The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow

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When Alden B. Dow drew his first sketches for a clubhouse for the Midland Country Club in 1930, he had yet to receive his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Columbia University.

Although he was just 26 years old, his design embodied some of the most progressive ideas in architecture, gleaned from living in New York and traveling abroad. The crisp setbacks and vertical lines of the clubhouse façade gave it an Art Deco look, while its horizontality and angularity reflected the then-new International Style.

The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow - Photo 1 of 5 - The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow.  www.abdow.org

The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow. www.abdow.org

Its buff-colored stucco covered a cinderblock structure containing dining rooms, lounges, locker rooms, and guest rooms. The balcony over the front doors was supported at the ends by stepped-profile brackets, echoed in the lampposts along the driveway. Doors and windows were inset with geometric art glass.

The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow - Photo 2 of 5 - The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow.  www.abdow.org

The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow. www.abdow.org

Mr. Dow was also in charge of the furnishings, and the colorful palette for which he would become famous was evident – the lounge and dining room carpets were purple, the walls were salmon and green, and some of the furniture was aluminum.

The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow - Photo 3 of 5 - The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow.  www.abdow.org

The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow. www.abdow.org

Perhaps most striking of all was the "rainbow lighting" he created in the dining room/ballroom, with colored lights behind frosted glass panels along the ceiling and in the middle of the floor, all controlled by switches and dimmers.

The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow - Photo 4 of 5 - The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow.  www.abdow.org

The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow. www.abdow.org

The country club officially opened with a dedication ball on May 1, 1931. Its young architect could not attend, however, as he was preparing to graduate from Columbia’s architecture school.

The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow - Photo 5 of 5 - The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow.  www.abdow.org

The Midland Country Club by Alden B. Dow. www.abdow.org

A few months later though, on September 16, 1931, Mr. Dow married his childhood sweetheart, Vada and the place in which the couple chose to toast their new life together was the Midland Country Club.


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