Edward Lowe and his wife Susan (Blodgett) Lowe purchased the 69-acre McCoy dairy farm. Edward was the son of English immigrants, James Lowe and Eliza Butterworth. Edward joined the logging firm of Delos Blodgett in 1892. Susan was the daughter of Delos Blodgett.
Construction of the 22-room Holmdene manor began.
The Lowe family takes up residence in the Tudor-style building.
Theodore Roosevelt visited Grand Rapids for a Lincoln Day address and stayed with the Lowes, occupying a guest room on the second floor.
The formal garden is designed and installed by noted New York garden designer Ellen Biddle Shipman.
Susan Lowe’s brother John Wood Blodgett built his manor house, Brookby, on the corner of Plymouth and Robinson Roads.
Following the death of Edward Lowe, the property was sold to the University of Grand Rapids, which occupied the buildings for only a few years before closing the school.
Video: Holmdene 100th Anniversary
The Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids, with the help of Michael Leonard and John E. Frey of Union Bank of Michigan, purchased the Lowe Estate and moved Aquinas College from its downtown site. Holmdene served as the main administration and classroom building for the College.
After the new Administration Building was completed, Holmdene became the residence for Dominican Sisters who taught and worked at the College.
Holmdene was granted Historic Landmark status by the Grand Rapids Historic Preservation Commission.
During a year of renovations, rooms in Holmdene were converted to offices for administrators and faculty.
The Holmdene Restoration Committee was formed through a gift from and under the leadership of Louis and Arlene Corsiglia.
Holmdene Historical Society was established.
Holmdene 100th Anniversary is celebrated.
About the Holmdene Historical Society
The Holmdene Historical Society
was established at Aquinas College to
protect, restore, conserve and maintain
the historic manor house and other
buildings constructed in 1908 by the
Edward Lowe family. The Historical
Society works with the Aquinas
College Historical Commission and
the College archivist to call attention
to maintenance and preservation of
the historic character of the original
The Work of the Society
The Holmdene Restoration Committee oversees the preservation and restoration of
the historic structure. All exterior renovation must be done in compliance with the Grand
Rapids Historical Preservation Commission. Thanks to several donors and the work of the
College’s maintenance and grounds staff, the following renovations have been completed:
Removed the ivy from the building to prevent erosion of bricks and mortar.
Renovated the original front doors.
Replaced the terracotta tile in the vestibule.
Replaced storm windows on the south façade
Completed the painting and scraping of some exterior windows and fascia.
Restored the fountains in the Holmdene gardens
Began the renovation of plantings in the Holmdene gardens.
Repaired steps and the east side brick porch.
Much Work Remains to be Done
Replacing the current roof with cedar
Restoring copper gutters and
Rebuilding the southwest chimney.
Tuck-pointing the exterior brick.
Repairing the brick patio and replacing
Weather-treating the soft limestone
decorative trim and columns.
Preserving the marble lions at the
entrance and the Italian marble urn on
Completing exterior painting and storm
Updating interior electrical system
Restoring the gardens.
How You Can Help
Membership donations are tax deductible,
and members will be invited to special
presentations and events held at Holmdene.