this of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Lowe at Grand Rapids. Mich., that one sees the steady development of architecture and landscape architecture in a state which was not a state until ninety years ago.
In all of the important cities around the Great Lakes there have always been houses which were centers of cultivation; houses in some cases beautiful without as within. This is true not only in Chicago and Cleveland, but in particular of Detroit. It is true, in isolated instances, of the smaller cities and the small towns of the Middle West; and almost anywhere one sees traces of fine building, sometimes of old gardens planned with simple taste and planted well.
To-day, however, the movement toward beautiful, toward picturesque building grows as the gardening movement does—which is to say, in unprecedented volume. And the instance given on these pages is but one of many. While Grand Rapids is a lesser city, but known for the beautiful
topography of its situation and surrounding country and for its outstanding quality as a city built and maintained by an integral American stock, reinforced by a stable population of Holland Dutch, this house and garden are perhaps as good an example as may be given to show the true progress we are making in building and in gardening. For here, to adapt the Baconian phrase, men have come both to build stately and to garden finely.
|Shrub planting plan, Edward Lowe estate, Grand Rapids, Mich., 1922. Cornell Univ. Library|
"Holmdene" the place is called. All the broader parts of this eighty acres of beautifully rolling and wooded land were planned, so far as further planting was concerned, by Mr. O. C. Simonds, while Ellen Shipman made the garden. The photographs shown here were taken in the month of June when delphiniums and accompanying flowers were at their best.
|Terrace, Edward Lowe estate, Grand Rapids, Mich.|
Four feet below the terrace is another with flower borders, a long panel of turf and a gay garden seat at either end.
|One of the three water features in this enchanting garden of varying levels is the oblong pool in the main perennial garden which occupies a broad terrace approximately 60 x 150 feet lying two levels below the terrace|
Three more steps down, and one comes to a circular stone platform where a jet of water falls into a lead basin, with a great oil jar against whose base pinks snuggle, and back of which rises the rich green of lilac foliage. This is all in the center of a narrow terrace with one long walk of gravel bordered again by perennial bloom. Thence three more curving steps on either side of the basin lead to yet another of these little flower-bordered walks, hooped with rose-covered bamboo arches, and with irises, delphiniums and all the profusion of color of early and late summer in rich perfection.
Lower terrace and Winged Mercury, Edward Lowe estate, Grand Rapids, Mich., Cornell Univ. Library
The pool, a raised one with a low wall of stone, is in a recess to the west of a stone-paved platform, where two very symmetrical dwarf apple trees give a decorative effect from every point of view, and under whose shade the earlier tea and the later coffee are often enjoyed. From this center of interest run two curving walks partly enclosing the rose garden, with high-clipped hedges of arborvitae on their outer sides.
In the late sun of a warm August evening, as one sits on this platform gazing upward toward the ivy-hung house, there could hardly he a fairer sight in American gardens than this which meets the eye. Gardens, gardens—four of them on ascending levels till the floor level of the house is reached. The fine austerity of the rose garden, surmounted in midsummer by the great masses of phloxes in full bloom; in three places water, now dripping, now a smooth expanse; the clipped cedar, hemlock, and arborvitae as foils to the wealth of color—all this with the magnificent background of deep oak woods starred in May with daffodils in the north of house and gardens and that garden with its sweet scent of lilies and of phloxes, gives one the impression of a most finished English beauty in America. Louisa Yeomans King
|"Holmdene" Historical Marker|
First floor plan, 1906, Edward Lowe estate, Grand Rapids, Mich.
"Holmdene Manor has been the haunted focal point of Aquinas College for decades. Gary Eberle, the author of Haunted Houses of Grand Rapids, is a professor at this esteemed institution. He has been heard to say on many occasions that he continues to collect ghost stories about this historical landmark to this day.
In order to understand the nature of the haunting, it is necessary first to know the past of this extraordinary manor. Edward Lowe and his wife. Susan Blodgett Lowe, purchased the property on which it sits in 1905. Edward was the grandson of Richard Edward Emerson Butterworth. Together with his wife. Susan, they were responsible for the establishment and funding of both Butterworth and Blodgett hospitals in Grand Rapids. Michigan.
The site of their dream home was originally the sixty-nine-acre McCoy dairy farm located on the former Rathbun property. Construction of their home took place on what was then the outskirts of Grand Rapids. The Tudor-style manor took nearly three years to complete. In 1908, Richard and Susan Lowe, along with their teenage son, Edward Jr., seventeen; daughter, Barbara, fifteen; and young son James, age four, were finally able to move into their twenty-two-room landmark house. They named it Holmdene Manor, after 'holm' which is a particular type of oak tree and 'dene' which means estate.
The residence was known in town as being the most elegant abode around. In 1911, two years after Theodore Roosevelt completed his term as president, he visited Grand Rapids for a Lincoln Day address. He stayed as a house guest of the Lowes and slept in a guest room on the second floor.
While reviewing census reports, it became clear that there were always a great number of people living in the manor. According to the 1910 census, the Lowe family had two live-in cooks, one with a six-year-old daughter listed as a boarder: a housemaid: a waitress: a butler; two chambermaids;
a housekeeper; a coachman; a barn keeper; and a launderer. The 1930 census showed that after the Lowe children grew up and moved away from their childhood home, Edward and Susan downsized their live-in help to five servants.
The 1930's brought great heartache to the Lowe family. Susan died on August 1. 1931, at the age of fifty-eight. She passed away peacefully in the garden she adored, a true blessing, as it was one of her favorite places to be. Edward only survived six years without his wife and departed this world to be with her on July 2, 1938.
Less than a year after Edward's death, the Lowe family sold the entire estate' to the University of Grand Rapids in 1939. The college used the building for only a few years before it was forced to close due to financial issues dining the Second World War.
In 1945, the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids, a sect that came to Michigan in 1877 to teach in Catholic parish schools, purchased the property. In 1940. the sisters founded Aquinas College, which was named after Saint Thomas Aquinas, an Italian Dominican priest and philosopher. Having outgrown their downtown college grounds located on Ransom Avenue in Grand Rapids, they moved the main campus to this beautiful estate. Under new ownership, the Holmdene Manor came to serve as both the home of the administration office and additional classrooms for the college.
In 1955, Aquinas expanded its campus and built a new administration building. It was at this time that the manor became the residence of the Dominican Sisters, all of whom taught at the college. In 1980. Holmdene was granted Historic Landmark status. Following this decree, the building
underwent a complete restoration. One year later, it was reopened and used as administration and faculty offices.
Hardly a student on campus will deny having heard about the ghostly activity inside Holmdene Manor. However, with just a little research, I was able to prove that part of the story behind the haunting is nothing more than an urban legend.
If you perform a Google search on the Holmdene haunting, you will run across the exact same tales being retold on many different websites." Follow THIS LINK to read more.
|Front elevation, 1906, Edward Lowe estate, Grand Rapids, Mich.|
|West Side Garden Elevation, 1906, Edward Lowe estate, Grand Rapids, Mich.|
|Sid Elevation of Dormer and Chimney, 1906, Edward Lowe estate, Grand Rapids, Mich.|
|Beginning as the Carriage House for the Lowe family, the Cook Carriage House is home to the Campus Life Office and Moose Café.|
|The building originally served as the stables for the estate; but after a 1978 fire the stables were rebuilt as the Bukowski Pastoral Center and, eventually, Bukowski Chapel.|
wikimpaia.org LOCATION. BING.
The Blissveldt Romance filmed at "Holmdene"