Preservation Magazine, Winter 2020

Object Lesson: Dog Show Trophy at Brucemore

Silver Collie Trophy

photo by: Brucemore

Every winter, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show takes place in New York City, delighting dog lovers across the country. No doubt Irene and George Douglas—former owners of Brucemore, a National Trust Historic Site in Cedar Rapids, Iowa—would have enjoyed it: Irene entered her own dog in at least one local competition in 1909. The engraved, silver-plated cup she took home that year for Best Collie at the Cedar Rapids Bench Show is on view in Brucemore’s study, which is part of the tour at the 26-acre property.

According to Museum Program Manager Melissa Porter, the Douglases liked many kinds of animals. “They had ponies, chickens, collies, and other dogs,” she says. “It was a new idea of a country estate.” Their daughter Margaret Douglas Hall and her husband, Howard, also lived at Brucemore and typically kept at least two canine companions—usually German shepherds. (They even owned pet lions from the 1930s to the 1950s; one is buried in the pet cemetery on the site.) The Halls honored their favorite dog breed by commissioning three cast iron German shepherd statues, two of which are currently displayed in the landscape.

While no pets currently reside at Brucemore, the property still sees its fair share of furry friends. The grounds are open to the public during visiting hours, and it’s a popular place for locals to walk their dogs.

Meghan Drueding is the managing editor of Preservation magazine. She has a weakness for Midcentury Modernism, walkable cities, and coffee table books about architecture and design.

@mdrueding

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