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.

11 responses to “William Scott Mansion

  1. this is one of the most fascinating builds of the century !

  2. I remember visiting the Big House as a Girl Scout in the late 1970s and hearing the various campfire ghost stories about the lady who supposedly fell from the balcony on to the compass rose painted on the pavement below.

    Now I am a Girl Scout leader and my daughters enjoy Camp Casa Mare and tell the same scary stories. The Girl Scouts have a wonderful sailing program at Casa Mare and it’s a very nice place to spend the weekend. Where the Big House used to be is now a nice dining hall.

  3. I’m very disappointed the old house was not saved. The Girl Scouts seemed in a big rush to get rid of it. Very short-sighted.
    William & Chrisitna Scott were my grandmother’s aunt & uncle. Sorry to tell all you old campers that they never had a daughter named Ruth. But ghost stories certainly dont need to be the truth.

    • Hi Susan, I was wondering if you or someone in your family has any photographs of the house, grounds, etc. When I was young we would visit the house and I would like to keep it’s memory alive so to speak. I was frankly horrified to find out it had been demolished, but I agree that the girl scouts seemed in a big rush to let it decay. Thank you.

    • Jeanie Scott Bledsoe

      Susan, we must be related. My father, Douglas Leonard Scott, was one of William and Christina’s sons and grew up in the home. I got to visit the house just before if was demolished – run down but still magical as the sun rose over the bay where the kids used to adventure on their sailing canoe. Where are you now?

      • Dear Jeanie, I may be an extremely distant cousin of yours (think common ancestor ca. 1770). I’d like to get in touch.

      • Jeanie Bledsoe

        Wow! The 1770s must have still been in Scotland! How are you related? To the Bruce (mother) or Scott (gfather) branch?

      • Via the Bruces. Your Bruce ancestor emigrated to Canada in 1836. I have – with much help from others – been able to acquire a lot of information. But the more you know the more you realise you don’t know. My mail is: norval dot smith at gmail dot com, if you’re interested.

  4. I agree, I was a former scout & used to spend a few summers at the camp, it was my favorite one & even got to stay in the Big House at lease once, maybe twice, for I still to this day feel a bit saddened for the circumstance now seeing from seeing just now, from this site it, why it was torn down with the way it was done, for I say too shame for they way it was demolished, esp. with all the backings it had for saving it, (even looked like legally) (understanding it was old & needed repair)…..
    Anyhow if someone, maybe Susan if you have a few photos of this house, tp e-mail to me, for I would like to keep some for prosperity purposes, there, for me, since I never took any back in the early 90’s.

  5. I have an old picture from the bay with sailboats.

  6. Well, I’m late to this posting! But as a girl scout leader we were at Casa Mare many times. I’d like to know more about the William Scott who owned this mansion –

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