From Farmland to a Gentleman's Estate

Cranbrook Farm ca 1917. Copyright Cranbrook Archives.

For a while, the Booth estate was a working farm. The Booths briefly kept dairy cows and chickens on the property. Additional farm buildings designed by Albert Kahn were built in 1905 on the Kingswood site and haying was done along the ridge where Cranbrook Art Museum and Cranbrook Institute of Science now stand. George Booth, however, soon abandoned this idea, partly due to the influence of his first landscape gardener H J Corfield who was adamant that Booth could not have both a working farm and a gentleman’s estate.

As the plan for a gentlemen’s manor house took shape O.C. Simonds, a Chicago-based landscape architect was consulted. The plan included over 150,000 trees and shrubs (350 species) on the property. Later, the Vettraino family hired to live on the property as the Booths first gardeners.