Monday, March 6, 2017


This column first appeared in the March 2017 issue of GreeneSPEAK!

The Sayers Addition plan was not filed with the Recorder of Deeds office until June 1941.

The Town of Waynesburg did not expand beyond its original grid of streets and alleys until after the Civil War. The southern border, located just below Greene Street, was aptly named South Alley. From there, the Slater farm extended all the way to Ten Mile Creek.

In April 1872, Waynesburg’s first “development” began when Thomas W. Sayers laid out 128 lots on the former Slater farm. Called the “Sayers Addition,” it is known today as the “South Side.” The plan included new streets named Lincoln, Elm, First and Water, bordered by Morgan Street on the east and Spring Alley on the west.

East and south elevations of the W. G. Scott House. The 3-bay front features double entrance doors on the left. Later, a second door was added in the right bay.

The same month, Sayers sold three lots on South Washington Street to Walter Guy Scott, the distinguished Professor of Mathematics at Waynesburg College. He purchased the entire block between Walnut Alley and Elm Street for $700.00, the equivalent of $13,725.00 today. It extended west 180 feet to Fruit Alley. Soon, the professor and his wife were erecting one of the first, and finest, houses in the neighborhood.  

Walter G. Scott graduated from Waynesburg College in 1857. (

Today, it is difficult to appreciate the palatial nature of the Scott House when the family lived there, surrounded by large, open lawns, as shown in early photos. Later, the property was subdivided, adding four houses, each placed closer to the street, blocking a full view of the Scott House. Although its front is narrow, the sides are long, creating a large mass.  

Another view of the Scott House from South Washington Street looking southwest.  A 3-story bay graces the north elevation..
Both Professor Scott and his wife, the former Mary Sutton, were early graduates of Waynesburg College. Born in Durham, England, she was the daughter of Rev. Robert H. Sutton, an early Protestant Methodist minister who came to America in the 1840s with his family. He served a number of churches in Southwestern Pennsylvania and Illinois before retiring to Waynesburg.   

With arched paneling and oriel windows, the double doors are framed with elaborate wood trim, produced by a power jigsaw, an innovation of the 1860-70s. 

Urbane and well educated, the Scotts chose for their home the new Second Empire style, considered to be the “high style” of Victorian architecture, inspired by Parisian designs of the era. Tall and stately, Second Empire buildings are distinguished by a mansard roof with two slopes on all four sides, the lower slope being steeper than the upper. With a mansard roof, the house gained a full floor of living space with tall ceilings instead of a low attic.  

The windows on the front porch were equally well adorned.

While many institutional buildings were designed in the Second Empire style, residences were not so common, and few remain today. However, several others can be found in Waynesburg including two that are highly unusual, only 2-stories tall.

This handsome 2-story Second Empire house is located within sight of the Scott House.  It was owned by Simon Rinehart, 1876.  The enclosed porch is a later addition.

Another Second Empire house of unusual 2-story height is located on West Greene Street.

Designed one year after the Scott House, Waynesburg College’s Miller Hall is also Second Empire in style, the work of Pittsburgh architect James W. Drum. It is not known if Drum (or another architect) designed the Scott House, or if they chose a design from a pattern book, but it is likely that the professor was involved in decisions about Miller Hall.   

This rendering of Miller Hall by an unknown artist appeared in the Women's Centennial Paper, 1896.  Could it be the work of architect James W. Drum who designed the building in 1873? 
In “The Waynesburg College Story,” author William Dusenberry describes Walter G. Scott as one of the “Great Triumvirate” who kept the college going during tough times in the late 19th century, often teaching without a salary. The others were President A. B. Miller and Professor James R. Rinehart, all of whom had other means of financial support. While Miller was a Presbyterian minister, Scott was a downtown merchant, owning a dry goods store with his father, located where The Fashion Shop is today.