#6 Emmet Scott House

1421 Indiana Avenue

 

Built 1915

Written by Kurt West Garner

Architect Robert C. Spencer Jr., Chicago

           This home was designed in the Prairie Style

by Chicago architect Robert C. Spencer Jr. and

built in 1915 for Emmet Scott and his young family.

Spencer was a contemporary and friend of Frank

Lloyd Wright and operated out of the same office

building in Chicago. Spencer’s design work was

well-known in the upper Midwest. The Scott House

was featured on the cover of Country Home

magazine in 1924 and was built for $9,000. 
           Jens Jensen prepared landscape drawings for

Scott in 1922. To what extent the landscape features

designed by Jensen still exist is unknown. Jensen

was to landscape design as Frank Lloyd Wright was

to architectural design in the United States in the

first decades of the 20th century. Jensen had a

unique way of incorporating all native plants and

landscape composition in his designs. The Prairie

influence of Spencer’s design would have been fully

complimentary to Jensen’s style of design.
   The Prairie School of Architecture, or Prairie Style, is an outgrowth of the Arts and Crafts movement. It was born in Chicago with Frank Lloyd Wright being the architect most associated with the style. The style is one of only a few truly indigenous American forms and its highest concentration occurs in the Midwestern United States, particularly near the Chicago regional area. Its emphasis was on the horizontal with architectural features of the house inspired by the vast expanse of the prairie. Particularly important stylistic features are low-sloped roofs and floor levels acting as horizontal planes. 
           These features are clearly evident in the Scott House. A few notable features related to the Prairie Style include the wide-overhanging eaves, which are particularly noticeable on the side elevations where they dramatically shield the gable walls. The south side has a particularly strong composition related to the style with its first floor sunroom wrapped with windows whose upper corners are shaped with quarter-round intrusions. Spencer’s mastery gave a very formalized approach to the style, with elements of the also popular Tudor style. These are seen in the half-timbering of the gable walls, Belgian leaded glass, and the bay over the entry porch. The porch itself is a unique blend of qualities, including its classical composition, but Prairie-style columns. The exterior walls are covered with quartz aggregate stucco and the roof is covered with the original clay tiles.
          Emmet Scott was born in 1874 in Carrollton, Michigan, to Emmet Hoyt Scott and Mary Relief Niles Scott. The Scotts moved to La Porte by 1880 where the elder Scott started a foundry that would become the La Porte Outing Company, manufacturers of gas meters. 
          Emmet, the son, married Louise Bosserman (see photo in 1420 Indiana Avenue history) in La Porte in 1906. Louise was born in 1882 in Indiana to Charles and Emma Bosserman. Charles married Emma Webber in La Porte in 1873. The Webbers had a hardware store which the Bossermans helped operate into the 1890s. By 1900, they made their home in La Porte at 1420 Indiana Avenue. Bosserman was the president of the La Porte Improvement Company and La Porte Investment Company, and was the vice president of the Bank of the State of Indiana.
           Emmet Scott became treasurer of his father’s corporation by 1903 and president by 1915. A passport application in 1903 described the 29-year-old as having a light complexion and a rather large mouth and rather small chin. Emmet’s draft registration card for World War I indicated he was tall and stout with gray hair and blue eyes. Emmet and Louise were living at 1421 Indiana Avenue by 1913 through about 1916. By 1918, the Scotts had moved to Louise’s parents’ home at 1420 Indiana Avenue. Emmet was listed in the city directory as the proprietor of the La Porte Outing Sulky Company. This company was expanding rapidly and had built its new plant in 1915. Emmet and Louise had one son, Hoyt, who was born in 1913. Emmet Scott was still residing at the 1420 Indiana Avenue address when he died in 1937. He was buried at Pine Lake Cemetery in La Porte. His widow, Louise, continued to live at 1420 Indiana Avenue into the late 1950s. She died in 1975.
           The Scotts sold their home to an executive of the Berkel Corporation, who later sold it to Judge John C. Richter by 1924. Judge Richter lived at the house until his death in 1945. Judge Richter’s son, Dr. John Richter, then lived in the home with his family after his parents. Dr. Richter died in South Carolina in 1990. Dr. Basil Datzman bought the home from Dr. Richter in about 1962 and subsequently sold it in February of 1978.

 

Read more about this historic home, and many others in La Porte, in Preserve Historic La Porte’s book Historic Architecture of La Porte Indiana: The First 20 Years of the Candlelight Tour, available through Preserve Historic La Porte or the La Porte County Historical Society Museum.

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