Hillsborough Founding Father: Henry T. Scott

  • Geoffrey Nelson
  • 11/11/20

The Gilded Age made its impact on America through the vision of a small handful of key players with big ideas. While the Carnegies, Vanderbilts, and the J.P Morgans embody what history recognizes as the Gilded Age of the East Coast, on the West Coast, Hillsborough clearly charted new territory with influential industrialists of its own. In fact, it was these key players who were largely responsible for resisting annexation pressures from neighboring Burlingame and San Mateo, while asserting the incorporation of the Town of Hillsborough as well as the founding of the Burlingame Country Club. 

Born in 1846 and hailing from Maryland, Henry T. Scott was one of the West Coast’s stalwart industrialists and a pivotal figure in early Hillsborough. Scott arrived in California in 1867. His rapid trajectory found him at the helm of President for Union Iron Works, a primary shipbuilder for the United States Navy. Battleships and Cruisers such as the Oregon, The Charleston, and The San Francisco, were at the top of their class for the day. Scott’s business diversity included chief executive positions for Pacific Telegraph and Telephone Company (later becoming Pacific Bell and AT&T), and lead roles in banking and real estate ventures with the Crocker Family. Scott was also one of the earliest and most passionate organizers of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. Scott maintained a San Francisco Victorian mansion at Clay and Laguna Streets. On the Peninsula, he built one of Hillsborough’s earliest estates along the prestigious Forest View corridor in the 1890s known as Oakhurst. Since modified, the estate and part of the terraced garden still stand at 2217 Forest View. Scott’s original ballroom has been preserved and is re-incorporated into the current shingled structure. The Oakhurst property terraced down to where today’s Fern Court and Redington Road lie. Scott’s original c. 1895 Gardener’s Cottage was tucked into a peaceful meadow along the creek banks at today’s 2240 Redington Road  Now available for purchase on the market, this once-in-a-lifetime property occupies 1 acre with two historically renovated cottages of East Coast character. Scott may not have foreseen his “Gardener’s Cottage” as a future $5,200,000 commodity, but he did know from the beginning that he had chosen one of the ultimate locations in Hillsborough that would stand the test of time. 

Henry T. Scott served as Hillsborough’s second mayor in 1916, and was a founding member of the Burlingame Country Club. Scott served as Club Treasurer in 1895 and Club Vice President from 1899 – 1902. Just up the road at 2260 Redington, neighbor and fellow industrialist Joseph D. Grant built his estate Villa Rose, now known as Strawberry Hill still intact on +/-50 acres. Grant served as President of the Burlingame Country Club in 1896-1897. 

Henry T. Scott’s Hillsborough has evolved into a Town of well-known national cachet. But the simple premise of its founding remains the same: a special community built on the marriage of architecture and nature, where a prominence of influential pioneers find home in the spirit of the country, with a rare privacy and charisma of lands and dwellings.

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Top Agent Geoffrey Nelson excels with a 20 year track record in Burlingame, Hillsborough, and San Mateo Real Estate. A reputation as a premier listing agent, off-market strategist, and architectural specialist.

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