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James Scott House

The James Scott House (5635 Stanton Ave.) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2009, The Gombach Group.


James Scott's large residence and carriage house at 5635 Stanton Avenue in Pittsburgh form an important and prominent composition on the major east-west thoroughfare in the Highland Park neighborhood. The main house is a large, almost cubical, 2 1/2 story Colonial Revival styled red brick building, dating from 1900. The carriage house was added two years later, and also is Colonial Revival in style. The buildings survive in a fair to good state of integrity. Both buildings have been used for several purposes over the years, and the interiors have been altered. The house and carriage house stand out because of their size and obvious interrelationship on a street of relatively large residences and a few apartment buildings, most built between 1880 and 1910.

Exterior — Main House

The large house, "Altholl,"[1] is a high-style example, mixing elements from Georgian and Adam style houses, although certain features seem to be clumsily executed. The architect has not been discovered. The facade of the building, facing Stanton Avenue from the slight hill on which it is sited has five bays, and features a full-width porch reconstructed as part of a historic rehabilitation in 1996. The Stanton Avenue elevation is carefully symmetrical. The masonry is a very good quality, hard-fired and precisely-sized face brick, carefully matched for color, pointed with buff-colored mortar. The corners are finished with quoins made of the same brick; the quoins are not very visible. Window openings have smooth sandstone lintels and sills, nearly flush with the surrounding masonry. The lintels have smooth-finished keystones, flush with the brick, rising a few inches above the top of the lintels. The center window of the second floor is a three-part unit, with a central 1/1 wood double-hung window flanked by narrower 1/1 wood sash. The unit has a prominent pedimented cornice, with consoles on either side of the center window. The pediment is filled with applied decorative carvings of foliage framing a flat panel in the center of the pediment. There is a small carved wooden wreath above the panel, and a small dentil course under the angles of the pediment. This entire pedimented tripartite element appears to be slightly too small for the house; it ought to be wider and taller, but apparently there was no space for a larger feature.

The top of the walls end in a small wooden dentil course below a projecting consoled wooden cornice which encloses the box gutter. The slate-covered hip roof has three dormers facing Stanton Avenue, grouped near the center of the building. The outer dormers are capped with triangular pediments, and each is framed with fairly wide flat trim pieces. The center dormer has a segmentally arched pediment with carved wooden elements, including a center anthemion.

The reconstructed porch has Ionic-order columns at the outer corners and two pairs in-line in a stepped-out section at the center of the porch. The center section alone survived, and with historic photographs, provided the pattern for rebuilding this very important element in 1996. The porch has a tall, relatively plain architrave supporting a hipped roof.

The foundation and front steps are cut ashlar sandstone. The windows are 1/1 double-hung wood sash, and historic photos show they always were; authentically-styled Colonial Revival houses often have multi-light sash. The house has tall and very prominent chimneys, rectangular in section, and located in the outside walls. The chimneys are an important visual element of the composition.

The entrance is framed by a sandstone surround. Within the surround is a rectangular oak architrave of unusual detail and quality. The restored original double entry doors are flanked by fluted oak columns, topped with carefully carved composite capitals. Sidelights are located outside the columns.

The western elevation is exposed along Mellon Street, and is marked by a semi-circular one-story bay projecting from the near center of the first floor. The elevation is not symmetrical, and due to the small prominence on which the house sits, the ashlar sandstone foundation is very visible. The southern quarter of the elevation has no windows. The rest of the elevation has four bays, with single windows on each floor in the southern and two northern bays. Slightly south of the center of the elevation is the semi-circular projecting bay, with a single door entrance in the main body of the house, just to the north of it. Centered in the elevation above the projecting bay/entrance is a Palladian-styled window. This window once lit the landing of the now gone monumental stairs, and is lower in the elevation than the other second floor openings.

The projecting room has four small 1/1 double-hung windows, and a sandstone belt course even with the first floor window lintels. The projecting room is peculiar in both exterior proportion and its integration in the interior plan; it resembles a brick drum attached to the side of the house. The entrance north of the bay has two-thirds of a sandstone architrave, as if the bay was attached after the house was constructed, which it clearly was not.

The Palladian-styled window is framed in sandstone, with tile windows divided by Ionic-order pilasters serving as mullions. As on the Stanton Avenue elevation, the semi-circular portion of the window is filled with carved foliage. The other windows have sandstone lintels and sills similar to the facade. The keystones of these windows project slightly, unlike the Stanton Avenue elevation. The elevation has brick quoins, dormers, and cornice details identical to the facade. The southern window opening on the second floor is smaller than the other openings, which is disguised by sandstone framing missing from the other windows. This smaller window likely marks the location of an original bathroom.

