Nestled into a hillside across from the Cranbrook Institute of Science is the Edison House, a low-profile modernist structure that blends in with its surroundings. In 1965, however, that structure was a pretty big deal. Conceived of as a partnership between the Institute of Science and the power company Detroit Edison, Edison House served as a spacious and elegant residence for visiting scientists and luminaries while also showcasing the cutting edge in electrical appliances at the time. Detroit Edison’s influence was felt throughout the house, from heaters in the garage to help drivers warm up their cars on a cold winter’s day to an intercom system that could double as a microphone to pick up the sounds of wildlife outside. Used primarily as temporary housing for scholars visiting CIS, Edison House became home to CIS director Daniel E. Appleman in the 1990s. Appleman and his family left the house in 1998, and CIS has since used it for various administrative purposes.
-Shoshana Resnikoff, Collections Fellow