Michigan mansion built in 1876 full of architecture, history

Bruce Mansion in Brown City plays host to public ghost hunts

The Bruce Mansion (Joanne Marie Hoopes)

BROWN CITY, Mich. – The Bruce Mansion in Brown City, Mich. is rich in both architecture and history.

UPDATE: This is now a private residence and there are no tours available. Visitors should not trespass on the property.

Ghost hunters say it's rich in sprits.

Town records show Scottish immigrant John G. Bruce built the home in 1876.

The mansion has three floors and a cellar that holds remains of a coal room and a large cement cistern for water collection.

The attic has access to the home’s tower copula which can be seen prominently on the outside.

The style of the mansion is traditional of homes built in the Victorian era.

"The bay and dormer windows, the elaborate moldings and brackets on the exterior of the house are classic examples of Victorian second empire architecture," said Architect Craig Rossi.

Notable inside is the grand mahogany stair case that leads to the second floor. The stair case along with most of the wood trim, moldings and flooring are original to the home.


In 1881 fire destroyed much of the town while the Bruce home was spared, according to brucemansion.com.

John Bruce sold the home to Cynthia Smith who died in the mansion around 1921. In the years that followed, the manor changed ownership several times, reports the website.

What could make the mansion more interesting?  How about legends of ghosts and accounts of paranormal activity.

Investigators claim to have documented many electronic voice phenomenon or EVP’s there.

"We provide investigation services to homeowners as well as business owners who think they might be dealing with a haunting. We never charge a fee for our services. We have a passion for two things, investigating the paranormal and helping people," said lead investigator Mark Krueger.

Legends of ghosts:

Customary of 1900's living, town funerals were once held inside the home say investigators.

"Back in the day people used to have funerals in their homes, this being the most extravagant home, this is where the funerals were held," said investigator David Owens.

Owens says the powder room next to the parlor is but one area in the home known for "encounters."

"We have a prankster ghost who likes to try and open the door on men who are using the restroom," said investigator Suzette Parling.  "They will hear the door knob jiggle and then no one is there."

John Walker and his wife moved into the home in the 1920’s. Walker died on the property in 1926.

Owens says Walker is the only resident of the mansion without an official cause listed on his death certificate. "Within a year his wife left him, the fortune was gone and the house was in foreclosure and so he died of unknown reasons," he said.

According to town legend, Walker killed himself here.

"This is the tower that you see outside, the rumor has it that he (Walker) climbed up in there with a rope and hung himself up in that tower," said Owens.

Human apparitions are not the only things Grimstone say lurk in the home. The ghost of a cat has been seen on the first floor, according to witnesses.

"I was standing here and I looked and saw something run along the floor, I let it go, second time I was over here about an hour later, saw it again," said Chris Bailey research director at Grimstone. "Apparently a lot of people see this cat, it always seems to run into that room."

Visitors to the home have also reported hearing the sound of a dog or perhaps something more sinister growling in the empty basement.

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The Bruce Mansion