The rear (north) elevation is a mix of elements common to the west and south elevations, arranged asymmetrically, and an original one-story projection with a small room and porch. This elevation is wider than the front (Stanton Avenue) elevation because the house steps out to the northeast. The north elevation has approximately seven bays, with six masonry window openings on the second floor; the western bay has no window. The first floor has two narrow horizontal openings in the western section flanking a chimney, likely the original dining room. Approximately in the center of the first floor is a three-part window opening, framed in sandstone, which apparently lit a smaller, less formal dining room. The small one-story projection housed an original pantry and icebox; the ice delivery door is still in place on the porch side of the bay. The porch had been enclosed when the building was used for apartments, and was restored as a porch in the 1996 historic rehabilitation. The porch has square columns and a simple architrave.

The north elevation has the same brick quoins, cornice, and dormers as the west elevation. A cut through the cornice in the west-center of the elevation once housed a door opening on an open metal stair tower which served as a fire escape. The steel stairs were removed in 1996.

The east elevation is the least visible, and has a variety of elements, similar to the rear. An interior set of fire stairs was constructed inside the building when it was converted to an orphanage, within the eastern projection. The stairs exit through a door and over a concrete porch added to accommodate the fire stairs. The eastern wall of the projecting bay has a single window opening in each floor, plus the exit door and a tall opening cut to provide light for the stairs. There is a small square opening in the second floor in the south (Stanton Avenue) face of the projection. The south section of the east elevation, before the projection, has no openings in is south half. There are three window openings in the second floor, and one in the first, adjacent to the porch in the step of the building. This porch had been enclosed with brick in a past remodeling, and was re-opened in the 1996 historic rehabilitation. The porch details are simple, and similar to the porch on the rear of the house. Opening onto the porch is a three-part entrance added in 1996 to replace the missing original elements.

Interior — Main House

The original plan had a center hall flanked by a library and a parlor/music room, with a monumental staircase that rose in a series of runs and landings to the second floor. The interior has been remodeled substantially on at least two occasions before the historic rehabilitation of 1996: 1)when acquired in the late 1930's to become the Jewish Home for Infants and Children, and 2)in the 1970's when it became an apartment building. Published photos of the interior of the house when it was the Jewish Home show that the public spaces — the hall, parlors and dining rooms of the first floor — largely survived that remodeling. Many interior partitions were added on all floors during the early 1970's apartment conversion. Fortunately, the apartment remodeling took a path-of-least-resistance approach. The 1996 historic rehabilitation undid much of the work done for the apartment conversion. Removal of the flimsy partitions revealed that much of the first floor plan remained, and some of the associated historic fabric could be salvaged or restored. The main loss of historic material is the monumental stairs and much of the interior plan of the second and third floors. The upper floors were rearranged as the use of the building changed in order to accommodate bedrooms and bathrooms for the orphanage, and additional baths, kitchens and bedrooms during the apartment conversion. The 1996 rehabilitation reordered the second and third floors for the third time in this century. A skylight was discovered in the center of the roof which had been covered over from the inside. The skylight was restored in 1996, and lights the new main stairs.

Despite the removal of the monumental staircase, most of the original hall remains on the first floor. It is a "T" shaped entrance hall/corridor, paneled with dark-stained oak to a height of four feet, and trimmed with oak crown molding. The Stanton Avenue entrance entered at the bottom of the "T", and the door in the Mellon Street (west) elevation is the left end of the top crossbar. The right (east) end likely ended in the original kitchen area; this is where fire stairs were inserted during the orphanage remodeling.

The location and pattern of the monumental stairs was a puzzle until remnants were revealed in the 1996 rehabilitation. The first run of the old stairs began behind (north of) the parlor or library in the southwest corner of the building, and rose to the west, perpendicular to the north-south hall (to the left from the main corridor). This half-flight of stairs ended in a long landing beneath the semi-Palladian window in the west wall. At the north end of the landing another half-flight of stairs ran east to the second floor. The only surviving element of this staircase is a set of three oak arches on the second floor. The missing stairs once rose through the north arch of this element from the landing under the Palladian-style window. The oak arches were discovered, restored, and retained in the latest rehabilitation.

