Scout Hall, Railroad Avenue
This simple frame false front building on Railroad Avenue, opposite the Southern Pacific Depot, appears little altered by time, giving a glimpse of how many of the 19th and early 20th century false front buildings once appeared before receiving the stucco facades of the 1930’s.
It was originally built for the California Olive Oil Factory and was used by David B. Martinelli until, in 1912, he sold it to William Smith, owner of the early Smith’s Pharmacy, Nellie Smith, widow of William Smith, deeded the building to the City of St. Helena in 1936, for use by the Boy Scouts.
Today both the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts of St. Helena hold their meetings here. Every time the building is repainted, Martinelli’s name and the name of the olive oil company are repainted. Jon Dodge carefully repaints the Boy Scouts of America symbol.
The plain false front with shiplap siding conceals a rectangular building with a gable roof. One and a half stories in height, windows are in the gable and facing the street. Windows are paired with double-hung sashes and the double door, centrally located, appears original with its upper glass panels. The Boy Scout Hall is one of a cluster of 19th-century residential, industrial and warehouse buildings remaining on Railroad Avenue once closely tied in with the railroad traffic.