"Fitz’ Scott – architect of Vail Village
An avid skier with a wonderful family that loved the outdoors, Fitzhugh “Fitz” Scott, from Milwaukee, had an established architectural practice there with many prominent corporations as his regular clients, plus a substantial residential business.
Fitz first heard of Vail through George Caulkins in 1958. He was one of the 20 people who put down $5,000 and became part of the Vail Corporation. As he became more involved and made trips to see the site, he realized that it was going to be a great opportunity to be part of what promised to be an outstanding ski resort.
His time and effort in the early stages of 1960 and 1961 went beyond the call of duty. He conceived various plans for the village and even went so far as to make models of the mountain, the chairlifts, and the village itself.
When it became apparent that the resort was going ahead, Fitz, at his own risk, built a two-story chalet by the bridge that passes over Gore Creek on Forest Road. He built it without a plot plan or any kind of deed. This turned out to be a major step forward in the planning and organization of the team that was to create Vail. The building was known as the Bridge Chalet and stood at the site of what is now Bishop Park. It was constructed in 1961, and in 1962, the first floor became the offices of Vail Associates. It was the only building in Vail other than the original Hanson farmhouse and served as a badly needed focal point and headquarters. As a member of the three-man architectural committee to design the village and create the protective covenants, Fitz was an invaluable contributor in creating the town of Vail as we know it today.
The concept was to have a European Alpine feeling. When it was laid out, Fitz was adamant about Bridge Street being curved. He said, “The prettiest line between two points is a curved line. Let’s emphasize the curve so people will want to find out what is around the corner.”
In the first few years, Fitz had many clients. He built several of the original residences, especially on Mill Creek Circle. He designed the Lodge at Vail, the Red Lion, the Mill Creek Building, and many others. He designed his own home on Mill Creek Circle, where he and Eileen entertained lavishly in those early years with many parties that included almost everyone who lived in the village.
As time went on, Fitz closed his practice in Milwaukee and moved permanently to Vail, where he engaged in a booming architectural practice. He brought in several young architects who have become prominent architects in the area today – Gordon Pierce, Dick Bailey, and Tom Briner, to name a few.
Editor’s Note: In a continued effort to help the community understand its roots, the Vail Daily for a second time is serializing Dick Hauserman’s “The Inventors of Vail.” This is the 21st installment, an excerpt from chapter 4, “The First Directors Meeting.” The book is available at Verbatim Booksellers, The Bookworm of Edwards, Pepi’s Sports, Gorsuch Ltd. and The Rucksack, as well as other retailers throughout the valley. Hauserman can be contacted by phone at 926-2895 or by mail at P.O. Box 1410, Edwards CO, 81632.