William E. Scripps / Estate
William E. Scripps
As Son of James E. Scripps, founder of the Detroit (Evening) News, William E. Scripps (1882 - 1952) was heir to a publishing fortune. He preferred engineering, and science to improve people's lives. Scripps was fascinated by early twentieth-century technologies. He built a motorized boat engine, formed the Scripps-Booth Motor Car Company with his nephew James Scripps Booth, and started the first commercial radio station in the U.S., Detroit's WWJ. He taught himself to fly an airplane in 1912 and was one of the first to own one. Using aviation to improve news delivery, he published some of the earliest aerial newspaper photos. Scripps was also devoted to conservation and land reclamation. In 1916 he began buying land for Wildwood Farms.
William E. and Anna Scripps Estate
Between 1916 and his death in 1952, William E. Scripps acquired 3,830 acres for Wildwood Farms. Detroit architect Clarence E. Day designed the Norman Revival manor house completed in 1927, and landscape architect Bryant Fleming planned the gardens and grounds. Scripps envisioned the farm as a model for demonstrating that modern soil conservation methods and the raising of livestock could renew nutrient-depleted farmland. Intent on improving the food supply, he assembled the finest stock for breeding cattle, dairy cows, sheep, and swine, as well as draft horses. Scripps also created a wildlife sanctuary at Wildwood. The house and 60 acres are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.