Scott Hill Historic District

Scott Hill Historic District is located on the north side of Livingston Avenue overlooking the City of Elkins. Set back from the northern edge of the road approximately 100 meters, the property contains a historic estate that consists of a main house, caretaker’s house and agricultural buildings.

The house at Scott Hill is a 2 1/2 story, brick Queen Anne supported by a sandstone foundation. It has an asymmetrical plan and a truncated hipped roof with slate shingles. The ridge of the roof is embellished with decorative metal cresting and finials.

Cyrus Hall Scott was born in 1856 in Huttonsville, Randolph County, Virginia. He was the son of Thomas B. Scott, “.. .one of the oldest as well as one of the most prominent figures in the history of the county.” Thomas Scott was a prominent businessman of the county who invested in timber and coal lands as well as owning a large farm, which had been in the family for two generations. The Union Army despoiled Thomas Scott of much of his property during the war, so much so that his son Cyrus initiated a lawsuit after the war to receive compensation for his losses by the government. The government replied, however, that Thomas Scott’s loyalty to the Union was still in question so they could not issue any compensation.

Scott’s childhood was spent in local schools and on the family farm. He was sent to Fairmont for his secondary education to escape the poor quality of the local schools; where he graduated in 1873. He taught school in Randolph County for a short while before returning to school at Roanoke College in Roanoke Virginia, from which he graduated in 1877. Coincidentally, he returned to Roanoke College in 1937 to receive recognition as the oldest living alumni of that institution. Scott was admitted to the bar in 1879 and was almost immediately made Prosecuting Attorney for RandolphCounty. He was then elected to five terms as the Mayor of Beverly beginning in 1882 and ending with his election to the State Senate in 1892. All during this period Scott also held many seats on various committees and boards of arbitration for the
County.  He also maintained a thriving private law practice.

In 1892 Scott ran for, and was elected too, the state senate where he held one term. It  was during this period that he began work on ScottHill and his family. Scott married the daughter, Frances Logan, of another highly prominent Randolph County native James Harvey Logan in 1886. After her death in 1892 he married her sister Emma Crawford Logan in 1893. The surviving child of the first marriage was Edna Scott who went on to marry Herman Guy Kump the former Governor of West Virginia. Scott played a large role in the early days of H.G. Kump’s career, building them a home in Elkins, and supporting Kump’s political ambitions

Scott finished out the 19th century as local statesman and advisor. He was actively involved in the “courthouse war” between Beverly and Elkins in the late 1890s. His involvement and position really was a statement about the times he was living in. Prior to 1898 Beverly was the county seat; one of the oldest east of the MississippiRiver. Beverly was a conservative rural southern town in 1890 much like any town of the South.

In about 1890 H.G. Davis, a prominent coal and timber man, came to Randolph County seeking resources. He fell upon an area just north of Beverly as a sight for a railroad junction from which he could center his operations. Elkins was established as a home for industry and services much in keeping with Northern ambitions and enterprise, while Beverly was the home of the old conservative South. Scott seemed to see the vision of what could be, and made the move. In fact, a family tale has it that after purchasing the hill and grounds for $8,300 he enlisted the help of the architect of the Western Maryland Railroad to design the house and to orient it upon the knoll so that it would eventually be facing the heart of the area where the town should grow as the railroad was established.

By the end of the 1890s Elkins was so established that it was vying for the position of county seat. After several votes the issue was decided in favor of Elkins, but resistance in Beverly was still stiff. Scott, having one foot in each city, was heavily sought after by politicians and local businessmen alike for his support. It seems that he was in favor of the move to Elkins, and so established himself a man of industry and progress over his ancestors more conservative histories.

On Scott Hill, Scott was becoming a gentleman farmer. With about 100 acres, he was raising livestock and farming. He was also raising his family and continued to practice law, as well as sitting on the boards of many local institutions. It seems he was embracing his dual history. The 1890s saw the improvements of Scott Hill such as the main house, caretakers house, smoke house, ice-house (no longer present,) carriage house, chicken house (no longer present,) corncrib, and barn. The equipment shed and additions to the caretaker’s house came later; the 1940s for the out buildings and some additions to the caretaker’s house, and the 1970s for the final addition to the caretakers house. The original stone gate fronting Livingston Avenue was installed in the early 1900s and replaced in 1952 while the fountain was added between 1900 and 1915. Scott also built the Scott building on Harrison Avenue in Elkins as a home for his law practice.

In 1924 Cyrus returned to politics as a Democratic candidate to the National Convention and elected John Davis for his party. He followed that in 1929 with a return to Charleston as his districts elected Delegate to the House. During this period he was keenly interested in the areas of rural education and the railroad.

Cyrus Scott departed this world in 1944. His daughter Mildred carried on with Scott Hill and added many improvements during her life. The new stone gate replaced the original in the early 1950s, the fencing around the perimeter was updated, a new three car garage replaced the old one stall garage, and the interior of the home was given some cosmetic updates such as new wiring, appliances, and a fresh coat of paint. The original character and style of the house remains much the same as it did in 1897. The coal furnace has been replaced with a gas furnace (1970s), the wood fireplaces have been replaced with gas inserts (1920s), and the gas lamps have been replaced by electric (1920s), but the look and feel of the main home is all turn of the century. The tradition of looking to the future while having one’s feet firmly planted in the past is being carried on by the decedents, and current owners, of Scott Hill today.

Scott received his education from the Huttonsville Academy and graduated from the Fairmont Normal School in 1874. Three years later he graduated from Roanoke College and became principal of the Beverly School and then served as deputy circuit clerk from 1879-1880. He soon turned his attention to law and, after studying under Alpheus Haymond and Judge Blair, he was admitted into practice. In 1880, at the age of 24, Scott was elected Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney. He held the position until 1887 during which time he earned his well-respected reputation. He was affiliated with the Democrat party and was a Congressional candidate in 1888, losing to the Honorable W.L. Wilson. Both he felt were important to the prosperity and progress of rural peoples.

In 1892 he was elected to the State Senate, representing the 10th district, and served until 1896. He served as a member of the committees on mines and mining, forfeited, delinquent, and unappropriated lands, rules, and the judiciary. He was Chairman of the committee on federal relations and railroads. He authored laws governing railroad freight and passenger traffic as well as forfeited and delinquent lands. He also authored the Davis Institute Bill (which failed in the House). He also supported the Industrial Institute bill, the Girls’ Industrial Home, and the Home for Incurables, and prepared and passed the Elkins Independent District Law.

Scott helped lead an 1898 political campaign for the Democratic ticket and was rewarded for his efforts by Governor Atkinson by making him a delegate to the National Immigration Congress in Wyoming. Scott also served on Elkins’ City Council from 1898 to 1928 and was Chairperson of the ordinance committee. He was a Delegate to the National Convention in 1924. He was the Liberal candidate for Congressional nomination in 1926. He served in the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1929-31 and was Chairman on the committees of Rules, Judiciary, Forestry and Conservation, Penitentiary, Agriculture and redistricting in the 1931 session.

While some of Scott’s local prominence was achieved prior to moving to Scott Hill from Elkins, the estate still represents his overall significant political career. The complex as a whole retains each of the seven aspects of integrity; location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.