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 ABOUT THE
PROJECT 
Visitor-directed exploration and play
THE HERBERT H. AND GRACE A. DOW FOUNDATION
Who We Are
The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation provides grants to qualifying organizations for religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes for the public benefaction of the inhabitants of the City of Midland and the people of the State of Michigan.





Gifts
The Foundation has granted almost $532 million to worthy programs and projects. The Foundation's signature gift each year is the Dow Gardens as they share the family estate with the community and its visitors.





HISTORY

1800s
By 1880, Michigan was producing as much lumber as the next three states combined.  White pine, the most common tree, was preferred because it was easy to work and grew straight and tall. 


1901
The first piece of the Whiting Forest property was acquired by Herbert H. Dow, the founder of the Dow Chemical Company, and his wife Grace.  Herbert indulged in his favorite hobby by planting an extensive apple orchard and digging two ponds for irrigation, which remain beautiful features in the forest.


1949
Ownership passed to Herbert’s and Grace’s son, Willard H. Dow, and his wife Martha.  After the sudden death of Willard and Martha in 1949, the property passed on to their daughter, Helen Dow Whiting, and her husband Macauley.  The Whitings built their house in 1949 and added on several times as their family grew to 6 children.  They took great care to create a beautiful house and outstanding landscape design. 

When the Whitings retired, they donated the property to the City of Midland.  It was later acquired by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, and it became the Whiting Forest, open to the public.

COMPONENTS
Scroll through to view the project details. 
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    The outstanding Alden B. Dow Mid-century modern architecture, of the Whiting Home, will be preserved.

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    The building will be repurposed as a welcome center.

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    The Visitor Center will have a large entrance vestibule and several room suitable for meetings or classes.

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    Two pedestrian bridges are planned as a means to increase connectivity between the gardens and forest.

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    Taking advantage of the hilly topography, there will be an elevated walkway in the treetops up to 40 feet above the forest floor. It will consist of 3 branches totaling 1,100 feet in length.

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    One branch will hover over the bucolic forest ponds dug by H. H. Dow a century ago. There will be a shelter over water to encourage retreat and reflection.

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    Along the pathway there will be two pods designed for safe yet challenging experiences for children.

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    Another pathway will highlight the forest and include a large hammock high above the forest floor, where it will be a bit scary – but totally safe – to step out onto the cargo net.

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    The third branch will highlight the open sky with views of an apple orchard reminiscent of the one planted by Herbert Dow a century ago. The farthest end will feature a clear glass platform.

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    The orchard will greet you as you arrive at the Whiting Forest Visitor Center from Eastman Avenue and pay homage to Herbert Dow’s passion to grow the “perfect” apple.

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    Adjacent to the Lodge will be a play space with multiple opportunities for outdoor play and exploration.

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    Conversational seating is being intentionally designed to create a community gathering space. A highlight will be the opportunity to sit by a waterfall while children engage in water play.

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    A Forest classroom will be available for additional programming opportunities.

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