“The Pines” served as a secure personal haven for Herbert H. Dow (1866–1930), founder and general manager of Dow Chemical Company, his wife, Grace Anna Ball (1869–1953), and their seven children. In 1899, seven years after their marriage, the Dows purchased the site with a pine grove and began building their comfortable house. The house was inspired by one they had seen near Chicago. They instructed Averton Edward Munger (b. 1867) of Bay City to avoid great expense and Colonial Revival detailing, and Dow paid close attention to all aspects of planning and building.
The house is typically midwestern. Standing two-and-a-half stories on a fieldstone foundation, the end-gabled asymmetrical house is fronted with a full-width porch. Fieldstone piers support the porch and attached porte-cochere. An intersecting gable covers the east portion of the house and sweeps down over the porch. The exterior walls are clad in wood clapboards. The first floor holds a hall, reception/music room, library/living room, dining room, and pantry and kitchen. The second floor has bedrooms, and the attic, room for servants, storage, and play. An addition for bedrooms and sleeping porch over a sun parlor on the east and a garage and maid's quarters at the rear expanded the house for the growing family. Furniture came from Grand Rapids; art was selected by the Dows for its personal appeal. Today the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation operates the house and orchard. The house is a National Historic Landmark.
Dow continued to acquire land around his house, and planted fruit trees here. Eventually he owned 125 acres with five thousand trees of one hundred varieties. The orchards served as a hobby, a place to conduct experiments with agricultural chemicals like insecticides and fungicides, and for family entertainment and leisure. Today the Midland Center for the Arts ( MD2.2); the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library (1954, Alden B. Dow; 1985 remodeling and addition; 1994 addition) at 1710 W. St. Andrews Road; and the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio ( MD2.3) occupy portions of the orchard and farm.