A piece of Auburn history sits at the end of East Magnolia.
The Scott-Yarbrough house, more commonly known as “Pebble Hill,” is a large plantation home built in 1847.
Pebble Hill sits approximately 40 yards from Debardeleben Street, which runs north to south. The building is painted white except for the stairs, which are a steel gray color that lead up in both directions toward a heavy wooden door.
The building has obviously been restored, but the integrity of the original building is still intact.
Nathaniel Scott and his wife, Mary, came to East Alabama in the 1830s. They moved onto land recently acquired by the United States from the Creek Indians.
Evelyn Causey, a historian who was hired by Auburn University to research the history of Pebble Hill, said Scott built the house to show his importance to the city. “The reason he built the house is kind of two-fold,” Causey said. “He wants to be where the activity is, he is developing a career in politics and he wants to be close to the town. But, at the same time, this house is a statement to the people of Auburn. He wants them to know that he and his family are important.”
The Scott family, along with another group of Methodist settlers, helped found what is modern day Auburn. The Scott family was always supportive of education. At various times, Pebble Hill housed students that were attending schools in Auburn.
After the emancipation of slaves, Mary Scott was forced to sell Pebble Hill after the death of her husband. She sold it to a woman named Mary Riley.
Causey said Riley’s history is unclear.
“She’s kind of a curious character because she’s a widow, she has two children and I have not been able to find any record of her husband,” Causey said. “It’s not clear from the census records what her occupation was, how she brought in an income or how she was able to purchase this house.”
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