The Oscar Diehl Residence by Alden B. Dow
Oscar Diehl was a salesman for the Dow Chemical Company. He and his wife purchased a small corner lot on East Park Drive in Midland and commissioned Alden B. Dow to design a house for them. Renderings and working drawings for a modest home were presented to the Diehls in the spring of 1935; construction was substantially complete by January 1936.
The exterior displays the hallmarks of the Prairie Style – low pitched roof with wide overhangs, long unbroken wall surfaces, L-shaped design. To those elements Mr. Dow added his own signature features of a concealed front door and a massive chimney that breaks the horizontal planes of the rooflines. The structure sits back from the street except for an unusually long and narrow two-car garage at one end, where the vehicles fit in one behind the other.
The long low brick wall of the garage leads to the front door, where a shorter wing projects outward at a right angle toward the street. On the inside, this short wing opens into a spacious living room. The distinctive diamond pattern leaded windows were chosen by the Diehls. Built-in cypress shelving, vertical acoustex wall panels, and wood batten panels on the pitched ceiling provide a complex interplay of geometric patterns and materials. A door off the living room leads to a screened porch, connecting the house and its occupants to nature.
Adjacent to the living room is the dining room, with 10 individual built-in lights arranged in a circle in the center of the ceiling. The kitchen and a study are located along the main hallway. Stairs with an outside wall of glass block lead to the second floor with two bedrooms and a bathroom, plus dressing area in the master bedroom.
The Oscar Diehl residence was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
Did you know? Appointments are welcome to view or study any of the Archives materials featured in this post and can be arranged by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.