Dreams from Detroit

View of the Booth family home, 605 Trumbull Avenue, Detroit. Ellen Scrips Booth is seated under the arch on the porch; George Gough Booth is standing nearly behind the bush on the right; ca 1898. Copyright Cranbrook Archives.

As joyful as their home life in Detroit was, Ellen and George Booth longed to establish themselves in the country, where they could play out their dreams of developing a fine estate on a far larger scale than was possible in the city. Accordingly, in 1904, they purchased a run-down 174-acre farm in Bloomfield Hills, named it Cranbrook after the English town the Booth family hailed from, and immediately began improving the property by laying roads, grading hillsides, creating lakes, erecting farm buildings and initiating a massive planting campaign to cover the barren rolling terrain.

Ground was broken for Cranbrook House in January of 1907 and the Booths took up residency in their new home in June of 1908.

The Booths were the first family of means to live year-round in Bloomfield Hills. 

Almost from the time they purchased the property the Booths felt strongly that they should devote their energy and wealth to a higher purpose, something that would be of service to the community. They decided to make Cranbrook a center of art, education, science and religion, and established Christ Church Cranbrook, Cranbrook Schools, Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum, and Cranbrook Institute of Science.