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The Bruck House, a built heritage

Black and white photo of a brick building with front columns and eight dormer windows. There is a smaller building to the right in the back with a pointed roof.

The Bruck House, circa 1990

The Bruck House, also known as the Bruck Mills Clubhouse, survives the sale of the company and its history is preserved through the acquisition of the building by the Municipality of Cowansville in 1979.

Drawing of the facade of a three-storey building with eight dormer windows

Drawing of the building’s façade

A historic building
The Second Empire-style house, adorned with mansard dormers and remarkable woodwork, is built in 1874 to house the first bank in Cowansville, the Eastern Townships Bank (ETB). However, in 1909, the expansion of the bank leads ETB to sell the building to industrialist William Frederick Vilas, who makes it his family home.

In 1941, his son Harold sells the house to Bruck Silk Mills, which had become the largest factory in Cowansville. The company sets up the premises to hold training sessions, meetings and receptions. It also accommodates its visiting executives. Numerous community activities for employees and their families take place within its walls, including evenings at the Recreation Club. The Bruck House becomes a hub for recreation and culture in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1956, The Centre d’art de Cowansville settles in and hosts numerous exhibitions until 1979.

A group of Bruck Mills employees posing at a party at Maison Bruck in 1944.

Evening at the Clubhouse, 1944

Cover page of a yellow leaflet with a drawing of Maison Bruck.

Promotional brochure, 1986

Gem of the Cowansville community
The Consolidated Textiles Company, the new owner of Bruck Mills, disposes of the building in October 1979, putting an end to the social link between the company and the community. The heritage building is transferred to the Municipality of Cowansville, thanks to the intervention of Mayor Rosaire Raymond. This marks the beginning of a new era in the community vocation of the house, now linked to the municipality. From the 1980s onward, several organizations settle in, including the Senior Recreation Club and the Cercle des fermières.

In 2004, the Municipality uses the site to promote cultural tourism while setting up a tourist information centre. In 2005, the Bruck House is awarded a Certificate of Honour from the Conseil des monuments et sites du Québec for the development and preservation of cultural heritage. The Société d’histoire de Cowansville moves in the same year and, in 2009, the Bruck House becomes the Bruck Museum and opens its doors to the public.