Mr. Phelan’s building
Marcin Wichary

Phelan Building Photographers

There were two photographers in the Phelan Building in the 1960's, and I worked for Orie Damewood on the 5th Floor from about 1967 to 1973. We mostly did public relations photography.

On the top floor was (from memory) Van Eckert Photography. “Van” did all of the photography for the Emporium — even had a key to enter the department store after hours and get samples needing photography. He and his wife lived in the penthouse . . . walk a few feet from his studio on the top floor of the Phelan Building, go up a few stairs, and there was a “normal” house door to the house on the roof of the building. He slowly brought bag after bag of soil from the Emporium’s garden department and had a raised bed garden (with wandering turtle) on the roof. He and his wife went to paint the ceiling of the foyer to the penthouse — in washing it down prior to painting it turns out to have been a ceiling fresco. They didn’t paint it.

(The above was a post I just made on Facebook, and then found your research. I remember that stairway to the Penthouse . . . never got a chance to get into the house as I would usually be meeting Van at his studio on the top floor. )

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