Architect Louis Scholl

Architect Louis Scholl

ColWrightHouse_lg

Colonel Wright’s house was built for $22,000, a vast fortune in the 1800s. Wright was severely criticized by the government for building such an expensive structure.

Construction of the new fort buildings was directed by Ass’t. Quartermaster Capt. Thomas Jordan, who used an 1850 house plan book by noted horticulturist-turned architect, Andrew Jackson Downing. Jordan was ably assisted by his civilian clerk, a talented young immigrant named Louis Scholl. Scholl had studied engineering, drafting, art, music and languages in Germany, but left precipitously for political reasons in 1848 when he was nineteen. Arriving with Jordan in 1856, he was to serve the Army for the next 8 years as clerk, mapmaker, guide, scout and wagonmaster. His most lasting accomplishment was the drawing up of plans for the Fort Dalles officers’ houses, barracks, stables, outbuildings and even a guardhouse in Downing’s “picturesque” architectural style.

The fort buildings formed an octagon around a grassy central parade ground. Timber was cut nearby and sawed in the fort sawmill on Mill Creek, and at three other local mills. The doors, windows, mantelpieces and bookcases were hand-planed; some were sent by pack mule and wagon train 100 miles over the mountains to Fort Simcoe. Sandstone was quarried on the bluff nearby for foundations and chimneys; even this was hauled to Simcoe. Much of the finished woodwork was local alder, painted (per Downing’s instructions) to mimic oak or (in the Simcoe C/O’s house) green Italian marble.