The 1996 rehabilitation saw the removal of a narrow enclosed set of stairs within the main corridor, and the installation of a new set in the same location. The new stairs are designed to complement the surviving historic fabric, have a banister, balusters and a newel post, and are finished with a different stain color to differentiate the new material from the old. The oak arches on the second floor form one wall of the new stairs.

The first floor rooms off the main corridor survive in a good state of integrity in the south and northwest sections of the old house. The pocket doors entering into these spaces survive. The southwestern parlor is paneled with dark oak to wainscot height, and has a matching crown molding. The room features a Verde marble fireplace surround, which has no carving or relief, and likely was added during an early remodeling.

In the southeastern section of the first floor a double parlor survives. The southern section was damaged by insertion of apartment walls and water leaks, but the plaster crown molding was restored in 1996. The connected room located in the east center part of the house was a music room, and has painted paneling and molded plaster. In the corners of the room in low relief on the ceiling are molded plaster musical instruments; a different instrument in each corner. The Scott family had at least one gifted musician.

The apparent dining rooms in the northwest and north center of the building contain more surviving plaster and paneling. The room lit by the three-part window in the north (rear) wall of the house has low paneled wainscoting and wooden crown molding. The northeastern section, site of the original kitchen was damaged by at least one fire and the insertion of the internal fire stairs. The fire damage was discovered during the 1996 historic rehabilitation. The wall between what would have been the old kitchen in the northeast corner of the building, and the dining room in the center of the northern rooms on the first floor, was charred, and about eight of the floor joists of the second floor above the kitchen had to be replaced to maintain the structural integrity of this section of the building.

Historic use of the projecting semi-circular room remains a puzzle. Little historic fabric survives there due to remodelings and leaks in the flat roof. The floor level is lower than the rest of the first floor, because the room was below the original stairs and landing under the Palladian-style window on the west elevation. The low floor level leaves the small windows awkwardly high. It may have been a servant's day room, or served a similar ancillary function.

Surviving fabric above the first floor is limited to window trim and features located on the exterior walls due to extensive remodeling and fire and water damage.

A full basement extends under the entire house. The unfaced stone foundation is covered with plaster or stucco in places, and it has a concrete floor. There are a number of rooms in the basement, and the use of some is clear. The space under the semi-circular room was a canned food pantry. The original furnace was located in the northeast corner. A beaded-board paneled room under the southwest corner of the house likely was a game room, although little remains but the paneling.

In the 1996 rehabilitation the main house was divided into eight apartments. One two-story unit occupies the first and second floors of each corner, and four smaller units are located on the third floor. The design preserves the historic plan of the "T" corridor, and also saves the surviving fabric, primarily located in the southeast and southwest corners, and in the east center portion of the first floor.

Exterior — Carriage House

The carriage house, constructed in 1902, continues the Colonial Revival style of the main building, adding a gambrel roof in the Dutch Colonial style to the one and one-half story rectangular building, parallel and adjacent to the alley at the north end of the site. A cross gable in the center of the roof also is done in gambrel form. The carriage house is built of hard and precisely sized red brick, with narrow mortar joints; apparently identical to the main house. A small semi-circular wooden portico is located in the center of the south wall. The portico has two free-standing columns, and pilasters attached to the wall. In the cross gable portion above the main door there is a Palladian-style window framed by stone, continuing a design theme established by the main house.

There are three small nearly square window openings west of the south entrance, and three of the same windows and a door east of the entrance. Brick quoins similar to the main house mark the corners.

The west end of the carriage house has a large opening on the first floor that housed a pair of doors allowing access for carriages/automobiles to the building. This opening had been filled with wooden shingles until the conjectural restoration of the appearance of the doors in the 1996 rehabilitation. Above the first floor is a pair of windows with stone sills and keystoned lintels. A small oblong oculus window surrounded by stone is centered under the gable above the two windows in the second floor of the elevation.

The north wall facing the alley has a variety of openings of different sizes. A large square opening is in the western end, followed by a small square opening, two rectangular windows, two almost square openings, and two doors at the east end. The eastern door is half below grade, and likely indicates that the grade of the alley was changed after the carriage house was constructed. There is a large square opening in the gable, with a hook above, from which block and tackle likely lifted hay or other material into the second floor from the alley. There is a gabled dormer in the roof on either side of the cross gable.

