William Edmund and Nina A. Downey Scripps Estate

Also known as: Moulton Manor, Wildwood Farm
1840 Scripps Rd., Lake Orion, Michigan


West Entrance

Photo taken by Jim Allen in October 2020




A Michigan Historical Marker Here reads:

Side 1: 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.

Side 2: 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.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 27, 2007
Reference number
NR name
Scripps, William Edmund and Nina A. Downey, Estate
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Norman
Areas of significance
Agriculture; Conservation; Transportation; Communications; Invention; Art; Architecture; Landscape Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; B - Person; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Single dwelling; Garden; Business; Outdoor recreation; Work of art (sculpture, carving, rock art); Agricultural outbuildings; Irrigation facility
Current functions
Hospital; Garden
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949; 1950-1974
Significant years
1916; 1926; 1929
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 2
Contributing structures: 5
Contributing sites: 1
Contributing objects: 22
Non-contributing structures: 6
Non-contributing objects: 2


20th Century (29,076)
Brick (42,462)
Bryant Fleming (8)
Built 1916 (786)
Built during 1910s (8,823)
Clarence E. Day (1)
Estate (194)
House (27,646)
Lake Orion, Michigan (2)
Michigan (1,951)
Oakland County, Michigan (76)
Private owner (54,398)
Sandstone (4,861)
Slate (5,715)
Stucco (7,816)
William Edmund Scripps (1)

Update Log 

  • October 11, 2020: New photo from Jim Allen
  • October 8, 2020: New photo from Jim Allen