Historic Scott House, LLC • James Sheetz, Manager • 1321 County Road 4, Carlton, MN
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  History of the Scott House - 1850 to present
  scott house early years scott house current
 
The Scott House and the grounds surrounding it are steeped in historic significance consisting of community, family, guests and travelers that reaches back in time over 140 years.


  Military Road Era: 1850 - 1895
 
Imagine the vast Minnesota wilderness, before convenience stores, motorized transportation or even roads. Winters were harsh and frigid; summers filled with a humid and heavy heat. Great forests dominated the landscape. Yet, there was a growing need to travel, and that involved building roadways. In 1851, construction began on a road that would connect Point Douglas (in Hastings, Minnesota) to Superior Military Road (in Superior, Wisconsin), and it reportedly opened for travel in late 1855 or early 1856. The route attracted a flood of civilian and commercial traffic. Weary travelers needed a place to rest. One stopping point along the route was Twin Lakes, which served as a trading post, general store and inn for travelers. The current Scott House also served as a stage stop and hotel toward the end of the Military Road era.

Travel from St. Paul to Superior – in horse and buggy – took approximately two-and-a-half days and cost $16.


  The Mayer Years: 1881 - 1909
 
In 1881, Joseph Mayer and his wife, Rebecca, served as owners of Scott House. The family was known for its large and successful garden, especially their variety of vegetables and luscious strawberries.. Mayer wrote the following about the property:

"I was born near Cologne in Germany and have traveled very extensively, but I have never found a place that pleased me more than this does, for the climate is very heathful, the soil is righ and productive, our markets are
 
close to us, and the prices that we receive for our produce are very high.

"I have a beautiful lake, about 15 acres in area, of clear, cold water on my farm and have stocked it with several thousand brook trout. In a few years, when they have grown large enough, I will have one of the best private fishing grounds in Minnesota."


 
The Scott Years: 1910 - 1937
 
Walter and Minnie Scott purchased the farm in 1910. Their purchase brought many improvements to the property including: an enlargement of the original cellar, central heating with a wood burning furnace and a new chimney and indoor plumbing
   
The Scott's grown children and grandchildren visited and gave a new life to the house on Lac La Belle.

The central location of the Scott House and the beautiful lake setting offered a lovely spot in the summer for many community and church gatherings. Minnie Scott entertained often and was considered a gracious host.

While the improvements made to the house were sophisticated for their time, by the time Minnie Scott passed away in 1937, the house had fallen into disrepair.

At left is a photo of daughter, Laila Scott Humphreys, enjoying the water of the lake on a presumably hot summer day. Swim bathing attire has changed since the early 1900s.
 
 
Minnie Scott was known for hosting social gatherings on the property and was seen by others as a gracious hostess. Here are photos from two different social gatherings held at the Scott house during the early 1900s.

 
The Lonely Years: 1937 - 1940
 
Following the death of Minnie Scott in 1937, her bachelor son, Walter, remained in the house for a short while, after which it sat empty for a time.

The beautiful and ornate Victorian furniture that had filled the house was removed and sold at auction. A few pieces left at the house were destroyed. One magnificent piece stayed in the Scott family – their grandfather clock – which had once sat in the first floor alcove of the Scott House. The clock was not lost or destroyed and wound up in Michigan, in the home of Russel (Hap) Scott (grandson of Minnie).

As the house sat empty, it fell further into disrepair. Soon, though, another family would inhabit the Scott House and bring it back to life.
     
  The Sheetz Years: 1940 - present
 
Harry and Rowena Sheetz, along with their two sons, Ron and Don, moved into the Scott House in 1940. The family initially rented the house, and eventually purchased it and the surrounding property in 1942 for the sum of $3,500.
  ron sheetz 1940
When Don Sheetz married in 1946, he and his bride, Doris, moved into the upstairs portion of the house, which they converted into an apartment for their use. They planned to live there a short time before getting a place of their own. That short time ended up lasting 50 years.

In 1949, Don and Doris moved downstairs and purchased the house for $3,000 from Don's parents, who moved off the property.
  Ron Sheetz at home in the Scott House in the early 1940s.

 
  sheetz family
Don and Doris filled the house with children's laughter. Daugher, Kathryn, was born in 1948. She was followed by siblings Diana, Tom and Jim.

The children grew up and in 2000, Doris and Don decided to build a new home on the east side of Lac La Belle.

Their son, Jim, stayed on at the Scott House and began a renovation project that's spanned more than a decade. Just prior to Don and Doris' move, the Sheetz family was visited by members of the Minnie Scott family, headed up by Scott's granddaughter, Marian Bywater Wright, then 92.

Jim and Marian formed a treasured friendship as her memories and attention to details offered many clues to the original layout of the house and some of the changes that had been made when she knew the house as a child.
  The Don and Doris Sheetz family, around 1961.

   


  restored stairway
As the renovation continued, Jim stripped away 50 years of various remodeling projects to unearth the bare bones of the house. This included removeing added walls, rooms, floors and ceilings to reveal larger original rooms with high ceilings and tall windows. Over the years, stairways had been moved and removed. Jim restored a back staircase to its original location. He salvaged wood and other materials when possible to reuse in the house.

After countless hours of work and careful removal of materials, Jim was able to ascertain that there had originally been four rooms on the first floor: a dining room, kitchen, alcove and parlor.

in 2001, Jim returned an original piece of furniture to the house when he purchased a large walnut cupboard (originally owned by the Scott family) at a private estate sale. However, the best was yet to come.
 
The restored back stairway
     
 
grandfather clock
In 2005, members of the Minnie Scott family returned the original grandfather clock to the Scott House as a generous loan. In a sense, the grandfather clock had returned home.

Also from the Scott family came two beautiful etchings, circa 1890, that had once hung in the Scott House.

Currently, visitors will see that the grandfather clock occupies its place in the alcove at the Scott House.
   
 
Today
 
The Historic Scott House has always sat on an idyllic location on the pristine shores of Lac La Belle. Today, the house itself has been returned to its original grandeur. There is more than a bit of poetic harmony in the thought that the location which once provided welcome respite and sustenance for weary groups of travelers, now provides a welcome location for groups to again gather, meet, celebrate and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of the Historic Scott House.
scott house sign
  Book Cover

The book: Scott House Souvenirs
by: James Sheetz & Marlene Wisuri
includes more on the history
and is available for purchase.
email the Historic Scott House

Historic Scott House