Michigan Architecture Road Trip #3:
Flint and the Great Lakes Bay Region


One of the best ways to explore Michigan’s wealth of architecture is by taking a road trip. For our next MAF Architecture Road Trip, let’s check out Flint and the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Each of the stops below is taken from MAF’s book, ‘Great Architecture of Michigan’, written by John Gallagher with photos by Balthazar Korab. In the book, you’ll find more information on each of the structures on the indicated page next to the entry (and if you would like a copy of the book, you can purchase it directly from MAF’s website).

Are you ready for the next Michigan architecture adventure, either from behind the wheel or your computer (or phone or tablet)?  Let’s go!

1.Durant-Dort Carriage Company:  Flint, Page 120

The birthplace of General Motors.  From these humble beginnings as a carriage manufacturing company sprang one of the world’s largest industrial corporations.



2.Kettering Campus Center:  Flint, Page 70

Formerly called General Motors Institute (GMI), Kettering University’s Campus Center building opened in 1969.  Its brick and mortar form was heavily influenced by the thoughtful modernism that Eero Saarinen practiced in the 1950’s and early 60’s.




3.Woodside Church:  Flint, Page 95

This modern landmark was designed by Eero Saarinen and Robert Swanson in the early 1950’s.                      The building is now owned by Mott Community College and functions as a family life center.



4.Hoyt Public Library:  Saginaw, Page 62

This Romanesque building was a result of a design competition that featured some of America’s greatest architects, including McKim Mead and White of New York and H.H. Richardson of Boston.



5.Saginaw County Castle Museum:  Saginaw, Page 35

Built in 1898 as a post office, this fairy tale edifice is designed in the French Chateau style of architecture.  The building is now the home of the Historical Society of Saginaw County.



6.Saginaw Water Works:  Saginaw, Page 145

Located in Saginaw’s Ezra Rust Park, this building is a surprising example of English Gothic style architecture, fashioned into a functional water treatment plant.




7.Bay City Hall:  Bay City, Page 31

This magnificent city hall is a classic example of Romanesque Revival style that was popularized by H.H. Richardson.  The interior is just as exquisite, with a grand atrium and ornate cast iron stairway trimmed in Victorian floral design.



8.Herbert and Grace Dow House:  Midland, Page 190

This Shingle style home, combined with influences of the Arts & Crafts movement, was the home of the founder of the Dow Chemical Co. This rambling house was the only home the Dows ever owned.  If you have time, do not miss the chance to visit the Dow Gardens and the newly constructed canopy walk located in Whiting Forest.





9.Alden B. Dow Home and Studio:  Midland, Page 154

This home and studio are a classic example of the student becoming a master in his own right.  Architect Alden B. Dow (son of Herbert and Grace Dow, above), who apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright in the early 1930’s, designed this house shortly after returning to his hometown of Midland.  The property is beautifully maintained and is a must-see for any trip to the Great Lakes Bay Region





10.First United Methodist Church:  Midland, Page 99

Built in 1950, this unique church is a modern building void of the traditional steeple and Gothic imagery typically associated with church design.  Alden B. Dow created this thoughtful arrangement of brick planes topped with copper bands.  The interior spaces contribute to the spiritual sense of place