Interior — Carriage House

The interior of the carriage house was cut up into two-story apartments with new internal stairs and dividing walls, likely in the 1970's or earlier. No vestige of historic fabric remained inside the building. The 1996 rehabilitation completely redid the interior, retaining the three two-story apartment interior plan, while restoring the windows and doors to more appropriate configurations.


The large Colonial Revival-styled James Scott House and carriage house at 5635 Stanton Avenue in the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh were constructed in 1900 and 1902 respectively for James Scott, an executive in Andrew Carnegie's steel empire. Scott rose through the ranks of Carnegie Steel over his thirty-five year career to become the superintendent of the Lucy, Isabella, and Edith blast furnaces. On Scott's retirement in 1913, Andrew Carnegie referred to him as "the dean of the blast furnace corps of the world." The buildings are significant under Criterion C for architecture as prominent high-style examples of Colonial Revival architecture, and under Criterion B for association with the life of industrialist James Scott.

Highland Park evolved as a prestigious residential community in the decades following the Civil War. The Pennsylvania Railroad ran through adjacent East Liberty, providing access to downtown Pittsburgh. East Liberty became the commercial center for Pittsburgh's East End and, together with what would become Highland Park and the other eastern neighborhoods, was annexed to Pittsburgh in 1868. Growth was slow through the 1870's, largely due to the Panic of 1873, but in the 1880's and 1890's, prominent Pittsburghers built a number of large houses and mansions along Highland Avenue, and lesser residences were constructed east and west of Highland. City public works director Edward Bigelow's Highland Avenue mansion was built in 1885; in 1889 he created Highland Park around a city reservoir. Pittsburgh's famous contractor/politician William Flinn built a mansion near the park; coincidentally, Flinn sold the tract on which Scott's house would be built to real estate developer Henry Stewart in 1890. Alexander Peacock, general sales agent for Carnegie Steel and one of Andrew Carnegie's eventual partners, also built a magnificent home on Highland Avenue in the 1880's (now demolished). Two lesser ranked Carnegie insiders also had homes in the neighborhood when James Scott built his house.

A native of Scotland, James Scott came to the United States in 1872 at age twenty-two, having already served six years of technical apprenticeship in the steel industry in his homeland. In 1876 he married Helen E. Johnston, daughter of a Scotsman, in Brooklyn, New York. The Scott's union produced five daughters and a son. James Scott began his career with Carnegie in 1877 as machinist on the Lucy Furnaces, which were doubled in capacity that year to meet the demands of Andrew Carnegie's Edgar Thomson sled mill. At the time, the daily and weekly tonnage from blast furnaces was reported in newspapers, promoting competition between furnaces. Through this competition, innovation in design, and the relentless pressure to exceed previous production records placed on Carnegie Steel's employees by Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick, average production from a blast furnace rose from 50 tons per day when the first Lucy Furnace was fired in 1873, to nearly 1,000 tons per day from newly-built furnaces early in the 20th century. James Scott contributed to the increase in production by innovating blast furnace techniques and inventing pieces of technology. A trusted and loyal Carnegie aide, he rose to be Superintendent of the Lucy Furnaces, and finally General Superintendent of the Lucy, Isabella, Edith, and Neville Blast Furnaces. Scott was a member of Pittsburgh's most prestigious business-oriented social organization, the Duquesne Club, and served on boards of charitable organizations.

In 1899 Scott purchased the 100 by 180 foot lot at the northeast corner of Stanton Avenue and Mellon Streets in Highland Park for $12,500. A stipulation in the deed required that any house built on the property had to match the setback of the Shingle-style neighboring house, 5655 Stanton, built for and by architect William S. Fraser in 1882.[2] Scott's 20-room house contains approximately 12,000 square feet, and building permit records estimate its cost at $28,000. According to the same building permit records. Highland Park's more common 3,000 square foot brick houses were being constructed that year for about $4,000. In a British tradition, Scott named the house, calling it "Altholl." The meaning and significance of this name has not been discovered. The 3,500 square foot, two-story carriage house was constructed at the rear of the lot in 1902 at an estimated cost of $9,000.

