When it was built, Brucemore was considered to be among the grandest houses west of Chicago. Constructed in 1884-86, the $55,000 Queen Anne-style mansion has four stories and 21 rooms; its features include a great hall, grand staircase, eight bathrooms, nine bedrooms and 14 fireplaces. Through the years, it was home to three prominent families representing different local industries: the Sinclairs (meat-packing), Douglases (Quaker Oats and Penford starch plant; philanthropists); and Halls (industrialist). Each family added its touches to the mansion.
Brucemore, given to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1981, is open for tours and is a community cultural center. Tours give visitors a look into the lives of the three wealthy families who lived here. You'll hear that the estate was shaped by women: They built it, landscaped it and gave it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. You'll also learn that President Hoover stayed here, that one of the owners had a pet lion named Leo who was a descendant of the MGM lion, and that one owner's brother died on the Titanic. The colorful basement Tahitian room—complete with a simulated tropical storm—is one of the highlights. Another is the sleeping porch plaster relief decoration designed by Grant Wood. Restoration of the home is ongoing.
In addition to the home, you can tour the 26-acre estate and stop by the visitors center, which has an exhibit about the home's history. Musical events, fine arts performances, holiday celebrations, garden walks and children’s events are held at Brucemore throughout the year.