Newark to break ground on redevelopment project at iconic Krueger-Scott Mansion
Newark officials will gather on Thursday for the much-anticipated groundbreaking of the redevelopment of the Krueger-Scott Mansion, one of the city’s most historic and troubled landmarks. The mansion is a symbol of the Brick City’s ups and downs.
“It’s going to come back to life. It was a residence for two very important people in the city of Newark. No single building can completely tell the story of the city’s history, its fortunes, its hopes,” says the Rev. Louise Scott-Rountree.
Krueger-Scott Mansion is located up the hill on Court Street. Historians say that the mansion is a symbol of Newark's industrial rise built in 1889. Built by Gottfried Krueger, a German immigrant-turned wealthy beer baron. it was arguably the most spectacular mansion in the state for decades.
It passed into the hands of the Masons and several families in the 20th century, the last of them, Scott-Rountree’s mother, Louise Scott. Scott was an African American woman who arrived from the south as a domestic worker and became an entrepreneur. She is believed to be the city’s first African American millionaire. She ran a group of salons and a cosmetology school and business.
“She came here at a time when things were very difficult,” says Scott-Rountree.
Scott-Rountree grew up in the mansion and lived there for 22 years.
“People just couldn't just come to Newark and buy a house like this,” she says.
Scott had to put down a $50,000 cash deposit before she could even obtain a mortgage. She came and bought the property to show everyone that nothing was impossible.
“But for decades after her death in 1982, it sat vacant, slowly decaying and defying effort after effort to both preserve it or demolish it. It became a towering symbol of the city's economic decline,” Scott-Rountree says.
Scott-Rountree says that there is now a new plan for the iconic mansion, “To summon the entrepreneurial spirit of Gottfried Krueger and Louise Scott and create a business incubator and make space for small businesses.”
Work has already begun on the site. That redevelopment plan includes a new building next door to the mansion and a mix of housing, shared spaces for light manufacturing and business support to help people start and grow businesses.