William Scott was born and trained in England, and emigrated to Canada in 1853, where he worked on the development of the Canadian railroads. William Scott appears to have been an engineer, not an architect. His sons John and Arthur both entered the architectural profession, and moved with their father to Detroit in 1875, where the firm was established as William Scott & Co. In 1889, William retired, and the firm became John Scott & Co.
The only non-home designed by William Scott & Co. that still stands in Detroit is Detroit Fire Department Engine House No. 11 at 2737 Gratiot Ave.