No architect is associated with the house. Per the city's building permit records, the contractor for both house and carriage house was Rose and Fisher, an obscure contracting firm located in the City of Allegheny (now Pittsburgh's North Side). Harry R. Rose and Richard W. Fisher lived in adjacent houses in Allegheny, but somehow escaped the attention of the several multi-volume collections of vanity biographies published in Pittsburgh early in this century. From the surviving records. Rose and Fisher concentrated on industrial and commercial buildings. According to the City of Pittsburgh building permit records, between 1899 and 1903 the firm built a seven story "power house," the seven-story Hartje Brothers building on Wood Street (National Register, 1996, designed by Pittsburgh architect Charles Bickel), a bank, a store building in the Uptown section of Pittsburgh, and James Scott's house and carriage house. Assuming the building permit records are accurate. Rose and Fisher built no other residences, in Highland Park, or any other Pittsburgh neighborhood, from 1899 through 1903. Building records for Rose and Fisher's home city of Allegheny are not available. Given the types of buildings Rose and Fisher constructed, it seems possible that James Scott knew the firm from a project involving Carnegie Steel.[3]

The Scotts' move to Highland Park apparently marked the promotion of James Scott from Superintendent of the Lucy Furnace to General Superintendent of a group of Carnegie's blast furnaces. City directories prior to 1900 list Scott's address as the Lucy Furnaces. Superintendents of early furnaces and mills often lived in housing on the mill property, or in a company-built house nearby. The facilities operated continuously, and the boss was expected to be always available.

Although subject to at least two comprehensive remodelings unsympathetic to the building's historic fabric, enough material remains in 5635 Stanton Avenue to give some flavor of its original character. The wide oak-paneled center hall, and flanking paneled parlors appear to be designed to impress guests. The long-gone monumental staircase, its long intermediate landing lit by a Palladian window, must have seen grand entrances and much children's play. Two dining rooms at the rear of the house allowed for formal and less formal entertaining. One of the most intact rooms, and one unquestionably designed with the Scotts' input, was the music room on the first floor behind the southeastern parlor. The 1996 rehabilitation uncovered and restored the molded plaster ceiling of this room. In each corner of the ceiling are plaster moldings of different musical instruments. At least one of the Scott's five daughters, Helen E., was an accomplished musician.

The house at 5635 Stanton Avenue appropriately reflected the status of a Carnegie Company executive. In describing the "Seven Ages of the Veterans" in a publication of the exclusive Carnegie Veterans Association, of which Scott was a member, William B. Dickson described the "Fourth Age of the Veteran":

"The house-building mania was a peculiar development of this stage. No longer content to dwell in the modest but comfortable home of his early struggles, he called in the architect and the interior decorator and furnisher, and handing them a check signed in blank, told them to go ahead and do their damndest [sic]. And most of them did — not only their damndest, but the innocent veteran as well."[4]

James Scott, Charles Schwab, Highland Park resident Alexander Peacock, and 48 others formed the Carnegie Veterans Association in 1901. This organization was made up of those Carnegie executives who remained loyal to Andrew Carnegie after his split with Henry Clay Frick in 1900. The Carnegie Veterans Association established and contributed to various philanthropic organizations, and held annual dinners, which were closely followed by society and business reporters from major newspapers. Andrew Carnegie initially hosted the dinners in his elegant New York home; after Carnegie died, Charles Schwab became host. No additional members were admitted to the organization beyond the initial fifty-one, and by 1937 only eight survived.

Scott's home at 5635 Stanton Avenue was the seat of an event that captured national attention in 1906. On October 10th, James Scott's fourth daughter Helen E., eloped from the family home with Frederick C. Fairbanks, son of Charles W. Fairbanks, Vice President of the United States. Helen had attended school in Washington, D.C., and was regarded as "one of the best women violinists in Pittsburgh." Apparently the couple had wanted to marry but Vice President Fairbanks objected. The couple eloped to Steubenville, Ohio, where they married, and telegraphed the news to Helen's mother at their Stanton Avenue home on October 11.

The event caused a sensation in the national media, which descended on the Scotts' home. The New York Times placed the story in the center of its front page on October 12, 1906. The Pittsburgh Press devoted most of its front page to the story for days, including a photo-montage of the Scotts, prominently featuring their Stanton Avenue residence. Faced with the fact that their children legally were married, the parents of the newlyweds quickly reversed their earlier position and blessed the union.

