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The Scott House now

Lead Summary
Steve Roush-
Ladies and gentlemen, as we wrap up this 175th celebration series of offerings on Scott House mansion and Highland House museum, we look at the uptown landmark built by William Scott since it’s been owned by the Highland County Historical Society.

According to Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees member John Kellis, roughly $112,000 was needed to accomplish the Scott House improvements we discussed last time.

The HCHS Campaign Committee requested funds from the Ohio Legislature to install needed improvements and to restore many elements of the mansion. The project was included in the State’s Capital Improvements Budget in the spring of 2016 in the amount of $110,000. The society agreed to maintain the building ownership for a minimum of 10 years, at which time the state’s bonds would be retired. The business plan aims to maintain community-minded tenants supporting the building for years to come. Common areas can be rented for reunions, showers, meetings and the like through the historical society.

The state appropriation allowed the historical society to lease out all the office spaces in the building without depleting its investments or operational budget. That, in turn, allowed more affordable rentals for community organizations.

The Highland County Chamber of Commerce and The Ohio Valley RC&D Council began renting those spaces in 2013. The board subsequently found additional tenants for the second-floor offices and the building is on pace to pay its own way for the first time in its 175-year history.

The state funds were designated to repair and treat the Scott House’s outside wooden trim, upper landing railings and cupola (or widow’s walk), as well as the addition of new vintage office lighting. Funds also replaced the aging heating and air-conditioning units, and improved the second story for office spaces.

Other items addressed were improvements to the kitchen, a new roof for the outbuilding, the addition of drainage around the foundation of the building, a new roof for the widow’s walk, rebuilding the estate’s entry gates and adding fence post caps. Improvements were also made to the third-floor spaces for future use.

Mr. Kellis said the society’s goal is to maintain a “community-minded” business model for the mansion so it can become a “Front Door Building” of Hillsboro alongside other buildings like the courthouse and Bell’s Opera House.

And after a successful Pioneer Day at the Scott House back in August, Mr. Kellis announced at last week’s annual meeting of the Highland County Historical Society membership that there will be another Pioneer Day in 2020.

On that note, let’s pause for now, and we’ll continue next time with more Highland County history.

Steve Roush is vice chairman of the Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees, a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at

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