Benjamin D. Phillips, founder of the Phillips Gas and Oil Company, resided in this Tudor-Gothic mansion named Elm Court, one of America’s most spectacular private homes. It was completed in 1931 by Benno Jannsen, a Pittsburgh architect. The mansion houses the famous Skinner.
Elm Court, often referred to as Phillips Mansion, is a historic mansion located in Butler, Pennsylvania, Butler County, Pennsylvania. It was designed by noted architect Benno Janssen and built in 1929-1930. This 40-room residence is set into a hillside. The house measures 125.7 feet by 159 feet, and is built around a central courtyard. It is constructed of steel reinforced concrete and faced with limestone, marble, and slate. The house features complex slate roofs with many gables, large numbers of rectangular, oriel, and bay windows, interesting chimney treatments, and carved stone detailing reflecting the Tudor Revival style.
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
Benjamin D. Phillips, son of T.W. Phillips, founder of T.W. Phillips Gas & Oil Go, resided in this Tudor-Gothic mansion, noted often as “one of America’s most spectacular private homes”. The house was built for $1 million in 1929. It was completed in 1931 by Benno Jannsen, a well known Pittsburgh architect. The mansion housed the famous Skinner Organ, Opus 783. Although the mansion is over 70 years old, it hasn’t had many changes in ownership. Frederick R. Koch purchased the mansion in 1988 for $1 million US dollars from Dean E. Burget and his wife, Undine Phillips Burget, who was born there. The Burgets bought the mansion in 1978
So who is the owner?
Frederick Robinson Koch (/ˈkoʊk/; born August 26, 1933) is an American collector and philanthropist, the eldest of the four sons born to American industrialist Fred Chase Koch, founder of what is now Koch Industries, and Mary Clementine (Robinson) Koch.
Koch’s Frederick R. Koch Foundation is a major donor in New York to the Pierpont Morgan Library, and the Frick Collection and, in Pittsburgh, to the Carnegie Museum of Art. Of particular note are The Frederick R. Koch Collections at the Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library at Harvard University, and at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Yale president Richard C. Levin described the Koch collection as “one of the greatest collections to come to Yale since the year of its founding.”
Since the 1980s, Koch has bought, restored and maintained a number of historic properties in the United States and abroad, including the Donahue house, a Woolworth mansion in Manhattan; the Habsburg hunting lodge Schloss Blühnbach near Salzburg; the Romanesque Villa Torre Clementina in Cap Martin, France; and Elm Court, a Tudor Gothic manse in Butler, Pennsylvania. Koch financed the full reconstruction of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theater in England from its 1879 remains, although his role as the project’s patron was kept secret for years.
In 1990, Koch bought Sutton Place near Guildford (Surrey, England), the former residence of J. Paul Getty and the legendary meeting place of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, from another reclusive art collector, Stanley Seeger, “redecorated the house and hung his art collection, but is said never to have spent a night under its roof before selling it for £32m” in 1999. Other sources say he operated it as the Sutton Place Foundation, open to the public for more than 25 years, and that he ultimately sold the property in 2005.
Koch served for many years on the boards of directors of the Spoleto Festival and The Royal Shakespeare Company. He remains an active, long-serving board member of the Metropolitan Opera and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. In 2010, The New Yorker reported that Koch had “moved to Monaco, which has no income tax”. Despite lavish philanthropy and millions spent on art acquisitions and property restoration, Koch is said to have a frugal streak, and reportedly “prefers taking the public bus in New York and typically flies commercial”, according to Vanity Fair.
Frederick R. Koch
|Known for||Philanthropy to art and book collections; Pierpont Morgan Library, Frick Collection and Carnegie Museum of ArtPittsburgh,
restoration of historic buildings in US, England, Austria and France
|Net worth||US$ 4 billion|
|Board member of||Film Society of Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Opera, and Spoleto Festival, The Royal Shakespeare Company|