Midland Fire Station No. 1 by Alden B. Dow

Midland Fire Station No. 1 is one of the 39 civic structures designed by Alden B. Dow during his career. He completed the working drawings on April 23, 1955, and in June the construction contract was awarded to the Charles Engelhardt Construction Company of Bay City. The final cost of the station was $140,216. The […]

Midland Hospital by Alden B. Dow

Alden B. Dow’s initial presentation drawing for a proposed Midland Hospital was dated August 1938, a full two years before the Midland Hospital Association was established.  The Association organized the fund raising campaign to build the city’s first hospital in 1940, eventually securing pledges of $275,000 from 5,200 community members.  A Federal Works Administration grant […]

Alden B. Dow’s Houses for Ingersoll Village in Kalamazoo, Michigan

As World War II drew to a close, Alden B. Dow actively participated in the design of badly-needed, low-cost housing.  Seeking an efficient and economical way to build homes, the Ingersoll Steel and Disc Division of the Borg-Warner Corporation of Kalamazoo produced a prefabricated, all-in-one utility unit that could be manufactured off site and rolled […]

Dow Chemical Company 2020 Building by Alden B. Dow

A recent Facebook post about the University of Michigan Administration Building and its demolition prompted an interesting observation about how “un-Dow-like” the design of the building appeared.  While the exterior displayed a composed order of squares and rectangles, it was not the first time Alden B. Dow composed the surface of a non-residential structure. Nine […]

Demolition of the University of Michigan Administration Building in Ann Arbor, Michigan

During the 1950s and 1960s, Alden B. Dow built six university and three civic buildings in Ann Arbor.  Perhaps his most unusual campus building was the University of Michigan Administration Building, which he designed in 1964.  The exterior is like a geometric Mondrian painting rendered in three dimensions.  The brick curtain wall fastened to the […]

Nelson Street School/Parkdale Elementary School by Alden B. Dow

While the initial site plan for Midland High School was being sketched by Alden B. Dow in December of 1953, one corner of the same 60-acre plot of land was soon to become the location of Nelson Street Elementary School.  For the design, the Board of Education again selected Mr. Dow, who completed the drawings […]

Northeast Elementary/Plymouth Elementary School by Alden B. Dow

Alden B. Dow began the drawings for Northeast Elementary School in December of 1951.  It had a simple floorplan of five classrooms, an office, and a work room lined up on either side of a single corridor.  It featured a monitor roof with glass block windows rising 5 feet above the roofline.  For the exterior, […]

Alden B. Dow’s Kalamazoo Nature Center Gets a New Dome

After protecting the Sun/Rain Room for nearly six decades, the Kalamazoo Nature Center’s iconic dome and roof are being replaced.  Designed by Alden B. Dow in 1961 and opened to the public in September 1964, the highlight of the Center has been the two-story tall grey Plexiglas dome.  It spans 56 feet in diameter over […]

Dr. Mark W. Dick Residence by Alden B. Dow

Dr. Mark Dick and his wife, Dr. Louise Schnute, were pediatricians practicing in Grand Rapids when they wrote to Alden B. Dow in March 1955 to ask if he would design a home for them.  Dr. Schnute had first heard of the architect earlier when she was a resident at the University of Michigan Hospital […]

Indian River Catholic Church by Alden B. Dow

Nestled among tall pines and set into a sloping lot overlooking Burt Lake in northern Michigan, Indian River Catholic Church was designed by Alden B. Dow in 1948.  Very little documentation exists aside from specifications for a church and rectory building—no contract, no building contractor, no cost information, and scant correspondence.  Not readily recognizable as […]

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