DISCOVER the history of DOW Gardens

Trace the history of the Garden from its inception in 1899, as a home for Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow and family, to the 110 acre oasis still blooming today.


In 1892, the young entrepreneur, Herbert H. Dow, married Grace A. Ball in Midland, Michigan. Dow had moved to Midland three years prior to start The Midland Chemical Company, precursor to the Dow Chemical Company. The pair went on to have seven children, six of whom lived into adulthood, and to create a loving and supportive environment for them to grow up in. Encouraged by Herbert and Grace’s involvement in and support of the local community, the children followed in their parents’ footsteps, becoming leaders, philanthropists, and role models in their own right. This upbringing took place within the walls of their home, and throughout the landscape that Herbert Dow developed.

The Family
The Pines


Two years after purchasing land on West Main Street in Midland, Herbert H. Dow employed architects Clark and Munger of Bay City to design his home, later known as The Pines. Work began on the home in the spring of 1899 and the family moved in mid-November of that year. This home would be the heart of the Dow family until Grace Dow’s passing in 1953. Despite later financial success, the Dows never purchased a second house or a vacation home, but instead continued to turn The Pines into the sanctuary they desired. Filled with art, books, teapots, and remnants of a bustling family life, the now National Historic Landmark welcomes guests inside for tours and special programs.


Herbert H. Dow began developing his property before construction of The Pines was completed. He spent time building an extensive orchard, raising livestock, constructing outbuildings like a barn and greenhouse, and developing his ornamental gardens. Photographs in the family archive highlight the various features he added to his property for the enjoyment of his family. Ponds and bridges, a maze, a swimming pool, and a profusion of flower beds all created a magical space for friends and family to explore and play in.

The Gardens feature


Upon her death in 1953, Grace A Dow left her property to the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, which she had established in 1936. In the 1970s, The Foundation began taking steps toward developing the grounds into a botanical garden. After a three-year revitalization program, overseen by Herbert and Grace’s son and famed architect Alden B. Dow, Dow Gardens opened to the public for daily admission. Over the decades, several additions and improvements have resulted in our 110-acre campus, lovingly maintained and interpreted by our staff. Dow Gardens is a signature gift of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.