1517 Bayliss, Midland, MI
Designed by Alden B. Dow FAIA, 1960.
Alden and Vada Dow were long-time supporters of the work of the Salvation Army in Midland. Mrs. Dow served on its advisory board during the 1950’s and 60’s, and Mr. Dow donated bushels of apples from the Dow orchards every year to the annual Fall Harvest Festival to raise money for its missionary work. When the organization needed a new building to further its outreach to the community, its leaders turned to Mr. Dow.
Planning for the new building first began in 1961. The site plan was finalized and working drawings were completed in June of 1962. The construction contract was signed in September, with Serenus Johnson and Son of Bay City as the general contractor for the cost of $101,200.
The Chicago Common brick exterior is covered by a flat roof on the south and north sides with a low-pitched roof rising over the center section of the structure. A 12” tall raised copper-clad vent cap runs the length of the ridge beam. A tall brick chimney anchors the east end.
The recessed entrance features a row of windows over beveled wood siding. Offices are immediately to the left of the entry. The main floor is a large open space with a chapel to the left and an all-purpose area with a brick fireplace to the right side. The ceiling is plaster, broken at four foot intervals by exposed rafters that frame fluorescent light panels. A nursery is located next to another entrance on the north side of the building. The lower level includes a large fellowship hall, four classrooms, a kitchen, and equipment and storage rooms.
While planning the building’s dedication service in April 1963, Salvation Army Captain Harold Riches wrote to Mr. Dow:
“The all-purpose room or lounge in our new church is one of a very unique nature and I certainly do not know of any other Salvation Army Citadel that has this type of room. With the interest you and Mrs. Dow have shown in The Salvation Army program it would be my pleasure to have this room known as the Alden and Vada Dow Lounge, and I would appreciate your permission to plan this accordingly.”
With his typical modesty (and humor), Mr. Dow replied:
“Mrs. Dow and I are real believers in the Salvation Army and we will continue to support it, but please don’t name rooms after us. We appreciate the thought, but somehow it only makes us feel like we were six feet in the ground! I hope this will make you smile.”
The Salvation Army Citadel is currently the home of Creative 360, a non-profit community arts and wellness organization.