The Scott House - Restoration Overview

The 1853 Scott House was the home of the namesake of the City of Scotts Valley and is a fine example of a Greek Revival country home. Although it was moved in 1936 from its original location along the old Los Gatos-Santa Cruz Highway (Scotts Valley Drive today) to its present site 300 yards up the hill to the north, the house has not lost any of its architectural value of cultural significance. It survived the move with little real structural damage. The house has been in its new location for 62 years and has developed much integrity and significance in its new location. Many trees were already at that location and the planted trees, shrubs and other plants have grown to maturity. The Scott House has survived many earthquakes and windstorms at its present location without apparent damage. The house sits near the center of a well- known 10,000+ year old prehistoric site, CA-SCr-177. The combination of the prehistoric, historic and local government services in the seven-acre Scotts Valley Civic Center complex increases the collective cultural value and assures their perpetuation and protection. The new Scotts Valley Civic Center adjacent to the Scott House opened in 1987.

In 1984, the immediate site was regraded with 600 cubic yards of imported topsoil to more closely restore the historic profile of the house, and to provide padding and protection for the archeological resource. In the 1930s, asbestos siding was placed over the original clapboard siding. In 1976, the asbestos was removed, revealing the original redwood clapboard siding and the corner pilasters. In 1982, the siding was repaired and the missing architectural elements were patterned from remnants found in the attic and residual paint markings. The house was painted using the second color scheme. All of the built up and other classical detailing inside and out is now intact.

The original structure consisted of four rooms on the ground floor, two unfinished second-floor rooms, and an attached kitchen ell. The Scott House's two central fireplaces and off-center stairway constitute typical features of the Greek Revival style. A modern kitchen was added about 1912 or 1913. In 1978, these shed-like non-original additions were removed as they were in extremely deteriorated condition and greatly detracted from the architectural integrity of the house. One small early-addition (about 1890) to one of the bedrooms has been retained because of its historic value. In 1983, a new foundation retaining wall was placed under the structure.

Pictures of the Excavation for the New Foundation

Because of a change in the use of the house -- from a private residence to a public building used as a historic house museum -- additional structural strengthening was necessary. This was accomplished in 1997 by restoring part of the bearing wall that had been removed between the Parlor and the Parlor bedroom. When the wall was replaced, it was designed as a shear wall to provide the necessary longitudinal strength. The shear wall is designed so that it does not detract from the integrity of the house. To obtain lateral shear strength, a six-inch steel I-beam frame was incorporated into the wall of a new architecturally compatible small, modern bathroom. The handicap-accessible bathroom was added to the northwest side of the house in 1995. The appearance of the Scott House as it now stands is very near that shown in the earliest photographs and written accounts of early day residents.

When the shear walls were installed, a new redwood floor was added to the historic kitchen and pantry areas. The existing deteriorated Douglas Fir floors were non-original. Also at this time a bearing foundation was placed under the bearing wall and all pier posts were reset to adjust for house settling over the past 60 years.

Currently, work is beginning on the installation of a modern kitchenette within the historic pantry. The house is also being repainted.

The Scott House is one of the earliest structures constructed of locally milled redwood. The timber framing, mortice and tenon style of construction utilized in the house was abandoned on the East Coast in the 1840s. Most of the original split redwood lathe and lime and hair plaster remains intact. The doors, etched glass panels, and windows were brought around the Horn. Most of the original doors have survived, and the window sashes have been replaced. Photos of the Scott Family home in Maine show that this house is almost an identical reproduction of their former home. The house as it now stands represents one of the few surviving fine 1850s homes available to the public in California today.