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Part of Ketchikan history comes down

Posted: October 21, 2013 - 12:00am

KETCHIKAN — A piece of Ketchikan waterfront history has reached the end of its days.

The former E.C. Phillips & Son building at 1776 Tongass Ave. is being demolished after years of service as a fish-egg curing facility, smokehouse, apartments, fishing equipment storage and general storage structure.

The declining structural soundness of the building prompted the demolition, according to David Bray, a current owner of the property.

The Tongass Historical Museum was able to trace the ownership of the lot itself back to 1920, when it was owned by a Patrick Hamilton. J.R. Heckman owned the lot from 1924 through 1929.

During that time, Edward C. Phillips in 1926 started the cannery company that continues to bear his name, E.C. Phillips & Son, and operate as a seafood processing firm here in Ketchikan

Heckman sold the lot - which was across from the E.C. Phillips cannery — to George E. Brown in 1930, according to records reviewed by the Tongass Historical Museum. Brown subdivided the property and sold part of the lot to Hans Sorenson in 1932.

Sorenson sold his portion of the lot to E.C. Phillips in 1933. Phillips bought the remaining portion in 1939.

There was a two-story building on the lot when it was purchased by Sorenson and then by Phillips, according to the records, which indicate that it contained four apartments in 1946, and a cold storage and three apartments in 1955.

The structure was used in part for curing salmon eggs, said Bray, whose father, Rollo Bray, bought the site in 1974 from Phillips’ son, Cliff Phillips.

It also was said to have been used as a smokehouse.

However, “we found no evidence of a smokehouse,” said Bray, who inherited the property after his father passed away three years ago.

Bray said E.C. Phillips stopped using the site for its egg-curing process during the late 1960s. After that, it was used mostly for storage.

When Rollo Bray bought it, “we pretty much gutted everything and ...made storage out of it,” said David Bray.

At the time of the sale, E.C. Phillips removed the refrigeration from the three freezer rooms that had been located in the lower part of the structure.

The Brays continued to use the structure as storage space.

But over the years, the structure began to bow, sag and sink, prompting the decision for demolition.

The demolition work is being done by Southeast Environmental Construction LLC.

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