DescriptionEdward Lowe was one of 8 children of James and Eliza Lowe who were British immigrants in 1869 from Lancashire (Ashton under Lyne) at the behest of Eliza’s father R. E. Butterworth, who had arrived in 1841. James operated a cotton business in England and when he moved to Grand Rapids became the partner of Richard E. Butterworth (1806-1888) in Butterworth and Lowe, This was the first iron foundry and machine shop in Grand Rapids and was on the site of where the Civic Auditorium is today. James was a philanthropist active in providing the building for Division St. (First) Methodist and was instrumental in bringing Salvation Army to Grand Rapids in 1883. The family lived on Cherry Street.
In his early years, Edward a grandson of Butterworth, apprenticed at the family foundry, which built pumping machinery for first Grand Rapids Water Works. He married former Susan Blodgett (1865-1931) in 1888 and according to Kent County records, she had an alleged dowry of $1 million. Edward left the iron business in 1892 for lumber which was her father’s family business. Blodgett’s business had large holdings in Cadillac area as well as West and South.
The family lived in a Victorian brick home at 103 College SE (at Washington) followed by a 22-room Turdor mansion that was built in 1905 called "Holmdene" (now Aquinas College mansion, where he planted more than 1000 trees of various kinds); they also had homes in California and in Europe. Edward and Susan had 3 children: Edward Jr. (b. 1890), Barbara (b. 1893,Mrs. Charles Henry Fallas of NY), James Rowland Lowe (b. 1904)
Edward and Susan were generous philanthropists to St. Mark’s Episcopal, Salvation Army’s Evangeline Home, Blodgett Hospital; also the major donors for new Butterworth Hospital in 1911 (they gave the whole block of property and another $500K in 1921); Edward long-time president of Butterworth’s board. Other life achievements included founder of Kent Country Club, first golf course in west MI; Director of Old National Bank, later of Old Kent, and of Michigan Trust Co. He donated a large memorial "resurrection window" at First Methodist in memory of parents, who had been members there. Edward died with an estate of 6.5M, largest then recorded in Kent County.