Page 660-661 Edwin Owen, of the firm of Owen, Ames & Kimball, building contractors of Grand Rapids, has been prominently identified with that class of work in Grand Rapids for the past thirty-five years. Many of the largest and most beautiful buildings of the city have been erected by his company, and in this field few have been more successful that Mr. Owen. He is a native of Newark, Ohio, born September 18, 1860, where he attended the district schools and studied two years in the high school. He completed his high school education in Minnesota, where he went in 1884, and then entered the University of Minnesota, where he pursued an engineering course for a time. At the age of twenty-four he entered the employ of the Great Northern Railroad, working in the engineering department. He located forty miles of road for that company in Minnesota and later with the Soo railroad he located a similar length of road in Minnesota. He came to Grand Rapids when he was twenty-eight years old to assist in the construction of the cable street railway system. Upon its completion he was retained in the employ of the company, continuing in that work until the line was bought by the Grand Rapids Railway Company, remaining several years until the road was electrified. During the ensuing years he worked with the latter company, assisting in the changing of the line from a cable railway to an electric road. That work completed, he formed a partnership, in 1891, with Charles A. Hauser and William J. Hayden for general contracting and building, the firm adopting the name of Hauser, Hayden & Owen. Mr. Hayden retired from the firm in 1900 and a Mr. Ames became interested in the company, and in 1918, after the retirement of Mr. Hauser, the present company of Owen, Ames & Kimball was established. From its inception the company has enjoyed a steady growth. The technical knowledge acquired by Mr. Owen in college and during his years of experience in the engineering departments of the various railroad companies with which he worked, has been invaluable to the partnership, and that the company is now regarded as one of the most successful in its field in Grand Rapids is due in large measure to his training and his ability as an executive. Many of the largest buildings of which the city can boast have been erected by his company, while a large number of smaller buildings of all kinds were built by the Owen, Ames & Kimball Company. It is needless to say that he is an outstanding figure in the building contracting business, for his name among business men stands for quality in the workmanship in construction and for integrity and fairness in business dealings. In 1894, Mr. Owen married Martha Frances Graves, and though they have no children of their own, they adopted two girls, one of whom is now the wife of R. Dwight Owen, and the other the wife of Ralph W. Ballew. Among the buildings erected by the company are included: Butterworth Hospital, New Morton Hotel, Rowe Hotel, Grand Rapids Trust building, Grand Rapids National Bank, Ottawa Hill High School, Burton Heights High School, Y. M. C. A., Y. W. C. A., Fountain Street Baptist Church, Bell Telephone Building, South High School, Grand Rapids Savings Bank, part of Hotel Pantlind, and many smaller ones. His parents were Griffith D. and Ellen (Hughes) Owen, the father born in Wales, and the mother in Ohio. Both parents died in Michigan. Mr. Owen is a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, also of the Masonic fraternity and the Knights of Pythias. He is a director of the Grand Rapids Trust Company and also of the Michigan Hardware Company, and has been director and president of the Y. M. C. A. for the past five years. He is a Republican, but not an office seeker.
Transcriber: Gloria Paas
Created: 25 November 2002