On August 10, 2020, a natural disaster devastated the living collection at Brucemore and much of Eastern Iowa. A powerful windstorm known as a derecho reached hurricane-like windspeeds of over 120 miles per hour. Brucemore suffered damage to all seven historic buildings, two modern structures, and multiple pieces of outdoor statuary. The straight-line winds destroyed more than 70% of the estate’s mature tree canopy, immediately and fundamentally altering the landscape. With an estimated $2.5 million in overall damage, experts agree the devastation is among the worst suffered by a cultural landscape in the last century.
Despite the destruction, signs of hope prevail. Recovery efforts are underway to make the site safe for visitors, preserve the buildings, and restore the iconic landscape. It will take several years to replant and replenish the estate. Research and planning will help ensure the continued national significance of this living landmark and will allow Brucemore to resume its role as a hub for community activity.
Gifts given now to Pride & Preservation are designated towards landscape cleanup and replenishing.