Twenty-six historic acres and a year's worth of experiences. Culture, guaranteed!
A visit to Brucemore explores more than 130 years of Eastern Iowa history through the lives of the three families who called Brucemore home—the Sinclairs, the Douglases, and the Halls. They were business and community leaders during a century of evolution in the Midwest. The changes they made to their estate, the impact they had on their community, and the stories they left behind shape our understanding of modern Cedar Rapids, eastern Iowa, and the American Midwest.
Caroline Sinclair, widow of pioneering industrialist, T.M. Sinclair, built the home to raise her six children. In 1906, Caroline traded homes with George Bruce Douglas of the Quaker Oats and Douglas and Company fortunes. George and his wife, Irene, along with their three daughters expanded the property from 10 to 33 acres, transformed the landscape with the addition of gardens and other features, and renamed the country estate “Brucemore.” The eldest daughter, Margaret, inherited Brucemore in 1937 with her husband, Howard Hall. The Halls added the Tahitian Room in the basement and kept an array of pets, including a lion, on the estate. Howard founded two companies—Iowa Steel and Iron Works and Iowa Manufacturing. He became one of the most influential business leaders in 20th century Iowa.
In 1981, Margaret bequeathed the Brucemore estate to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. America's most prominent preservation organization, the National Trust owns 27 historic sites across the United States. To ensure local control, the preservation and operation of the site is administered by Brucemore, Inc., a private non-profit governed by a local, 16-member Board of Trustees.