Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Booth, George & Ellen

On June 1, 1887, George G. Booth married Ellen Warren Scripps, creating a partnership that would impact the city of Detroit for many years to come. The Scripps family owned and operated the Detroit News, and George took to the family business almost immediately, eventually becoming the president of the newspaper.

In 1904, George and Ellen purchased land in Bloomfield Hills on which they wanted to build a house that would serve as their summer home.  Eventually they decided that they wanted to live in the country full time. In 1908, using their significant means, the family moved into the house which they named Cranbrook.  Aside from the house, the estate consisted of other buildings, roads, lakes, and gardens. 

Ultimately, the Booths began to believe that they were meant to use their resources to create something more lasting for the community. They wanted their estate to serve a greater purpose to the public. As a result, in 1922 they began to focus on the construction of six institutions: the Brookside School for Children, Christ Church Cranbrook, Cranbrook School for Boys, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Cranbrook Institute of Science, and Kingswood School for Girls.  During construction in 1927, George Booth created the Cranbrook Foundation, a trust that that would be charged with the care, expansion, and upkeep of the entire Cranbrook family of schools and institutions. 

In 1944, the family deeded the home, its contents and the surrounding property to the Cranbrook Foundation, although they continued living there under a life trust.  The Cranbrook House now serves as the administrative center of the Foundation.  The Cranbrook Foundation is still very much active today, and time and time again it has ensured that Cranbrook remains at the forefront of culture and education in Metro Detroit.