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Brucemore, Cedar Rapids

(200+ reviews on the web)
Historic Site Landmark
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This mansion is huge and located on a 20 acre block with beautiful gardens. The guided tour was excellent and you get to see nearly all rooms in the four story mansion. Well worth seeing.  more »
  • Brucemore hosts theatre and other programs as well as functioning as a museum. Check the schedule, the events are excellent and worth attending.  more »
  • I mean, you can take them tour if you want (we didn't), but just walking the grounds is gorgeous! We were a bit early for several of the blooming plants, but the park was still spectacular!  more »
Google
  • I grew up quite near Brucemore, and have many fond memories of visiting the lovely gardens.
  • A Must see for anyone visiting Cedar Rapids or considering locating to the area. It's a very large house and Estate. The tour was informative and entertaining. Perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
  • A treasure for the city. Citizen and tourist alike can enrich themselves with a visit to the beautiful mansion and park like estate.
  • Gorgeous in every season, Brucemore is home to wild deer, a historic landscape/architecture, events for every age group, and a plant nursery. Perfect place to unwind, read a book, stroll.
  • We took our family members visiting from Florida on the standard tour. We were all amazed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of our tour guide. For an hour you felt like you were hanging out with the Douglas' and Hall's. I'm from CR. I hadn't done the tour. Man, I've been missing out. I was SO impressed and loved the history. I'd do it again. I want to do the nook and crannies tours next.