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Alden & Vada Dow Foundation Marks 50 Years Since Founding in 1960

Book Pays Tribute to Career of Alden Dow, Protege of Frank Lloyd Wright

January 24, 2010       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Alden B. Dow, architect, Midland, Michigan.
Midwestern Modern, book by Diane Maddex, reviews life and work of Alden B. Dow.

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The Alden and Vada Dow Family Foundation marks its 50th year this year.

Mr. Dow was a protege of famed Chicago architect Frank Lloyd Wright as well as a son of the founder of The Dow Chemical Co., Herbert H. Dow.

"Alden B. Dow: Midwestern Modern," is a book written by Diane Maddex that reviews the 600 "often daringly modern" projects designed by Mr. Dow during his career from the 1930s to the 1960s. He left his mark on more than 100 buildings in Midland alone. The book is distributed by W.W. Norton & Co.

Diane Maddex, of Washington, D.C., formerly the director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Preservation Press, is the president of Arche-type Press and the author of many award-winning books on the American home. She also has written half a dozen books on Frank Lloyd Wright, "Bungalow Nation," "Built in the U.S.A.," and other publications.

The mission of the Alden and Vada Dow Family Foundations is to enhance the quality of life, primarily in the state of Michigan, through the funding of programs in the areas of the arts, the environment, education, health and human services, and youth programs.

Alden & Vada Dow and their children established a charitable foundation in 1960 to benefit the city of Midland and its surrounding communities. Today, the Alden & Vada Dow Family Foundations are made up of two grantmaking entities: The Alden and Vada Dow Fund and The Vada B. Dow Charitable Unitrust. The Foundations make grants in Central and Northern Michigan, with a particular focus on Midland, Bay, and Saginaw Counties.

The Alden and Vada Dow Family Foundations offices are located in the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio. Design of the Home and Studio began in 1934 soon after Alden and Vada Dow returned to Midland after participating in Frank Lloyd Wright's newly formed apprentice program in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

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The Home and Studio is the finest example of Alden Dow's own unique style of organic architecture. Cited by Architectural Digest as "one of the two most beautiful contemporary homes in the United States, (the other being Wright-designed Fallingwater), the Home and Studio is an outstanding example of man and nature creating together.

In 1986, Vada Bennett Dow and her children established the Alden and Vada Dow Creativity Foundation to preserve, share and encourage exploration of the philosophies of Alden B. Dow through public access to educational programs, tours and research opportunities provided by the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio, a National Historic Landmark, and the Alden B. Dow Archives, the repository for Alden Dow's architectural legacy.

The Home and Studio offers public tours, educational programs and tours, and research opportunities in the Alden B. Dow Archives. For more information regarding the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio, please visit their website at or call toll-free at 1-866-315-7678.###

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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