The Mr. and Mrs. Louis P. Butenschoen House, designed by Alden B. Dow in 1941, is a single story brick house set well back on a spacious lot adjacent to the Midland Country Club and close to a number of other Dow-designed homes.
Louis Butenschoen, a technological chemical engineer at the Dow Chemical Company, and his wife sought out Dow because of their appreciation of modern design. Dow prepared plans for a house that, although quite compact, was still free flowing and comfortable.
Color renderings were presented to the Butenschoens in April, and a contract with the Alden Dow Building Company was signed on July 18, 1941. The $12,200 home was to be completed by December 20, 1941. Though work began immediately, construction actually continued into the following July, and the final cost amounted to $12,728.13.
The Butenschoen House is an excellent example of Alden B. Dow’s ability to create a well-designed and efficiently functioning house at a modest cost. The use of natural brick inside and out, the broad expanses of glass and mirror, the abundance of built-in cupboards and shelves, and the careful arrangement or public and private spaces are characteristics also found in his larger houses of the same period.
The Louis P. Butenschoen House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on June 22, 2004 as part of the Residential Architecture of Alden B. Dow in Midland, Michigan, 1939-1941 National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property nomination. The nomination features six of Dow’s designs during this period.
Dow, Alden. 1970. Reflections. Midland: Northwood Institute.
Dow, Alden. 1973. Way of Life. Midland: Northwood Institute.
Maddex, Diane. 2007. Alden B. Dow: Midwestern Modern. New York: Distributed by W.W. Norton.
Robinson, Sidney K. 1983. The Architecture of Alden B. Dow. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.