SCANLAN HOUSE

This is probably the most misunderstood house in Fort Bend County. By misunderstood, I am referring the the history of  the structure, such as when it was originally built, and when and how improvements were added to the house.

The house is located on the Sienna Plantation in eastern Fort Bend County about 2 miles west of FM 521, and about 5 miles south of Arcola. [It is still standing in the year 2016]

The two story house was built on the Arcola Plantation in about 1860 when Jonathan D. Waters was owner of the plantation. The earliest photograph of the building that I have found was taken in 1908 as part of  Arcola Sugar Mills Company presenting  the Arcola Sugar Plantation for sale. This brochure calls the structure

RESIDENCE OF THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT.

The location of this residence has been lost to historians, even though the location is shown on the 1908 'Arcola Plantation for Sale 'advertisement. Could it be hiding in plain sight?

A. The entrance to the two story house is on the second floor.

B. There are 2 widows on each side of the second floor entrance.

C. There are two chimneys. One is on the right and the other is in the rear to the left.

D. The location of this house is on the 1908 prospectus.


THE FRONT FACE OF THE SCANLAN HOUSE IN 2016

A. There is a door size stained glass window on the second floor in the same location and the same size as the original      second story entrance.

B. There are 2 widows on each side of the second floor entrance.

C. There are two chimneys. One is on the right and the other is in the rear to the left. [Not seen in this view]

D. The location of this house is the same as on the 1908 prospectus for RESIDENCE OF THE GENERAL     SUPERINTENDENT.



EVENTS IN HOUSTON CAUSE CHANGES TO THE PLANTATION HOUSE

 


The Scanlan Oak, shown below, is also referred to as the Lawsuit Oak Tree in Houston.



For years the story of the Scanlan Plantation House, in Fort Bend County, was that it was moved from 1917 Main Street in Houston to the plantation. This may have seemed possible until the photo of the 1917 structure became available by the Internet. Any photo of the 1917 house would only be found in books and that was rare. The house was dismantled in 1937 by the Scanlan sisters who were quite reclusive. It should be clear by comparing the photos of the two houses shown above that they are not similar structures.


The marble front steps from 1917 Main were used as the front steps of the plantation house. This could only be accomplished if the RESIDENCE OF THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT was raised to the level of the top of the marble front steps. This is more than speculation, when one interviews the families that were raised on the plantation. Rufus Mauricio is the son of the late Manuela Gonzalez Mauricio and she was the daughter of  Rufus Gonzalez who is buried on the plantation. All three grew up on the plantation. Rufus Mauricio is the namesake of his grandfather and confirms that his grandfather told him the house was raised while being remolded by the Scanlan sisters. A basement was added under the back of the house and a boiler was installed to feed the steam radiaters that heated the house. Cement steps lead to the house from the basement. The underside of the steps are supported by four narrow gage railroad rails. There was an abundance of these light rails left from the recent sugar production era.


There was not electricity to this location, so two newly designed GM Diesel engines were installed in a brick building away from the house. 1937 was the first year of manufacturing for the GM Diesel engines. Installed at the house was one, a 2-71 [2 cylinder 71 cu inches per cylinder] and also, a 3-71 [3 cylinder 71 cu inches per cylinder]. These engines were two stroke and required a small blower to purge the cylinders between strokes. Because these engines were stationary the fuel was not diesel but butaine, a cleaner burning fuel. The 2 cylinder was direct drive to a 10 KW generator. The 3 cylinder was a 4 belt drive to a 20 KW generator. This equipment and the electrical control panel is still present today.

Generator Control Panel

 

 

10 KW Generator powered by 2 cylinder GM diesel [above]

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 KW Generator powered by 3 cylinder GM diesel [above]


ITEMS THAT WERE INSTALLED FROM 1917 MAIN STREET, HOUSTON THAT ARE VISABLE OUTSIDE THE SCANLAN PLANTATION HOUSE

 

The roofing material was reused.

The brick siding was cleaned and installed around the plantation house.

The fountain was installed in front of the house.

The front steps [seven steps] of the 1917 house were reused at the plantation house.

The wrought iron fence around the yard at 1917 Main was incorperated into the brick/wrought iron fence build along Scanlan Road in front of the plantation house.                                                                     

  

An ornament seen on the steeple of 1917 Main is at the plantation.

   

The name on the gate of  the Scanlan drive.

The following was built to the west of the house during the time the Catholic Nuns lived here [1950's]. This bench faces west over a shallow lake and has a great view of the setting sun. The Nuns would rest here to meditate.


CLICK HERE TO SEE THE INTERIOR OF THE HOUSE


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