2205 Jefferson, Midland, MI
Designed by Alden B. Dow FAIA, 1954.
Alden B. Dow completed the drawings for the Midland Community Center in March of 1954. The specifications for the project were sent out for bids and one month later, the general construction contract was awarded to Spence Brothers of Saginaw for its bid of $820,800. Contracts for plumbing, heating, and electrical totaled $342,943. Knoll Associates provided the furnishings for $40,623. The total cost of the building upon construction came to $1,204,366.
The Community Center sits comfortably in a residential neighborhood that adjoins Midland’s Central Park. The low-lying brick structure has a white stucco frieze stretching above a line of large picture windows across the front. The frieze continues around a 130-foot long covered walkway that leads to the entrance, much like the projecting walkway of the Midland Public Library, also designed by the architect at around the same time. Off to one side of the walkway near the entrance is a concrete terrace.
The flat, somewhat unobtrusive appearance of the building masterfully conceals a multitude of spaces for activities on two levels. Arranged in a T-shaped floor plan, the first level featured a recreation room, dining room and kitchen, five meeting rooms, swimming pool, locker rooms, and steam room.
On the lower level were a youth center, a Pioneer Room for retirees, a Mirror Room for dance and ballet classes, more meeting rooms, arts and crafts rooms, three photography darkrooms, gym, squash and handball courts, table tennis area, and equipment storage. Also on the lower level underneath the covered walkway above was a 100-foot long shooting range for firearms instruction and practice.
The Midland Community Center was dedicated on October 30, 1955. It has been renovated and expanded several times over the succeeding years.