The History of Cranbrook: From a Striped Trail to a World-Class Center

In the 1850s, a colony of artists gathered in Cranbrook and produced romanticized images of the rustic past. The trail that ran through the area had a humble beginning, but it has since become an official and appreciated part of the Cranbrook network. In 1908, Albert Kahn designed a house for the founders of Cranbrook, George Booth and Ellen Scripps Booth. This English Arts and Crafts style house marked the beginning of what would eventually become a world-renowned educational community. Today, Cranbrook is one of the world's leading centers of education, science and art.

It includes a Graduate Academy of Art, a Museum of Contemporary Art, the historic gardens of House 26, a natural history museum and independent university preparatory schools. Notable alumni and professors at the Cranbrook Academy of Art include Harry Bertoia, Richard DeVore, Charles Eames, Ray Eames, Waylande Gregory, Florence Knoll (who did not graduate), Daniel Libeskind and Eero Saarinen. Cranbrook is also known for its contemporary American design. The level of the marshes in the area was once raised, but this caused flooding in Cranbrook. The Fish and Wildlife Subdivision now maintains it at its original level.

Arguably Cranbrook's most popular lake is Jimsmith Lake, which is best known for its grassy shoreline, calm waters and its proximity to the city. It is generally accepted that Cranbrook is named after the cranes that were common in the stream that crosses the Crane Valley and below the St. David's Bridge. In 1898, Baker successfully convinced the Canadian Pacific Railway to establish its Crowsnest Pass line through Cranbrook instead of Fort Steele.

The Cranbrook Art Museum is a contemporary art museum with a permanent collection, including works by Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, Maija Grotell, Carl Milles, Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Over the years, the Cranbrook children's school campus grew to include Stevens Hall, Page Hall and Coulter Hall. We invite you to learn more about Cranbrook and its founders by visiting the following pages and scheduling a guided tour of Cranbrook House.

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