Cranbrook’s original lean-to greenhouse was built in 1908; the same year the Booths moved into Cranbrook House. It was located on the southeast side of Cranbrook House and was much smaller than the present-day Conservatory Greenhouse.
According to Henry Scripps Booth, the original greenhouse was built because Ellen Scripps Booth loved flowers and it made it possible for Cranbrook House to have flowers year-round.
In 1910, a second greenhouse, designed by Burrowes and Wells, was built on the current site (south of the Sunken Garden). Architectural drawings of the 1910 greenhouse are housed in the Cranbrook Archives.
Although supporting evidence of this has not been confirmed, it is rumored that the second greenhouse was destroyed in 1920 by a fire.
In 1950, a third greenhouse was built by William P. Klemm & Son. This greenhouse is still used today by Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary volunteers for educational purposes, propagation, and plant sales.
The greenhouse was significantly renovated by Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary in 2008. Renovations were funded by the Auxiliary Annual Fund and Endowment Fund. In 2013, the Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary Board voted to designate the building as a Conservatory Greenhouse to better its purpose.