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Scott Club

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1892–1894, John Cornelius Randall. 652 Phoenix St.

The Scott Club, a stately Queen Anne building of rough-cut tan sandstone, tells of the role of women in the late 1800s. In 1883–1884, eight South Haven women organized the social and literary club to foster their intellectual, cultural, and social interests. The membership grew to more than one hundred wives and daughters of fruit farmers, tradesmen, and professionals. The members were prominent in the South Haven community and active in other socially important organizations such as the board of education and Woman's Christian Temperance Union. By 1890 the club had outgrown even the sitting rooms of the local churches. Through the joint efforts and resources of the literary club, the antiquarian society, and the reading circle (the predecessor of the Scott Club), the women orchestrated the construction of a building that would serve to promote intellectual, scientific, and cultural enlightenment in addition to providing a reference library for the South Haven community. The women purchased the land on the southeast corner of Phoenix and Pearl streets with the notion that the three groups would share the resulting building; the first two groups dissolved before construction began. The building was realized through donations of money, materials, and labor from the community and local business people.

Designed and built by Randall, a local architect-builder and planing mill owner, the hipped- and gable-roofed building has a tower in the angle with an open belfry and bell-cast roof. In its clear domesticity and with its bulky tower, it serves as an intermediary between the residential section of South Haven and the east side of the downtown business district. The building displays the decorative wooden brackets, finials, pendants, posts, bargeboards, and spandrels characteristic of this picturesque style. The main reading room has dual fireplaces with ceramic hearths and golden oak mantelpieces. It is bathed by sunlight filtering through two large stained glass windows depicting Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Sir Walter Scott (in whose name the club was incorporated in April 1894), crafted in Innsbruck, Austria, by the Tyrolese Art Glass Company. The basement holds a kitchen and banquet hall. The interior displays splendid woodwork; the staircase is carved of golden oak with elaborately turned newel post and balustrade; and the double entrance doors are heavy carved panels.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Kathryn Bishop Eckert
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Citation

Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Scott Club", [South Haven, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MI-01-VA3.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 238-240.

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