James Scott retired from United States Steel in 1913; he died in 1920. Scott's wife Helen survived until 1923. The house was sold from Helen's estate in 1925 for $35,000. A bank acquired the property through default on a mortgage in 1937, and it was sold two years later to the Jewish Home for Infants and Children. The buildings underwent a three-year remodeling campaign and were rededicated with much fanfare on October 17, 1943. The Jewish Home was part an orphanage, and also a foster care home for children whose families were temporarily unable to care for them. The home was established during the time when tuberculosis forced many parents into lengthy stays at sanitaria, and it housed to up to 45 children. By the end of the 1960's, the need for such a facility had diminished, and in 1971 the building was sold. The house was remodeled into inexpensive apartments, acquiring a poor reputation over the years, and changing ownership several times. When it was purchased by a community-based group in 1995 to be historically rehabilitated, there were 11 apartments in the main building, and three additional living units in the carriage house.

James Scott

It is clear from James Scott's career that he devoted his energies to the technical side of the steel business. Scott invented several pieces of blast furnace technology, and innovated new techniques at a time when the modern steel industry was evolving. He was not involved in the financial and political machinations of Carnegie, Frick, and their associates, and is therefore rarely mentioned in the biographies and corporate histories of the era.

From his tenure as Superintendent of some of Carnegie's best-known and most-productive furnaces, it can be concluded that Scott met the ever-increasing expectations of Frick and Carnegie. As a measure of Carnegie's trust in him, rising leaders of the Carnegie and US Steel companies were apprenticed to James Scott to learn the business. According to the 1903 book by James Howard Bridge, The Inside History of the Carnegie Steel Company, James Scott had a major role in the twenty-fold increase in blast furnace production in the late 19th century:

"No man in the Carnegie Steel Company, or indeed anywhere else, has been closer to the great changes described than Mr. Scott, and few men have contributed more to produce these changes." (page 182)

The enormous increase in iron production allowed for a like rise in Carnegie's steel output, which in turn fueled the nation's railroad, industrial, and building boom of the era. United States Steel became the world's first billion dollar corporation when it was formed in 1901. Upon Scott's retirement from US Steel in 1913, Andrew Carnegie described him as "Dean of the blast furnace corps of the world."[5]

By his long tenure and the compliments paid him, James Scott made a substantial contribution to the success of the Carnegie/Frick steel empire.[6] However, Scott's contributions to blast furnace technology may have been superseded rapidly after his retirement. The Bible of the steel industry, The Making, Shaping and Treating of Steel, was published by the Carnegie Steel Company in 1918, and is still available in a tenth edition (1985), much expanded. The earliest edition of the book refers to blast furnace innovations at least partly attributed to Scott: Dry Blast method (refrigerating furnace intake air to reduce humidity), bosh plate design (bosh plates wicked heat away from the furnace), and Thin Wall furnaces (Thin Wall furnaces had a greater capacity, and they depended on special bosh plate design). Scott's name is not linked with any of these innovations in The Making, Shaping and Treating of Steel, possibly because his pioneering work in these areas became the industry standard for only a brief period, until improved on by another innovator. James Scott is not known to those familiar with modern blast furnace operation.[7]


Highland Park has a number of high-style examples of late 19th and early 20th century architecture. Represented architects include Longfellow, Alden and Harlow, Frederick Sauer, and Frederick Scheibler. James Scott's house is among the best and most prominent Colonial Revival examples in the neighborhood. Others in the same style include 944 Sheridan Street, built for a sister of H.J. Heinz in 1901. This house is five bays wide, though smaller in footprint, and has paired Ionic columns on its wooden porch, as does 5635 Stanton Avenue. The outstanding feature of this house is the oversized arched, tripartite, window of stained glass in the center bay of the second floor. It remains in a good state of integrity, although it is not as prominently located as James Scott's house. A Colonial Revival house dating from 1907 is 1160 Portland Street. It is three bays wide, and has Ionic porch columns, and a center bay on the second floor with a three-part stained glass window in an arched opening. This house resembles a two-thirds scale version of 5635 Stanton Avenue, and is a good state of integrity. The rest of the 1100-block of Portland Street shows the popularity of the Colonial Revival as a favorite style of speculative developers in Highland Park, with over 30 more modest "Foursquare" houses in this block alone.

The Renaissance Revival-styled house at 820 Highland Avenue is a three-story, tile roofed, five-bay residence with shallow-arched projecting bays flanking a wide center section which has the characteristic three-part windows. It is similar in size to James Scott's house, and was constructed in 1908 for prominent real estate broker Henry Stewart, from whom Scott bought the Stanton-Mellon lot. This house is built of Roman brick, with brick porch piers, and decorative terra cotta elements; it is in a good state of integrity. The tall chimneys on 820 Highland are similar to 5635 Stanton. Architect for the house was local practitioner Paul Irwin, who is credited with the design of nine other Pittsburgh houses, and certainly did many more.[8]

Endnotes [1]"Altholl" is the name given the property by owner James Scott. It has been assumed to mean hill or promontory. The word does not appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, nor is it, or a close variant, in a Gaelic dictionary.

