CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The Brucemore estate has long been a central feature of family traditions, particularly during the holidays.
Tours of the late-1800s Queen Anne mansion, decorated for the season, are a highlight for many families, along with relatives and friends visiting Cedar Rapids.
The coronavirus pandemic limited many of those travelers, and the August 2020 derecho further dampened visits to the 26-acre historic site.
Winds of up to 140 mph whipped across Iowa, twisting trees out of the ground, ripping off roofs and damaging crops and more.
Initial assessments estimate $2.5 million in damage to Brucemore’s seven historic and three modern structures, outdoor statuary and other historic features, and the 26-acres of gardens, orchard, wooded areas, and cultural landscape. Insurance does not cover all of the damage.
The most notable structural damage occurred with the slate roof of the mansion, the historic Lord & Burnham Greenhouse, the modern Ludy Greenhouse, and the decorative metal Linden Drive gate, while visitors who enjoy walks through the estate can’t help but notice changes to the landscape.
Based on discussions between Trees Forever and Brucemore staff, as well as certified arborists, the site is expected to lose hundreds of trees and 70 percent of its canopy, including more than 50 trees that are over a century old.
See photos from a past Garden & Art Show at Brucemore
Tours of the site resumed earlier this fall, including the popular holiday tours, with face masks required and other changes to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Neighbors and other visitors who enjoy walks through the estate also have returned, even as cleanup continues.
To support recovery efforts, donate to Brucemore’s Pride & Preservation campaign, which has designated a portion of funds for landscape recovery, and see more photos of the damage, four months after the derecho. (photos © Cindy Hadish/Homegrown Iowan)