rucemore: A mansion at home
in the Iowa countryside.
In 1885, Thomas Sinclair, founder of Wilson
Foods, built a large, country home for himself
and his family outside Cedar Rapids. The Queen
Anne styled house which cost $55,000 to build,
featured three floors and boasted 21 major
rooms, an attic and basement.
Industrialist and civic leader George B.
Douglas acquired the Sinclair home in 1906. He
and his family named their new home
"Brucemore", a combination of Mr. Douglas'
middle name, Bruce, and an allusion to his
ancestral homeland, the Scottish "moors." Later,
in 1937, Margaret Douglas Hall, eldest daughter
of George Douglas, and her husband, Howard
Hall, president of Iowa Steel and Iron Works and
Iowa Manufacturing Company, moved to
Although massive in size, Brucemore is
remarkably at home amidst the trees and rolling
hills of its 26-acres. Its distinctive design is
enhanced by a red brick exterior and four
towering chimneys. The main entrance leads into
a large "L"-shaped grand hall. The walls are
paneled to within two feet of the ceiling where a
mural depicting the Wagner Ring operas is
painted. As fascinating as Brucemore, are the
stories associated with it - such as that of
the Hall's unusual pet, Leo the Lion. Leo,
offspring of the famous MGM Leo, was a gift to
Mr. Hall from his friend Melvin Koontz, trainer of
the MGM's lion.
For years, Brucemore mansion, resting staunchly atop a
hill in southeast Cedar Rapids, has been an object of
curiosity. "What," wondered passersby, "lies beyond those
massive iron gates?"
Now, the gates of Brucemore are open to you
according to the wish of its final occupant, Mrs. Margaret
Douglas Hall. Prior to her death in March 1981, Mrs. Hall
bequeathed the Brucemore estate to the National Trust for
Historic Preservation for use as a community and cultural
Today, the estate includes the mansion and grounds, a
pool, a formal garden, a duck pond and six outbuildings.
To ensure the property is managed in a professional
manner responsive to the needs of the community, the
National Trust has merged its technical expertise with
Brucemore, Inc., a group of interested local citizens.
What is the National Trust?
History is all around us, in the buildings and
neighborhoods where we live and work. By saving what
we can from the past, we can enhance our sense of
history and enrich the present. The National Trust for
Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit organization
chartered by Congress in 1949 to lead the movement for
preservation of our architectural and historical resources.
Today, more than 160,000 individuals and 3,000
organizations are members of the Trust.
Who can be a member
of Historic Brucemore?
If you believe in preserving our history for future
generations and would like to participate in a number of
community and cultural activities in this historic setting,
you could be a member of Historic Brucemore.
What does it cost to be a
member of Historic Brucemore?
When you become a member of Historic Brucemore, you
choose your category. Here's what each membership
$10 Individual Membership - This entitles you to the
Brucemore quarterly newsletter, invitations to special
member programs and a 50% discount on tours and
special event admissions.
$15 Household Membership - Your household will
receive the Brucemore quarterly newsletter, invitations to
special member programs and 50% discount on tours and
special event admissions.
$50 Contributor - You'll receive the same benefits as
a household member - plus membership in the National
$100 Patron - Available to individuals and
organizations, this entitles you to the same benefits as the
$50 Contributor, plus free admission to Brucemore
programs and special events.
Other categories for individuals or corporations include
$250 Donor and $500 Benefactor memberships.
How will membership funds be used?
The Halls provided an endowment fund to provide for the
maintenance and care of Brucemore buildings and
grounds. However, the membership fund will be used for
member-only activities and.to allow for further
development of Brucemore as a cultural center.
Something special for members
enrolling before January 1, 1982.
There's a special treat awaiting Historic Brucemore charter
members who enroll before January 1, 1982. $100
Patrons and above will enjoy a special 60-minute private
tour of Brucemore, top-to-bottom, closet-to-closet,
room-to-room. And at the close of the tour there'll be
refreshments, .too. $10 Individual Members may also
enjoy the private tour and tea by joining nine other $10
Individual Members on the tour. $15 Household
Memberships, 6 others; and $5C Contributors just one
other. A handy merr,bership application is attached for
your convenience. For further information or additional
applications, contact Peggy Whitworth, the Executive
Director of Brucemore, Inc., at 319/362-6652.
A Property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
2160 Linden Drive S.E.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403
Please enroll me as a member of HISTORIC
BRUCEMORE in the category checked.
STATE _ _ _ _ _ _ ZIP
D $10 Individual
D $100 Patron
D $15 Household
D $250 Donor
D $50 Contributor
D $500 Benefactor
Please make out your check or money order to:
It is anticipated that gifts to Brucemore, Inc. will be deductible
to the donor as gifts to public charitable organizations.
Brucemore, Inc. has applied for exemption under Section 501
(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code as a public charitable
organization under Section 509.