[2]Fraser's house survives in a very good state of integrity. It is an impressive house, about half the size of James Scott's.

[3]Scott's use of an industrial/commercial contractor might suggest that the architect of his house also came from a Carnegie Steel connection.

[4]Dickson. William B. History of the Carnegie Veterans Association. (Montclair. N.J.: Mountain Press, 1938), p.154

[5]Fleming. George T. History of Pittsburgh and Environs. (The American Historical Society, Inc.: New York and Chicago. 1922) Vol.4, p.180.

[6]In contrast to James Scott's career, Charles Schwab began as a laborer in the Edgar Thomson ("E.T.") Works in Braddock at age seventeen in 1879. Like James Scott, Schwab worked on blast furnaces. Schwab quickly became a favorite of Andrew Carnegie, and was promoted within ten years to manage the Homestead Works. Schwab was named President of Carnegie Steel in 1897, and was instrumental in the creation of US Steel. One of Schwab's innovations as President of Carnegie Steel was a Saturday meeting of about 25 key managers known collectively as the Operating Department. James Scott attended these meetings. See Dickson, William B. History of the Carnegie Veterans Association (Montclair. N.J.: Mountain Press, 1938), p.186-187.

[7]Many of Scott's contributions to blast furnace technology are obsolete. For instance, air intake into blast furnaces often is heated, rather than cooled, to reduce its moisture content. Scott's specially-designed bosh plates helped reduce the exterior temperature of the furnaces, reducing thermal stress and allowing the design of thinner-walled, higher capacity furnaces. Current experiments with microscopic particles of iron ore and coke, injected together under pressure, apparently are likely to make blast furnaces obsolete. Interview with William J. Gaughan, January 9, 1997

[8]Uhl, Lauren. "Pittsburgh Architects Database," (Pittsburgh, PA: unpublished manuscript)


Baird, George M., ed. Directory of Social Resources of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Pittsburgh, PA: Federation of Social Agencies of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, 1933, 1937, 1943, 1947, 1955,1968.

Bridge, James Howard. The Inside History of the Carnegie Steel Company. New York, NY: Aldine Book Company, 1903. Republished by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA. 1991.

Camp, J.M.,and Francis, C.B. The Making, Shaping and Treating of Steel. Pittsburgh, PA: The Carnegie Steel Company, 1919.

Collins. John F.S., Jr. Stringtown on the Pike. Pittsburgh, PA: East Liberty Chamber of Commerce, 1967.

Dickson, William B.,compiler. History of Carnegie Veteran Association. Montclair, N.J.: Mountain Press, 1938.

Eversmeyer, Michael, and Laviana, Ellen. "Highland Park Houses." Pittsburgh; PA: Copyrighted unpublished manuscript, 1988.

Fleming, George T. History of Pittsburgh and Environs. New York and Chicago: The American Historical Society, Inc., 1922.

Harvey, George B.M. Henry Clay Frick, The Man. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1928.

Lankford, William T., et. al., editors. The Making, Shaping and Treating of Steel. 10th edition. Pittsburgh, PA: United States Steel Company, 1985.

Lorant, Stefan. Pittsburgh, The Story of an American City, Lenox, Mass.: Authors Edition, Inc., Third Edition, 1980.

Mellon, Thomas. Thomas Mellon and his Times. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994.

Metallurgical Society of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, ed. History of Iron and Steel Making in the United States. New York, NY: American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, 1961.

Uhl, Lauren S., compiler. "Pittsburgh Architects Database." Pittsburgh, PA: Unpublished manuscript, 1986-1996.

Wall, Joseph Frazier. Andrew Carnegie. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989

Public records

Allegheny County Deeds

Allegheny County Wills


New York Times - October 12-13, 1906

Pittsburgh Press - October 12-17, 1906; May 20, 1920; October 15, 1943


William J. Gaughan, Homestead District Steel Works (retired), January 9, 1997

John H. "Jack" Bell, Chief' Engineer, Park Corporation, Homestead, PA, January 14, 1997

  1. Uhl, Charles, James Scott House, nomination document, 1997, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

James Scott House Map

Street Names
Stanton Avenue

**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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