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Home / Piece of History: Sinclair women and their deaths at the Douglas mansion
Every October, it seems Cedar Rapidians remember the city’s historic mansions and funeral homes that still stand and debate which of the structures may be haunted.
One of the places mentioned is the old Turner Mortuary, first known as the Douglas mansion, at 800 Second Ave. SE, and now home to The History Center.
The home isn’t haunted — that we know of — but it’s a house that saw its share of death in the early 1900s.
Robert Sinclair and his wife, Elizabeth, lived in the Douglas mansion. She died in the home at age 28 on Dec. 4, 1908, 10 days after giving birth to their fourth child. Robert’s sisters, Agnes and Amy Sinclair, moved into the mansion with him, the children, and Robert’s mother, Caroline.
Caroline Sinclair, the widow of meatpacking baron Thomas Sinclair, built the mansion now known as Brucemore as a home for her six children after he husband died in an accident at his plant in 1881.
Caroline died in the Douglas mansion on May 25, 1917, at age 69. At the time, the newspaper described her as one of the wealthiest and most generous women in the city.
Amy Sinclair became ill with a streptococcal infection. She developed tonsillitis, which caused heart disease, and she died May 2, 1921, at age 45. The funeral was held in the Douglas mansion.
All three Sinclair women were laid to rest in the family plot, block 76, of Oak Hill Cemetery in southeast Cedar Rapids.
Tara Templeman is curator at The History Center. Comments: email@example.com