The history of Cranbrook Schools and the Cranbrook Educational
Community is rich and extensive, tracing its roots back to the 1800's
and the auspicious marriage of Ellen Scripps to George Booth. The
Booths went on to become the founders of Cranbrook, the visionaries who
dreamed these institutions into being and who believed they should
build something lasting and valuable with their lives and resources. To
learn more about the historical legacy left by the Booths, visit our Historic Timeline
, or contact the Archives Office at 248.645.3581.
and Ellen Booth bought the land that would become Cranbrook in 1904 and
began to improve it for use as a vacation spot and potential home site.
In 1908, they moved into their new home, Cranbrook House, designed by
Detroit architect Albert Kahn. The Booths then began to look toward the
future, hoping that the property could assume a higher service of some
the Booths joined with a few local parents to organize a school for
neighborhood children at the Meeting House. Known as the Bloomfield
Hills School in its early years, the institution was helped
considerably by the Booths, who set up a trust to underwrite its
educational programs and made additions to the Meeting House as
required to accommodate the growing number of pupils. In 1929, the
school was enlarged substantially by the Booth's son Henry. Its name
was changed to Brookside School the following year.
George Booth began to collaborate with architect Eliel Saarinen to
develop plans for other educational institutions on the Cranbrook
campus. The first project Saarinen undertook for the Cranbrook
Foundation established by the Booths in 1927 was to build Cranbrook
School, which was completed in 1928. In 1929, Saarinen began to design
the girls' school, Kingswood School Cranbrook, and he collaborated with
artisans to create furniture, fabrics and other decorative elements for
the schools. Kingswood school opened to students in 1931.
years, the schools were governed as separate bodies. In 1970, an
agreement was made to create a single board to govern the three
schools—Brookside, Kingswood and Cranbrook. This agreement created
administrative and educational collaboration between the schools,
co-educational classes in the upper schools and programs which allowed
faculty and resource sharing.
The present organization of
Cranbrook Schools, begun in October 1984 and completed the following
autumn, included the merging of Cranbrook and Kingswood upper schools
to create the unified, co-educational Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School
that spans two campuses. Similarly, the middle schools were reorganized
as Cranbrook Kingswood Middle School, with two single-sex campuses.
Brookside School, the Cranbrook Kingswood Lower School, continues to
operate in its historical quarters as a co-educational school. In 1996,
the Vlasic Early Childhood Center, designed by architect Peter Rose,
first opened on the Brookside campus to students in pre-, junior and
Cranbrook Schools continues to be a
highly respected institution, part of a unique educational center which
includes a respected scientific institute, a successful artistic
community, beautiful grounds and exceptional architecture. As we grow,
we respect and honor the vision and foundation of our schools as set
forth by George and Ellen Booth upon the founding of Cranbrook.