As well-known in Rhode Island and New York as in Philadelphia, George C. Mason, Jr., son of the noted Newport, RI, architect (and Frances Elizabeth (Dean) Mason), came to Philadelphia in 1888 after having married a member of the Borie family. His arrival was announced in the Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders Guide (30 January 1888) with a note that he was opening a branch office of George C. Mason & Son at 502 Walnut Street.
Mason had gained his early education in Newport, where he attended the Berkeley Institute before going on to Oak Hill Military Academy in Yonkers, NY. He entered his father's prosperous firm at the age of 18 and was made a full partner in the firm in 1871. It was not until after his father's death in 1894 that their association ceased, and the younger Mason practiced on his own. By that time his interests in furthering the architectural profession and in the restoration of historic structures was well-grounded, and he actually did little design beyond restoration during the period from 1895 until his death in 1924.
A respected author of articles and books on the architectural profession, including his often-quoted history of the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA, Mason joined the AIA in 1875 and was one of the founders of the Rhode Island Chapter. When he moved to Philadelphia, he became equally active in the local chapter, helping to establish the series of yearly exhibitions which the Chapter held in conjunction with the T-Square Club.
Percy Ash, who wrote Mason's obituary for the Journal of the American Institute of Architects, characterized him in this way: "While Mr. Mason's buildings showed the work of the refined and painstaking practitioner, a great deal of his time was devoted to the literary side of his profession, where his scholarship and graceful expression found ready outlet."
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- Rhode Island Chapter (AIA)
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