Mary E. Dow House
The Mary E. Dow House was designed in 1936 by Alden B. Dow for his aunt, Miss Mary E. Dow. Mr. Dow responded to the challenges and limitations of a small urban lot with an imaginative unit block design that according to Tom Trombley from the Saginaw Castle Museum, is made of 14 different kinds of the unit blocks that are the hallmark of Dow designs. Through the use of terraces and raised planters, he was able to create an environment that was both open to nature and afforded his aunt a maximum amount of privacy. After Miss Dow passed away in 1953, First Congregational Church purchased the home. An addition to the Church attached the home and altered the exterior. The interior was left intact.
Designing the organic building required a strong, visible geometry, uniting indoor and outdoor spaces without unnecessary barriers, and taking into consideration the requirements of view. Alden Dow's unit block houses employed the unusual architecture effect of horizontal and vertical joints in neat and organized walls and woven into the foliage of the landscape. Creating environments where building and nature grow together was one of Alden B. Dow's great architectural accomplishments.
Over the years, the Mary E. Dow House found usefulness as a cooperative nursery, a meeting place for the Church's youth groups (known as Plymouth House), a temporary home for a minister in the past, a housekeeping training center linked to the Millet Learning Center, offices for The Ezekiel Project, and the parsonage of Rev. Dr. Todd S. Farley. It is once again empty and there is renewed interest in its restoration. Monies granted from The Mills Trust will be used to restore both the upper and lower bathrooms. We thank FirstMerit Bank for their consideration that will honor the memory of Frances Goll Mills, a long-time Church member prior to her death.