Brucemore represents a blend of stylistic trends and modifications made by the three families who called the house their home. Each family made changes and updates to the home as they needed- in much the same way that we update our kitchens and bathrooms today. Brucemore demonstrates the subtle changes in taste and technology that happened throughout the course of a century of residency.
The Sinclair Era: 1884-1906
Built between 1884 and 1886, Caroline Sinclair's mansion made quite an impression--and not just because of the $55,000 price tag. The house sat on top of a long slope facing the main route into town, confidently demonstrating, in both size and style, the Sinclair family's status in the community.
Caroline commissioned an Indianapolis architect, Maximillian Allardt, to design a home for her and her children. However, during construction, Allardt returned to Indianapolis to be with his daughter who had fallen ill.
Local architects Henry Josselyn and Eugene Taylor finished the project, constructing a four-story, 21-room, Queen Anne style mansion on the ten-acre site--or, as the local newspaper described it, "the grandest house west of Chicago."
The Douglas Era: 1906-1937
In 1906, George and Irene Douglas moved into the mansion having traded homes with Caroline Sinclair. The Douglas family undertook the process of upgrading and renovating the property in favor of the newly popular Craftsman style. The Douglas family expanded the property to 33 acres, more than tripling its original 10 acres. The Douglases also moved the entrance of the grounds, and added a pond, formal garden, carriage house, servants’ duplex, and greenhouse.
The Hall Era: 1937-1981
In 1937, Irene Douglas bequeathed Brucemore to her eldest daughter, Margaret. At the time, Margaret and her husband, Howard Hall, had been living in the guest house on the property. When the two moved into the "big house" they slowly made changes to update the home and add their whimsical mark to the estate.