[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: July 1999

From: "Jared T. Wilcox" <jwilcox@columbus.rr.com>
To: <masonry-ask@MIT.EDU>
Subject: Coudersport, PA / Consistory
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 23:07:56 -0400

Over the past twenty years on periodic trips to my wife's "family hunting camp" near Coudersport, PA I've been curious about a large, impressive brick structure called the Coudersport Consistory. As it sits close to the road I'm not sure what else is engraved on the building I've always wondered what it was. On a recent vacation trip, I finally noticed the "square and compass" on the wall near the entrance to an attached building a bit further back from the road. There is also a sign in the yard mentioning A.A.S.R. if I remember correctly.

Just curious ... what is it and what does it have to do with Freemasonry?

Regards,

John T. Wilcox
Hilliard, OH
jwilcox@columbus.rr.com


To: "Jared T. Wilcox" <jwilcox@columbus.rr.com>
Subject: Re: Coudersport, PA / Consistory 
In-reply-to: Your message of "Mon, 19 Jul 1999 23:07:56 EDT."
             <000801bed25d$111171e0$5f7e5d18@columbus.rr.com>
--------

Dear John (or Jared):

AASR stands for Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite. The Scottish Rite is an affiliated branch of Freemasonry. SR offers a number of "side degrees" available to any Master Mason (3rd degree Mason).

SR degrees have fancy names like "Sublime Master Elect", "Master of the Ninth Arch", "Knight of the Brazen Serpent", "Master ad Vitem" etc, and each degree also has a sequence number, from 4th - 32nd. (The 1st - 3rd degrees are the three degrees offered in the regular Masonic "blue lodge": Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, Master Mason.)

In the USA, the SR is divided geographically into "Valleys", chartered by either the Northern or Southern Masonic Jurisdiction. Each Valley is made up of subordinate bodies of four different types:

	-- Lodge of Perfection  ( 4th-14th degrees)
	-- Princes of Jerusalem (15th-16th "")
	-- Chapter Rose Croix   (17th-18th "")
	-- Consistory           (19th-32nd "")

As you realized, the Square and Compasses identified that particular Consistory's building as a part of Freemasonry. In fact, it is usually the case that various "blue lodges" along with various local appendant bodies (like the SR bodies) will share a building together, each group meeting on a different night of the month. So the building you saw was probably built or refurbished by the local Consistory, and it, or its attached buildings, are used by the other Masonic groups in the area.

For more information about Scottish Rite, including a listing of their degrees, try the website of the Valley of Columbus, Ohio -- http://www.32srmason.org.

I can't say for sure, but my expectation would be that if you ever stopped at the Coudersport building and went up to the door, you'd probably find a sign listing which bodies meet on which nights, along with a phone number to call for more information.

Thanks for writing.


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