Brucemore, a park-like, 26-acre (110,000 m2) estate in the heart of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is the site of a Queen Anne-style mansion, formal gardens, a children’s playground, night garden, pond, orchard, and woodland. Built between 1884 and 1886 by Caroline Sinclair, widow of pioneer industrialist T.M. Sinclair, Brucemore has been home to three prominent families who used the estate as a center for culture and the arts. Brucemore, whose name alludes to the Scottish moors of the second owner’s ancestral home, is Iowa’s only National Trust Historic Site and is preserved by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in co-stewardship with Brucemore, Inc. Under the name of the T.M. Sinclair Mansion, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mansion has three stories and contains twenty-one rooms. Distinctive features include a steeply gabled roof, five chimneys, and several turrets.
Brucemore is the story of three wealthy families: industrialists, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, boosters, neighbors, and friends. The men created great fortunes: Thomas Sinclair in meatpacking; George Bruce Douglas in starch processing; and Howard Hall in manufacturing. However, the women of Brucemore are at the heart of the story; Caroline Sinclair built the mansion; Irene Douglas transformed it into a country estate, and Margaret Hall gave it to the National Trust.
In 1871, Thomas McElderry and Caroline Soutter Sinclair moved to Cedar Rapids from New York City. Thomas started a meatpacking business, the T.M. Sinclair & Co., which became the city’s most prominent business. In an 1881 accident at the plant, Sinclair left Caroline to bring up their six children, the youngest aged just six months. In 1884, Caroline Sinclair purchased land beyond the city limits and started building a Queen Anne-style mansion she named “Fairhome.”
George Bruce Douglas was a partner in his father’s business, the Quaker Oats Company. George moved into the home with his wife Irene and daughters Margaret and Ellen and renamed it Brucemore. Under George’s direction, the size of the property was increased to 33 acres (130,000 m2), and several buildings were constructed, including a guesthouse, greenhouse, carriage house, squash court, and servants’ quarters. He also moved the entrance to the south side. A1 Bed Bug Exterminator Cedar Rapids
Margaret Douglas married Howard Hall in 1924. The couple lived on the Brucemore grounds, residing in the Garden House from the start of their marriage until the death of Margaret’s mother. While they lived there, they sold off some of the property, reducing the estate to its current 26 acres (110,000 m2). They also enclosed the western porch and added picture windows to the main bedroom, the library, and the dining room.
Address: 2160 Linden Dr. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA
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