Thistle Hill, a Cattlebaron Mansion in Fort Worth
1509 Pennsylvania Avenue, Fort Worth, TX
- architect: Sanguinet and Staats
- Georgian Revival
In 1903 Albert Buckman Wharton, a wealthy Fort Worth Cattle Baron paid $46,000 to build this 11,000 square foot home for his bride Electra Waggoner. The residence is built upon the crest of Summit Avenue in an area that was then the most fashionable district in town; Quality Hill. Electra Waggoner Wharton was the daughter of wealthy Fort Worth cattleman William Thomas (W.T.) Waggoner. Electra met her husband “A.B.” Wharton while touring the Himalayas. Mr Wharton was from a prominent family in Philadelphia. In Fort Worth he managed the first auto livery stable and opened a dealership selling Winston and Franklin automobiles.
In 1911 Mr. and Mrs. Winfield Scott purchased the home for $90,000 and extensively remodeled it from Colonial to Georgian Revival, spending in excess of $100,000. Mr Scott was a successful cattleman, and owner of several of Fort Worth’s finest hotels. That same year Winfield Scott died and in 1912 his son, Winfield Scott Jr. moved into the mansion with his mother. Elizabeth Scott expanded the gardens and added a tea house and pergola. She was known to throw lavish formal parties. After Elizabeth Scott’s death in 1938 Winfield, Jr sold the home to The Girl’s Service League for $17,500 which used the building as a residence for disadvantaged women until selling it in 1968.
After going through a succession of owners Thistle Hill was purchased for $240,000 in 1976 by a group of citizens who successfully campaigned to “Save The Scott Home”. In 2005 the historic property was given to Historic Fort Worth, Inc. who operates the property today as a Historic Venue for tours, weddings and other events. Historic Fort Worth, Inc. has invested heavily in the property in order to repair and upgrade the facilities. Following the devastating 1995 Mayfest Hail Storm the slate roof had to be replaced and at that time the owner of the property installed a thicker slate shingle since the previously used size was unavailable.
Unfortunately the additional weight of the roof began to create structural problems which have had to be addressed by Historic Fort Worth, Inc. at great expense. Several of the rooms have had the decor updated to period-appropriate furnishings and finishes by area designers when the home was included in a Designer Home Tour. Other recent updates include exterior restoration, stabilization and repair of the perimeter wall, and addition of accessibility features. Historic Fort Worth, Inc. has sought and received grants from THC Preservation Trust to assist in renovations.
The house is approximately 11,000 square feet with eighteen rooms, six baths and five fireplaces. Interior features include plaster stenciling, Tiffany Palladian windows and a dramatic horseshoe staircase which is often used for weddings.
Docent-guided tours are available Wednesday through Friday from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm and on Sundays from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm.