The Dow Company was founded in 1904 by Robert Dow. At that time, the company cleared land, snaked trees out of the woods for lumber, and hauled fill and gravel with teams of horses. In those days, the company was also involved in the ice business, cutting and storing lake ice – insulated with hay as was the practice – and selling it for use in household iceboxes. Time would pass, and ice boxes were replaced by refrigerators, and teams of horses were replaced by mechanical equipment, changing the face of the company with it.
After Robert’s death, one of his three sons, Alton “Allie” Dow, took over the company. Allie had been a Master Mechanic at the Boston Navy Yard and purchased several backhoes to accomplish the sort of excavation and installation of pipe that the Dow Company was now specializing in.
Allie and his wife, Ernestine “Ernie” Dow, who was a bookkeeper, handled all of the company affairs for as long as they could, until they hired Al Skaff as a bookkeeper. Al became Allie’s business adviser, dear friend, and an integral part of the company, ultimately going into the field, managing, estimating and bidding jobs.
At the end of World War II, Allie and Ernie’s son Donald returned from serving in the Navy as an Ensign, and began working for The Dow Company. The following year, both Don and his wife, Mary (Hellert) went to what is now Michigan State University, where Don earned his BS.
Upon Allie’s death, his wife Ernie assumed control of the Dow Company, where she remained President until her Retirement. Son Donald then assumed leadership of the company, backed by Al Scaff’s experience and wonderful work ethic. Under Don’s leadership the company grew, expanded its work range, and went into larger projects.
In 1956, The Dow Company was incorporated with Mary Dow as President and Don as Treasurer. Having taken over the office management, Mary was very knowledgeable about the company and its operation and needs. She became the second female leader of the Dow Company, and took great pride in running a successful company in a male-dominated industry. Mary would hold leadership roles in multiple women-in-construction organizations and was often a mentor to younger women in the industry. She remained active in the company until her passing in 2016 at the age of 90.
The Dow Company is currently under the administration of brothers Mike and Mark Dow, along with a fifth-generation of Dows: Todd, Brent, and Dana.