Photo Friday: The Fate of the North Gates

Arriving at  Cranbrook House you have probably noticed the large wrought iron entrance gates that welcome guests to the property along Lone Pine Road. A collaborative design by Cranbrook Founder, George Gough Booth (1864 – 1949) and Polish-American blacksmith, Samuel Yellin (1885 – 1940), this pair of gates were completed in 1917and are among the most cherished historic decorative elements at Cranbrook. But did you know that they are not the only gates that were a Booth-Yellin collaboration situated on the property?

North Gates

The North (Woods) Entrance Gates in Yellin’s studio, 1917. Courtesy Cranbrook Archives

Affectionately referred to as the North Gates, the gates seen in this photograph were also a collaborative design by Booth and Yellin. Forged by Yellin in his Philadelphia studio in 1917, the North Gates were installed as a part of a stone entrance wall at the old Cranbrook House entrance drive just north of Kingswood School on Cranbrook Road. When the drive was closed to re-route traffic to the house, the gates were ultimately removed and put into storage where they have remained – until now! Next week the North Gates will be leaving Cranbrook for a short journey to Cleveland for a full restoration. The six month project will include the fabrication of hand-wrought ironwork to replicate missing elements, chiseling to recreate bird faces and leaf veins, sandblasting, and the replication of a historic surface finish. Upon their return next spring the gates will be reinstalled at the new exit drive at Cranbrook House on Lone Pine Road just west of the South Entrance gates. So keep your eyes peeled for the triumphant return of the freshly restored gates!

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The original site of the North Gates as it appears today on Cranbrook Road. Photographer, Gretchen Sawatzki

 

Gretchen Sawatzki, Associate Registrar

 

To check out some more gate related information click here and here!

Dispatch from the Archives: “Gatescapes,” Old and New

On October 5, Cranbrook Archives will be opening its second exhibition in the From the Archives series.  From the Archives: Forging Cranbrook’s Gatescape explores the long-lasting significance of gates to Cranbrook’s campus.  Points of transition and transformation, the gates have also long stood as a public display of Cranbrook’s dedication to art and design.

George Gough Booth sketch for a gate.  George Gough Booth Papers, Cranbrook Archives.

George Gough Booth sketch for a gate. George Gough Booth Papers, Cranbrook Archives.

Cranbrook’s love of gates originates with its founding father, George Gough Booth.  Booth, who came from a family of copper and tin metal workers, received early training at the Red Foundry in Ontario, Canada.  This, in part, led to his 1884 purchase of Barnum Wire and Iron Works in Windsor, Ontario with partner Fred Evans.  Booth wrote, “I conceived the idea of creating a new type of industry – selling with my pencil and not so much out of a catalogue – making special designs for fences, signs, bank counter railings…”   One of the earliest gates at Cranbrook designed by George Booth (and fabricated by Detroit Architectural Iron Works in 1916) is the first public gate located at the entrance to the Greek Theatre.

    Greek Theatre gates, designed by George Booth and produced by the Detroit Architectural Iron Works. 1916.

Greek Theatre gates, designed by George Booth and produced by the Detroit Architectural Iron Works. 1916.

Since Booth’s inception of Cranbrook, the community has steadily expanded the campus’ “gatescape.”  The most recent gates installed on campus are the “Valley Way” entrance gates (2012), designed by Architect-in-Residence William Massie.  Located at what was formerly known as the Vaughan Road Entrance, the gates were part of a project which widened the roadway to improve vehicular and pedestrian safety.  Working with Brian Oltrogge, Massie designed an abstraction of geometric triangles, a reference to Eliel Saarinen’s Kingswood gates.   The new gates were fabricated of laser-cut and bent steel.  The hand-bent “infill” was bolted to the steel frame and welded by Jody Cooper, Academy of Art alumni (Architecture Department 2012).

Closeup of Valley Way entrance gates, designed by Cranbrook Academy of Art Architect-in-Residence William Massie. The gates were completed in 2012.

Closeup of Valley Way entrance gates, designed by Cranbrook Academy of Art Architect-in-Residence William Massie. The gates were completed in 2012.

In conjunction with the exhibition opening, I’m going to be leading a walking and bus tour of the gates on Saturday, October 5.  We’ll be exploring all aspects of the gates, from their history in situ to the designers and makers who produced them.  Be sure to sign up here to join us, and get ready to delve deep into Cranbrook’s “gatescape”!

Leslie S. Edwards, Head Archivist

Photo Friday: Cranbrook’s Gatescape

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Close-up of the peacock for which Cranbrook School’s Peacock Gates are named. Designed and installed in 1927, restored in 2013. Cranbrook Archives.

Doors, entryways, gates – Cranbrook’s campus was designed with an eye towards points of transition.  Since its foundation 108 years ago, Cranbrook has maintained a long tradition of gate design and fabrication.  This close-up of a stylized peacock comes from Cranbrook School’s famous Peacock Gates; designed by Eliel Saarinen, they were produced by the metalsmith Oscar Bach in 1927.  Recently, a long restoration process culminated with their re-installation on the Cranbrook School campus.   This gate and many others are the subject of the second exhibition in the From the Archives series.  Drawing from the rich collection of the Cranbrook Archives, From the Archives: Forging Cranbrook’s Gatescape explores the history, design, and formation of Cranbrook’s historic and contemporary “gatescape.”

Experiencing the gates from within the walls of the Art Museum is nothing compared to seeing them in person.  With that in mind, Leslie S. Edwards, Head Archivist and exhibition curator, will be leading a walking and bus tour of the gates on Sunday, October 5.   The tour will take participants  to some of Leslie’s favorite gates, from beloved classics to the newest installations on campus.   More information on the exhibition and walking tour is available here.  Be sure to check it out, and get ready to see Cranbrook’s gates in a whole new light!

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