In 1922, the Bruce family sold the property to Mrs. Martin Weller. Most of the furnishings were sold at auction and the house was used as a library between 1931 and 1947. During this time, the house still had no electricity or running water. The house fell into disrepair until it was acquired in 1971 by the newly formed Waitsburg Historical Society, who began restoration, assisted by many local citizens and organizations, and without govenment funds. Original decor and furnishings were restored where possible, and the rest replaced with antiques of the period. The following photos show the restored interior.
Arriving at the Bruce House, you enter a hallway to the rear with stairs to the second floor and doorways to the left and right. Here, guests were greeted and depending on the occasion and who they were, they would be shown into either the parlor or the sitting room. Pictures of the Bruces decorate the wall at the bottom of the stairs.
As you look around the parlor you can't help but be impressed with the fine furnishings, carpet, and amenities such as the Edison phonograph with its large morning glory horn. Pictures of important Waitsburg people and relatives hang on the walls. Here, you would be greeted and entertained by your hosts.
You may even be entertained by one of the Bruce family playing on the piano or the pump organ.
If you' re staying for dinner, at the appointed hour you are escorted into the formal dining room, filled with fine furniture and china. At the back of the room you can see a pass-through window into the kitchen.
One can easily imagine the bustle and aromas around this kitchen as a meal was being prepared for guests. The stove and pump have been relocated to the kitchen from their original places in the attached cooking room and the back porch.
The Pantry is stocked with utensils and serving dishes and also serves as storage for appliances such as a cherry pitter and a pump operated vacuum. The pass through into the dining room can be seen at the bottom.
This room, just off the kitchen, is where the family gathers when there are no guests. There are items for entertainment, such as a magic lantern, phonograph, and steriopticon viewer, and a desk where the Bruce children work to get their homework done. With luck, they can do it before it gets dark and they have to finish it by lamplight. There is also a hidden Murphy bed in case it is needed for overnight guests.
At the top of the stairs, in what was probably a luggage storage room, is a place for bathing. A prominent family like the Bruces would have set up such a facility as soon as the fixtures such as metal tub and heater were available, although there is still no actual plumbing in the house. Baths before the conversion of this room would have been in a portable tub in the kitchen.
In the evening, the Bruces retired to the upstairs bedrooms. Each bedroom has its own stove, pitcher and bowl set, and chamber pot. There are also walk in closets in the bedrooms. For museum purposes, items that would normally be put away in drawers are displayed in antique store cabinets.
It was common practice to convert any unneeded bedrooms into office and library space, which Mr. Bruce would need to keep track of his many endeavors. Today, the room is filled with books and papers found in the Weller Library and others which have been donated, along with many important artifacts relating to the early history of the Touchet River valley.
Down the hall are another bedroom and the nursery. Fine quilts are displayed on the handrail where they are handy on those cold nights.
Two rooms in the house are furnished as bedroooms. This bedroom features a bed and furniture that were original to the house and which were donated when restoration was complete. A steamer trunk is being packed in the background, perhaps for a trip on the new Titanic steamer!
This room is set up as a children's room, with beds, toys, and dolls. It is just across the hall from Mother and Father's bedroom. We can imagine a part time nanny helping with the children and helping with their early lessons here.
When the rooster crows, you reluctantly get out of your warm bed and head back down the hall to the top of the stairs, where, if you are lucky, you can hear and smell breakfast being prepared.