Zar D. Scott

Zar D. Scott. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

Lumberman Zar D. Scott was best known as the vice president of the Zar-Scott lumber mill in Duluth, but he also pioneered the environmental conservation movement. His 1931 obituary explains:

Zar D. Scott was formerly vice president and general manager of the Scott-Graff Lumber company, was president of the Minnesota State Forestry board for several years and was largely instrumental in the creation of the Itasca State park…Begun Survey Work Early. Mr. Scott was born at Plymouth, Mich., Oct. 25, 1848. He received his grammar school education in Plymouth and Northville and his college prepatory work at Kalamazoo college. He spent two years at the University of Chicago and two at the University of Michigan. He was a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity. He received his degree of B. S. from the University of Michigan in 1873. In his university years he worked during his summer vacations on the Great Lakes surveys which the government was making at that time. After graduation he continued to work on lake and railroad surveys for some time, but became more and more interested in the possibilities in the lumber business and in 1876 he took a position with a Minneapolis lumber firm. In 1880 he settled in Duluth, where he and D. E. Holsten established the firm of Scott & Holsten which carried on a successful lumber business for ten years. In 1980 he became vice president and general manager of the Scott-Graff Lumber company engaged in the wholesale manufacture of lumber and interior finishings and also in the buying and selling of Minnesota and California timber lands. He retired from active business several years ago and since that time has spent much of his time in St. Petersburg, Fla. Active in Civic Affairs. He was a member of the Commercial club and the Kitchi Gammi club. He was always active in civic affairs. For years he served on the city council, school board and the Minnesota state forestry board. he was an ardent advocate of reforestation, and made a trip to Germany to study German methods. It was his desire to replant the barren lands from which timber had been cut. He began by planting 30,000 young pine and spruce trees, many of which were brought from Germany. In 1909 he planted 100,000 more young trees. The fires of 1914 were a serious blow to his plans in this line, but did not change his belief that the people of Minnesota should work out some intelligent plan by means of which the forests may be restored and perpetuated. He knew by name and counted as his loyal friends scores of the men who had worked in his lumber camps, sawmill or factory, and he often spoke of his great good fortune in having such wonderful men to work with. Mr. Scott married Frances Gage who died five years ago.

Story by Tony Dierckins. Originally published on Zenith City Online (2012–2017). Click here for more stories by Tony Dierckins.