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Brucemore, Cedar Rapids

4.7
Brucemore, a park-like, 26acre estate in the heart of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is the site of a Queen Anne-style mansion, formal gardens, a children’s garden, 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. Notable features of the home are its steeply gabled roof, five chimneys, and several turrets.HistoryBrucemore 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 to a country estate; and Margaret Hall gave it to the National Trust. It has been rumored that people have seen the ghost of Caroline Sinclair doing the Lindy on the grounds around her birthday every year.The Sinclairs (1886-1906)In 1871, Thomas McElderry and Caroline Soutter Sinclair moved to Cedar Rapids from New York. Thomas started his own meat packing business, the T.M. Sinclair & Co., which became the largest business in Cedar Rapids. Unfortunately, Mr. Sinclair died in 1881 in a fatal accident at the plant. Caroline was left a widow, with six children from her marriage, the youngest was only six months old. Mrs. Sinclair purchased the land and started work on Brucemore in 1884. Originally titled "Fairhome", the Queen Anne-style mansion was completed in 1886. The home cost $55,000 and was the most expensive home or building at that time. At the time of its construction, Brucemore was in the country, as Cedar Rapids had not yet grown to that radius.
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Brucemore Reviews
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222 reviews
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4.6
TripAdvisor
  • September 24, 2017
    If you do get in Cedar Rapids are, you should definitely visit Bruce estate more. Beautiful villa from the late 1800 what early 20th century expanded. Many stories, pictures and furnishings have been preserved. The guide will give you a nice picture of the rich life what the residents used to have. Make sure you are well prepared. You should take a tour of a guide what every hour begins.
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  • September 20, 2017
    We have taken visitors here time and time again. But residents should watch for special events, the annual Bluesmore blues festival is fantastic, the Balloon Glow Annual event is wonderful, and last H...  more »
  • September 11, 2017
    My wife humored me when I told her I wanted to visit. I told her about my uncle and the lion. She relented and in we went. This estate was a part of my life for a very long time while the Halls lived ...  more »
Google
  • June 23, 2017
    It was a great experience. Even my 20 yr old son enjoyed learning all the fun facts that they provide. It was like stepping back in time. Well worth the stop.
  • July 5, 2017
    Gorgeous grounds. And beautiful mansion
  • April 11, 2017
    I grew up quite near Brucemore, and have many fond memories of visiting the lovely gardens.
  • July 4, 2017
    Beautiful grounds, great events like balloon glow!
  • June 22, 2017
    Beautiful location, plenty of flowers & a great historic mansion.

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