top of page

The Sinclair Family

Caroline Sinclair was in the latter years of her life when she moved into the former Douglas home.  Her late husband, Thomas M. Sinclair, had started the first large industry in Cedar Rapids in 1871. Thomas had died tragically in an accident at the Sinclair & Company slaughterhouse and meat processing plant in 1881.


One of Caroline’s her six children, Robert Soutter Sinclair, along with his wife, Elizabeth, and their three small children moved into the house with her. In 1908, Elizabeth Sinclair died in the home shortly after giving birth to her fourth child. Robert Sinclair was devastated by the loss of his young wife and asked his two young unmarried sisters, Amy and Agnes Sinclair, to move in to help raise the four small children—Mary, Elsie, Carol, and Thomas.


The lot next door at 810 Second Avenue SE was purchased and the house there removed to create a larger yard for the children to play in. The large brick carriage house along the alley was picked up and moved farther to the east along the alley behind the newly acquired lot. The brick shelter house along the Eighth Street SE wall was apparently converted into a playhouse for the children. While his children were growing up, Robert Sinclair continued his work in management of the T.M. Sinclair Co. in Cedar Rapids.


Caroline died in the house in 1917 after a long life of contributing to the betterment of the Cedar Rapids community. While living in the home, she supported and oversaw the construction of the first Sinclair Memorial Chapel at Coe College, built in honor of her late husband.


Robert's sister Amy also died in the home in 1921 after an illness, shortly before she was to be married. In 1923, with his children grown, Robert married Ethel Bennett. He also accepted a position with the Kingan packing company in Indiana and made plans to move to Indianapolis with his new wife. By then, the area around Second Avenue and Eighth Street SE had changed dramatically.

bottom of page