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 estate buildings.
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 shake facsimile.
  • Restoring copper gutters and downspouts.
  • Rebuilding the southwest chimney.
  • Tuck-pointing the exterior brick.
  • Repairing the brick patio and replacing wall ornaments.
  • Weather-treating the soft limestone decorative trim and columns.
  • Preserving the marble lions at the entrance and the Italian marble urn on the patio.
  • Completing exterior painting and storm window replacement.
  • 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. >Download the Pledge Card (pdf)

Membership Levels

  • Endowment Gifts - Edward and Susan Blodgett Lowe Society
  • $10,000+ - Architectural Society
  • $5,000-$9,999 - Preservation Society
  • $1,000 - $4,999 - Heritage Society
  • $50 - $999 - Restoration Society

For more information on the Holmdene Historical Society or to become a member, download, complete and mail in the pledge card or contact the Foundation Office at  (616) 632-2809.