What was the derecho?
In August of 2020, Brucemore, Cedar Rapids, and other parts of Iowa were forever changed by a storm called a derecho. The derecho reached hurricane-like windspeeds of up to 140 miles per hour and earned the distinction of being the most expensive thunderstorm in United States history. In 60 minutes of violent, sustained force the straight-line winds destroyed more than 400 trees across the Brucemore estate. Century old trees were uprooted from the ground and trunks were bent in half. This devastation immediately and fundamentally changed the view of the landscape.
As a historic landscape, the restoration of Brucemore requires a thoughtful, patient approach to ensure its authenticity and national significance. Designed by Ossian Cole Simonds, a leading landscape architect in the early 20th century, the grounds serve as a tangible link to the past, as well as a vibrant setting for people to enjoy today. The responsibility to preserve this estate offers an opportunity to restore it in a way that enhances the impact it makes in our lives.
In October of 2022, Brucemore completed phase 1 of a landscape restoration plan by planting 400 trees and understory shrubs in the three-acre wooded area of the property. Phase I work was funded by donations to Brucemore’s Preservation Fund and a significant gift of plant material through the Planting Forward initiative by the Monarch Research Project.
The design process for Phase II is near completion with the possibility of work beginning as early as this spring. The following phases will take several years to complete, pending funding availability.
Donations to support Brucemore’s landscape restoration efforts can be made to the Preservation Fund, as well as by calling (319) 362-7375 or by sending a check to 2160 Linden Dr. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403.