking to Paris race could take place again.

Now in its seventh reiteration, brave drivers begin at the Great Wall in Beijing, ready to embark on a great adventure. While few restrictions are placed on the cars, (they have to be produced before 1976) they must be suitable for rough terrain. Over a period of 36 days, the teams travel through 11 countries, encountering mountains, deserts, gravel, mud, sand, livestock, rivers, and more. The average daily distance is around 250 miles, with some nights spent in luxurious hotels and others spent camping in the desert.

On this night, we will get behind-the-scenes access on what it is like to participate in the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge from one of this year’s participants, Dirk Burrowes, who competed in a 1940 Packard 110 Deluxe! Come and learn about the trials and tribulations of this great race from someone who experienced them firsthand.

While Burrowes is the president of a laser company during the day, his other passion is cars. After his father gave him his first car project at the age of 14, Burrowes developed a lifelong automotive fascination. Burrowes has restored more than 10 automobiles and is the co-host of Classic Drive Television.

This is a free community event.

Suggested donation of $10.
Doors open at 6:30pm | Presentation at 7:00pm


Molasses: From the Slave Trade to the Great Flood

Back by popular demand and with a new riveting topic – Boston Historian Anthony M. Sammarco!
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Doors open at 6:30pm | Presentation Starts at 7:00pm

Molasses is described as a sweet, syrupy byproduct made during the extraction of sugars from sugarcane. Molasses has a rich history in the Caribbean where sugarcane is cultivated and was a popular sweetener throughout the United States in the early 20th century. Massachusetts has an integral connection as it was part of the Triangle Trade, the 18th century world economy. Rum from New England was traded in Africa for slaves, which were brought to the West Indies and the Caribbean where they cultivated sugar cane. The sugar cane was later refined into molasses, which was shipped to New England and often used in the distillation of rum. This lecture will explore the Isaac Royall Family of Medford and the Lawrence Rum Distillery on Ship Avenue (now Riverside Avenue). In his lecture on “Molasses,” Anthony Sammarco traces it from the 18th century through the tea-totalism and abolitionist causes of the 19th century to the Great Molasses Flood of 1919, which became an integral part of the North End of Boston’s history.

Sammarco has taught at The Urban College of Boston since 1997, where his courses led to him being named Educator of the Year. He also teaches Boston History at the Boston University Metropolitan College. He has received the Bulfinch Award from the Doric Dames of the Massachusetts State House and the Washington Medal from Freedom Foundation and a lifetime achievement from the Victorian Society and the Gibson House Museum and was named Dorchester town historian by Raymond L. Flynn, mayor of Boston, for his work in history. He was elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, is a member of the Boston Author's Club, a proprietor of the Boston Athenaeum and the St. Botolph Club in Boston.

This is a free community event.

Suggested donation of $10.
Doors open at 6:30pm | Presentation at 7:00pm

Books will be available for purchase via cash or check.
Every dollar received for these presentations helps to defray the cost of providing outstanding community programing. Please support the Larz Anderson Auto Museum as we fulfill our mission to serve and educate.


Edmund March Wheelwright: Architect of the Anderson Carriage House

by Dennis J. De Witt
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the talk on Edmund March Wheelwright is being postponed. Please stay tuned for an updated date. Sorry for any inconveniences this may have caused.

Join us as we learn about Edmund March Wheelwright, the architect of our beloved Carriage House, now home to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. Wheelwright was born in Roxbury, MA and graduated from Harvard University in 1876. By 1883 he started the firm Wheelwright & Haven and was commissioned by his fellow India Wharf Rats club member, William Weld, to construct a mansion and a carriage house on his Brookline estate. While the mansion received an enormous expansion under Larz and Isabel Anderson and eventually was torn down in the 1950s, the Carriage House still remains a notable landmark in the area.

The Carriage House was heavily influenced by the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire in France and completed in 1888. The grand building stored carriages, horses, and housed stable staff who lived in the upper floor. While the carriages and horses have been replaced with automobiles, and the bedrooms upstairs have been replaced with offices, the Carriage House still remains an incredible preservation of life in the time of the Andersons. It has since been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This talk will focus on the life and works of Edmund March Wheelwright. Not only including his great contributions now located in the Larz Anderson Park, but also his work as the city architect of Boston from 1891-1895, the Chestnut Hill Pumping Station which is now the Waterworks Museum, and his connection to The Harvard Lampoon and the India Wharf Rats.

Dennis J. De Witt is an architectural historian with graduate degrees in Architecture from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. He is a director and past president of Boston’s Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, a member of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, and former president of the Society of Architectural Historians in New England. As a 40 year Brookline resident, he has been Vice-Chair of its Preservation Commission. His scholarly articles include several about the earliest iron roof structures in the U.S., the oldest of which is at the Route 9 Brookline Reservoir, and his books include Arthur H. Vinal / Edmund March Wheelwright: Architects of the Chestnut Hill High Service Pumping Station. Date TBA.

This is a free community event. Suggested donation of $10.
Tickets will be available at the door!

Every dollar received for these presentations helps to defray the cost of providing outstanding community programing. Please support the Larz Anderson Auto Museum as we fulfill our mission to serve and educate.