A Community's Foundation....

One Home

October 16th, 2012

Walking down the halls of the new Hall-Perrine Cancer Center at Mercy Medical Center, visitors will see a tribute to a philanthropic family. Despite the many examples of their generosity throughout Cedar Rapids, with each generation, fewer people remember the individuals behind the Hall-Perrine Foundation – Howard and Margaret Douglas Hall, Beahl and Irene Hall Perrine, and Margaret Lamey Hall. In true Hall and Perrine fashion, an inconspicuous house on the Brucemore estate is where it all began.

Built in 1912, the Garden House served as a guesthouse for Brucemore visitors and temporary housing for community leaders. Though the home was initially built for Irene Douglas’ sister and brother-in-law, Dede and Ralph Ellis, a series of wealthy Cedar Rapidians also resided there while their homes were constructed in the surrounding neighborhood.

Howard and Margaret Douglas Hall moved into the Garden House after their 1924 wedding. They remained there until Irene Douglas’ death in 1937 when the Halls moved to the “Big House.” Howard’s sister and brother-in-law, Irene and Beahl Perrine, lived in the Garden House from 1938 until 1968. Howard and Irene’s mother Margaret Lamey Hall lived with the Perrines until her death in 1958.

The Halls and Perrines enjoyed each other’s company during these decades. While only Margaret Douglas Hall was native to Cedar Rapids – the Halls hailed from Onslow and Beahl Perrine from Monticello – they made Cedar Rapids their home and left a lasting legacy. The cornerstone of the Hall-Perrine Foundation was laid in 1953, while all five family members lived at Brucemore.

Visitors frequently lose sight of the one-story Garden House while focusing on the massive Queen Anne Mansion. The neoclassical structure has a separate address off of Crescent Street, is far less ornate than the Mansion, and utilizes architectural proportion to disguise the large rooms within. Irene Hazeltine Douglas enlisted the help of Los Angeles architect Myron Hunt to design this modest cottage for use as a guesthouse.

The Brucemore archives contains no interior photographs from the Douglas or Hall eras; however, since its exterior was a frequent backdrop, some modernizations are traceable. Just as the mansion underwent a massive remodel during the Douglas era, the Perrines were responsible for the most significant modification to the Garden House’s floor plan ‘ the addition of the front Florida Room in 1957.

Throughout the summer of 2012, Brucemore will turn its restorative eye onto this neoclassical structure to preserve it for future generations. In addition to repairing and painting the siding and trim, skilled contractors will relace the roof and built-in gutter system. Water has infiltrated the home in several weak points in the copper gutters for decades causing damage to interior plasterwork. To stabilize this issue, a new gutter system will be installed using the same design and materials as the 100-year-old system that has finally failed.

The Brucemore Board of Trustees selected this project as not only a priority for 2012, but also the recipient of all funds raised during the fourth annual Tahitian Party.


Do I need to pay to enter the estate and walk on the grounds?

No. Visiting the Brucemore estate during grounds hours is free. Tickets are only required for scheduled tours and events, and they can be purchased in advance online.

Is a reservation needed to visit Brucemore?

You do not need a reservation to visit the grounds on your own. You do need a ticket to go inside the mansion. We recommend advance reservations for any of our mansion tours or other scheduled special themed tours due to limited capacity. Please visit our calendar to see upcoming opportunities and to purchase your tickets.

Touring the Mansion

Can I take pictures inside the mansion?

Yes. Photography is allowed during tours for personal, non-professional use. Tripods, selfie-sticks, or other photography equipment will not be permitted. Photographs should not distract from others’ enjoyment.

How large is the mansion?

Brucemore is approximately 15,000 square feet.

How many fireplaces, rooms, and floors does Brucemore have?

There are 21 “main” rooms, 14 fireplaces and four floors plus an attic.

Is all of the furniture original to the house and families?

Much of the furniture you will see on display belonged to the second or third families to live at Brucemore; however, some pieces had to be replaced with replicas or similar antiques.

Is the mansion handicap accessible?

The Brucemore mansion includes multiple floors and several staircases. Because of the historic architecture, some spaces are not accessible. Due to preservation work, the wheelchair lift that offers accessibility to the first floor is not available at this time. An elevator is not available from the first floor to the other floors at any time. Learn more about accessibility at Brucemore.

Group and School Tours

Is there an age requirement for students visiting Brucemore?

You do not have to be a certain age to visit or attend a program at Brucemore. Different programs are best suited for different ages. Tours of the mansion are recommended for 4th grade and older due to the concepts and historic collection.

Where do we park?

Parking is available on site a short walk from the mansion or carriage house. Buses must follow special instructions. Large events may not be able to accommodate on-site parking; please see the event calendar information for exceptions.

Is bus parking available?

Yes. Bus parking is available near the carriage house. Buses must arrive via special directions as they are unable to fit in our historic gates.

Is there a lunch area at Brucemore?

There is not a designated area indoors or outdoors to eat; however, you are welcome to bring your own blanket or chair to picnic on the grounds. Please carry out any trash to help our small staff keep the grounds beautiful.

Does my group have to arrive together?

Please let group members or chaperones know where they can meet the group.

What is your payment policy?

Brucemore admission is to be paid prior to the visit and a deposit may be required. Payment can be made by cash, check, or credit card and should be paid in one sum.

Do I need to make an appointment to tour the mansion?

You must have a ticket to a tour or program inside the mansion. Many tours do sell out in advance; purchase online or by calling 319-362-7375 in advance of your visit to guarantee your spot. See the schedule here.

Is the mansion wheelchair accessible?

The mansion is not currently accessible to wheelchairs due to preservation work. The mansion includes multiple flights of stairs. Most of the outdoor areas of the site are accessible. See our full accessibility information and contact us with additional questions regarding your visit.

Can I walk on the property?

Yes, the grounds and gardens are open daily most of the year. Several self-guided interpretive panels and tours via QR codes are available. See hours here.

What is Brucemore’s ticket policy?

Tickets are non-refundable, but may be rescheduled for comparable programs as space allows. Learn more.

I’m attending a large event at Brucemore. Where do I park?

Large events may require you to park offsite. Please read the event details on the calendar for specific information for each event.

Are weapons allowed at Brucemore?

We prohibit weapons on the property and at programs to ensure the safety and security of all employees and people visiting Brucemore.