Alden B Dow was born in Midland, Michigan on April 10, 1904 to Herbert Henry and Grace A. (Ball) Dow. From his father, who founded The Dow Chemical Company, came his pioneer spirit.

From both his parents came the love of beauty, as expressed in flowers, nature and landscaping, the desire to innovate and search for the inter-reactions which led to the development of 'ideas of quality', and the qualities of leadership which were to be an inspiration to so many whose lives he would influence.

Early Life

After a year and a half association with the offices of architects Frantz and Spence of Saginaw, Michigan, Alden Dow spent a memorable summer (1933) with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

It was here that he met his kindred spirit: Frank Lloyd Wright shared his interest in nature . . . in the relationships of structural systems and materials to a design . . . and the effect of a building as an environment upon those living in it.


Starting His Own Firm
Mr. Dow opened his architectural office in 1934 in a studio of his own design. Designed with "honesty, humility and enthusiasm," three of the guiding principles which were to become inherent in all his future works, the building is acknowledged to be a classic in the successful and delicate blending of landscape and architecture.

In November 1941 the firm of Alden B. Dow, Inc. was formed with Mr. Dow as president and treasurer. In 1963 the name was changed to Alden B. Dow Associates Inc. Today the firm continues as Dow Howell Gilmore Associates Inc.

Alden Dow's early work was primarily in the residential field. His own unique system of Unit Block construction dominated his homes of the 1930s. At the 1937 Paris International Exposition he was awarded the "Diplome de Grand Prix" for the best residential design in the world in recognition for the John Whitman residence and his own home and studio design. In subsequent decades new materials and new styles were developed.

It is particularly fortunate for Midland that Alden Dow chose to remain in his home town. Through his concern for the landscape, his unique buildings and their settings and the ever-evolving Dow Gardens, he provided a living exhibition of outstanding architectural quality. The foresight and enthusiasm of Mr. Dow and his family have enhanced the life of the citizens with opportunities unmatched by communities of similar size in the United States.

Midland is known for its beautiful homes and churches. In addition, most Midland school children study and learn in Alden Dow's buildings and many of their parents work in Dow-designed offices, civic or commercial buildings and scientific laboratories.

In 1983, crowning the achievements of his fifty year career, Alden Dow was named Architect Laureate of his home state of Michigan.

At age seventy-nine, Alden Dow died on August 20,1983. A beautiful service was held in the Dow Gardens in final tribute to this most remarkable man.

DHGA Today

James Howell and Jack Lee, two of the current principals of DHGA, worked closely with Alden B Dow. 1961 brought Jim Howell to the firm as a senior draftsman. Jim succeeded Mr. Dow as chairman of the board in 1974.

In 1963, Jack Lee joined the firm as a project designer. Jack currently serves as vice president and director of planning.

Donald Koster joined Dow Howell Gilmore Associates Inc, in 1994 as its president. He is best known for his innovative design of the Steelcase Corporate Development Center "Pyramid" in Grand Rapids, Michigan which Don states was inspired by "prairie architecture".

Bob Hill joined DHGA's Florida office in 2001. Bob brings many years of experience in the hospitality arena and will be responsible for developing new business opportunities and providing quality design solutions. Bob also became the treasurer of DHGA's Board of Directors in 2001.

In the course of its development, our firm has passed into the control of its employees. Our corporate office is located in Midland Michigan, and our regional office is located in West Palm Beach Florida.

The firms philosophy is still very much "in the spirit" of its founder, Alden B. Dow.


"Through positive creativity we are doing what nature intended us to do -- we
grow and contribute. And in this process we can find, each of
us, personal happiness and fulfillment."
-A.B. Dow




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