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The House Swap

The birth of Ellen Douglas in October 1905 prompted the family to consider moving to a larger home. As luck would have it, the Sinclair family of Cedar Rapids, led by widow and matriarch Caroline Sinclair, was looking to move out of their very large estate out on the First Avenue "Boulevard" near 20th Street East. The Douglas and Sinclair families learned of each other's situation and in 1906 worked with well-known Cedar Rapids real estate agent Malcolm Bolton to complete the most memorable real estate swap in Cedar Rapids history.


By late 1906, the Sinclair's had moved to the Douglas home, which was smaller and closer to town, and the Douglas family moved out "to the country" to the larger Sinclair home built in 1886 at 1965 First Avenue SE. The former Sinclair estate was renamed “Brucemore.” Margaret Douglas, who spent the first nine years of her life in the house on Second Avenue SE, would grow up to become Mrs. Howard Hall and live in Brucemore until her death in 1981.

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