The Excelsior Scottish Rite Temple, also known as the Samuel French House, White Mansion, Dungarven, and Hurley Mansion, has a fascinating history. Earlier inhabitants of the Mansion include Samuel French (of Smith Kline and French Co.) and Edward Collings Knight, Sr., inventor of the Pullman sleeping car for railroads. Mr. Knight was a descendant of the Collings family for whom the borough and Knight Park are named. Dr. William Albert Davis, of Cooper Hospital in Camden and a 32nd Degree Mason, operated a maternity hospital in the White Mansion. In 1909, William Hurley, owner of a successful chain of furniture stores, purchased the estate and named it in honor of his birthplace, Dungarven, in County Waterford, Ireland.
The property was purchased by the Excelsior Scottish Rite in 1930 for $125,000 from the estate of William Hurley. In 2003, the Borough of Collingswood entered a 50-year lease of the building owned by the Scottish Rite Freemasons. The Borough appointed the management of the venue to the Collingswood Foundation for the Arts, a registered 501(c)3. Since 2003, many repairs, renovations, and improvements have been made to the mansion, auditorium, and ballroom, all the while preserving its historic charm. During the past 19 years, more than a million guests have visited this classic venue