Monthly Archives: September 2007

William Scott Mansion


[Scott Mansion – photo from “Kira’s Blog“]

casa-dorm.jpg
[Camp Casa Mare (Scott Mansion not shown) – Girl Scouts – San Jacinto Council]

The waterfront Scott Mansion was built in Seabrook, in 1910, by William Scott. Scott was a high-ranking executive of the Southern Pacific Railroad Lines of Texas and Louisiana, and the house was built at the “Surf” stop on Southern Pacific’s Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railroad. Scott named the house either “Deepend” or “Deepdene” (accounts differ). The three-story concrete house, which was one of the first built on Galveston Bay, boasted six bedrooms, six bathrooms, five screened-in sleeping porches, and a basement. The Texas Historical Commission called the mansion the “most distinctive mission-style residence in the state of Texas.”

The Scott Mansion and surrounding property were purchased by the San Jacinto Girl Scouts Council in 1958 for use as a summer camp, which was named “Casa Mare”. For decades, the house at 4810 Todville Rd. was used as a dormitory for Casa Mare campers, who called it the “Big House”. Scouts kept alive through the years versions of a ghost story concerning Scott’s daughter, Ruth, who allegedly fell or jumped from the balcony of the third floor, where she was supposedly confined either to keep her from her boyfriend or because she was mentally unstable.

When the Girl Scouts announced in 1991 their intention to demolish the house, stating that it had become too expensive to maintain, preservationists (including some Girl Scout troop leaders) fought to save it. One proposal involved floating the house on a barge to a new site. The preservationists’ efforts were ultimately unavailaling. On April 8, 1992, an appellate court issued an order enjoining the destruction of the historic mansion, but the order came too late – demolition had begun hours before.

Camp Casa Mare is still used by the Girl Scouts.

More information:
Rendon, R., “Mission to save Casa Mare”, Houston Chronicle, Aug. 11, 1991.
Rendon, R., “Scout camp may barge to new home”, Houston Chronicle, Dec. 22, 1991.
Rendon, R., “Reprieve was too late to save Big House from its execution”, Houston Chronicle, April 15, 1992.
Benson, S.P., “The girls in days of Casa Mare”, Houston Chronicle, Dec. 1, 2002.

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