One of the many outings our family enjoys during the summer months is to visit the nearby Cranbrook House and Gardens in Bloomfield Hills. Cranbrook is the oldest Metropolitan Detroit historic manor dating back over 100 years. It was built by Ellen and George Booth. Ellen was the eldest daughter of James Scripts, founder of the Detroit News and George was the owner of a successful iron-working company in Windsor, Ontario. The couple wed in 1887 and initially lived in the city of Detroit. The following year, George joined his father-in-law as an executive in the Scripps family publishing empire which did business throughout the entire Mid-west.
Over time the couple accumulated much wealth by investing in other Michigan-run newspapers. Together with his brothers, George went on to establish the Booth Publishing Company, the most extensive and profitable in Michigan history. The Booths longed for a large country estate to raise their five children and in 1907 they broke ground on the 174-acre property in Bloomfield Hills. Booths’ long-term friend and noted Detroit architect, Albert Kahn, designed the English Arts and Crafts Style estate. Even after the Booths moved in, building continued adding many terraces, wings, outbuildings, gardens, and walking paths until the early 1920’s.
Booth personally commissioned tapestries, wood carvings, furniture, metalwork, glass work, fine bindings and other decorative items from leading American and European artisans and crafts firms for the house. He also acquired several important works of art by old masters for the residence.
Once their home was complete, they turned their attention to giving back to the community and established the Brookside School for children, the Cranbrook School for boys, the Kingswood School for girls, Christ Church Cranbrook, the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and the Cranbrook Institute of Science.
Together these make up one of the most exclusive and beautiful educational campus’ in the Midwest. For more information regarding the house click here: Cranbrook House and Gardens. For information regarding the schools click here: Cranbrook School.