Monday, March 23, 2009

Rochester's Noted Architect

Over our history, several noted architects have called Rochester home, including some current ones, but the first among their number to gain real prominence was John Scott. Scott was born in Ipswich, England (in 1851 according to his official biography, or in 1850 according to the date on his tombstone at Mt. Avon Cemetery). He emigrated with his family to Windsor, Ontario while still a small child, and from there on to Detroit where his father, William, established an architecture firm. He followed in his father's footsteps by studying civil engineering and architecture, and worked, along with his brother, in the family business. In 1889, after his father's retirement, he renamed the firm John Scott & Co.

At the age of 25, John Scott married Emma Catherine Woodward of Rochester, daughter of prominent farmer and businessman Lysander Woodward. The couple made their home in Detroit, where in 1886 John Scott designed and built a beautiful red brick and sandstone Queen Anne style residence at 84 East Ferry Avenue. The John and Emma Scott home, used today as an inn, is now part of the East Ferry Avenue Historic District in mid-town Detroit, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

As an architect, John Scott is probably most remembered for his work in designing the Beaux-Arts Wayne County Building at 600 Randolph Street, which opened in 1902 and is now also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. According to W. Hawkins Ferry's history of Detroit architecture, John Scott is also noted for having given a young Albert Kahn his first job in the business – as an apprentice and office boy. The relationship didn't last long, however, because Scott decided that Albert Kahn had no aptitude for architecture and dismissed him.

In 1914, John and Emma Woodward Scott retired to Avon Township and lived out the rest of their lives in the Rochester community. John Scott died on December 8, 1928 in Rochester, and was laid to rest in Mt. Avon Cemetery.

Click here to view photos of the John and Emma Scott house at 84 East Ferry in Detroit, now part of the Inn on Ferry Street.

Photo: The final resting place of John Scott and his wife Emma Catherine Woodward in Mt. Avon Cemetery.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating history. Great site! This may sound crazy, but I came accross your site while searching for information about John and Emma Scott. My fiancee and I recently purchased a house within the West Canfield Historic District of Detroit (cobblestone block in Midtown near Marios and Traffic Jam). Unless we are mistaken, I believe the house was designed by John Scott and built in 1879. It appears that he lived there with Emma until 1887 when he moved to the much larger home on Ferry Street. We are in the process of doing some work in the house and have long-term plans to restore as much of the original design and look as possible. What I find very exciting, is that I am from Rochester and still have family there. I would love to correspond with you to perhaps learn more about John and Emma and the Woodward Family. Is your email listed on this blog?