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Coudersport Consistory Cathedral, Auditorium, and Benson House

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1887 house; 1913 cathedral and 1928 auditorium, Edward Albert Phillips. 111 E. 2nd St. (U.S. 6)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

By definition a “consistory” is a solemn assembly. In Coudersport, the Scottish Rite Masons, with notable determination, won the right to dispense the highest degrees in Masonry, a right usually reserved for the largest temples in urban places. In 1912, the Masons purchased the house built in 1887 for local lawyer and entrepreneur Isaac Benson, its elaborate carriage house, and the surrounding twenty-seven acres. When they needed more space for assemblies, they commissioned fellow Mason Edward A. Phillips, of Warren, to design the first of their temples in 1913. Fourteen years later, another building committee commissioned Phillips to design an 1,100-seat auditorium that he attached by a one-story wing to match the Great Hall of 1913.

The Benson house is a brick Queen Anne, festooned with turrets and dormers. Inside, the rooms are decorated with a litany of woods, including oak, cherry, pine, butternut, sycamore, bird's-eye maple, black birch, and ash. Both the Great Hall and the auditorium are red brick Tudor Revival buildings, a bit churchlike in appearance as intended.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Coudersport Consistory Cathedral, Auditorium, and Benson House", [Coudersport, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 425-425.

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