Madame Louise Scott
Businesswoman and civic leader
Born: 1905 in South Carolina
Died: April 21, 1983, in Newark, New Jersey
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2021: Enterprise
From the circular tower atop her castle-like brick Victorian mansion, Louise Scott could enjoy a 360-degree view of Newark. But Scott did not have to climb five stories to her tower for people to look up to her. She was respected for all she achieved as a businesswoman—she is believed to be the city’s first black female millionaire—and for all she gave back to her beloved Newark.
Scott grew up in South Carolina. Coming to New Jersey in the 1930s, she worked as a maid, cleaning homes and caring for employers’ babies. She launched her first business, a beauty salon, on Barclay Street in 1944. Over the next decade, she opened more salons and a training school for beauticians, and launched her own line of beauty products. Branching out, she added a 50-room hotel and a restaurant to her portfolio.
By the late 1950s, Scott had become a leading figure in Newark civic life. In 1958, she purchased what became known as the Krueger-Scott mansion. Built in 1888 by beer baron Gottfried Krueger, the immense home on High Street served as Scott’s residence, but also became the headquarters for her businesses and the location for her Scott School of Beauty Culture.
As described by reporter Anthony DePalma in the New York Times, Scott greeted guests beneath the glass-domed central corridor of the opulent home. Weddings and neighborhood events were held at the mansion. In the home’s adjoining 700-seat auditorium, Scott founded a church, presented live radio broadcasts and hosted fashion shows.
Scott was married briefly to the Rev. Malachi Rountree. In an interview, their daughter, Louise Scott-Rountree, recalled Christmases in the Krueger-Scott mansion. Her mother invited the entire community to drop in. Apples and oranges were left out on a blanket for all to take.
Scott-Rountree said her mother bought the mansion to have a beautiful home and a place for her businesses, “but her goal was also to service a community that was in need.”