The Hallowed Halls

Portland's premier recording studio and event space, located in an elegant 100 year old library building.

Portland's premier recording studio and event space, located in an elegant 100 year old library building. 4420 SE 64th Ave. Portland, OR 97206


A historic timeline of our building in the press.


Saturday, November 5, 2011 - Taken from an article by Dottie Mae for

The Arleta Library

The old Arleta Library at SE 64th and Holgate (now called the Wikman Building) is currently considered surplus property by Multnomah County. The following comments were sent regarding the future of the property. The photos are from the collection of the Multnomah County Library.

I am a resident of the South Tabor neighborhood writing in support of a plan that will return the Wikman Building – Arleta Carnegie Library to a use that will benefit Southeast Portland neighbors. The neighborhood grange proposal put forward by ROSE seems appropriate given the history of the building in this community.

Carnegie Grant

The Arleta Library, opened in 1919, was one of seven libraries in Multnomah County funded by a Carnegie grant. To receive a grant the community had to demonstrate a need, provide a site, commit an annual amount equal to 10% of the original construction cost for operation, and offer free service for all.

“Carnegie had two main reasons for donating money to the founding of libraries. First, he believed that libraries added to the meritocratic nature of America. Anyone with the right inclination and desire could educate himself. Second, Carnegie believed that immigrants like himself needed to acquire cultural knowledge of America, which the library allowed immigrants to do.” 

Deconstructing the Carnegie Libraries:
The Sociological Reasons Behind Carnegie's
Millions to Public Libraries by Michael Lorenzen, page 75 

A Carnegie library was often the most imposing structure in the community and this is certainly true for the Arleta Library.

Neighborhood Legacy 

The Wikman Building – Arleta Library is not only a jewel of a building with recognized historical significance, it represents a legacy handed down to us by forward thinking citizens who donated their hard earned nickels and dimes to provide free access to knowledge in this historically undervalued and underserved Southeast Portland community.

“The Carnegie library fund having set aside $15,000 for a modern library building, the residents of the Mount Scott district, embracing a large and populous district in the southeast part of the city, have started a campaign to raise the necessary $1800 with which to buy a lot . . . If each family of the district would pledge from 50 cents to $1 the site could be bought.” 

Oregonian – October 29, 1917

The land upon which the new library will be built was given to the library association by the residents of Arleta, who by subscription in their own community raised a fund of $1800 with which to purchase it.” 

Oregonian – February 10, 1918 

During the 53 years the building served as a library, thousands of adults and children passed through the doors seeking knowledge or respite. In addition to the usual library programs such as story time, in the 1930s a well baby clinic was offered on Mondays and Fridays. Libraries have long served as community centers. It is time we return this building to a public use that will provide a gathering place for programs that benefit the neighborhood.

Architectural Significance

The Arleta Library designed by noted Portland architect Folger Johnson, was modeled after a similar Carnegie grant library he designed in 1913 for St. Johns. Johnson is responsible for at least five Carnegie libraries in Oregon. He was a civic-minded individual who served on the arts commission and was twice president of the local AIA. From 1940 to 1950 he was the director of the Federal Housing Administration.

The Wikman Buidling – Arleta Library is one of only a few structures in this part of the city with architectural significance. Any future use must honor the historic character of the building and preserve it for future generations.

My Story

This was my childhood library and it served my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and friends from 1933 until it closed in 1971. I spent many happy hours there in the 1950s and 1960s. I remember the space as a warm and comforting retreat from the world even if some of the librarians were a bit too serious. The dark shelving, colorful book spines, and dark wooden library furniture balanced by light streaming through gracious windows created a welcoming atmosphere. When the building is opened again to the public, I can imagine tromp l’oeil bookshelves full of interesting titles or other public art painted on the walls to welcome a new generation of neighbors.

After 93 years the Wickman Building – Arleta Library has a soul. It is Multnomah County’s sacred duty to support a meaningful neighborhood use for this charming historic building.

Lea Wikman - photo provided to us by her son Carl during construction of The Hallowed Halls

In 1982, 10 years after it’s closure as the Arleta Library, the building was the current home of The Multnomah County Community Action Agency. On that year it was remained as the Wikman Building. Lea Wikman, it’s namesake, was a Finish immigrant who moved to Oregon in 1953 and became a well-known advocate for children and poor people. It was the first government building in the state of Oregon to be named after a woman.

In December of 2014 Hallowed Halls owners Greg Allen and Febian Perez contacted recording engineer/studio designer Justin Phelps with the idea of opening a recording studio. Justin came across the vacant Wikman building as a possible studio site in an artistically-inclined neighborhood. Based on the general vibe of the place and with hopes of a bright future, they named it The Hallowed Halls.


Mix Regional News, Pacific Northwest: The Hallowed Halls Opens in Portland

9/08/2015 7:30 PM Eastern

Author: Lori Kennedy

Hallowed Halls Studio Chief Engineer Justin Phelps. Photo: Ryne Freed

The Hallowed Halls Studio—tucked inside the historic Wikman Building in Southeast Portland—opened its doors on July 11. Erected in 1919, the building was the former Arleta Library, and then much later home to Multnomah County’s Department of Community Justice, which moved out in June 2011. The building was sold by the state to private owners in 2014, and, after extensive renovation, is now home to the Hallowed Halls Studio and Saint Frank’s Music—the studio’s boutique guitar and amp shop.

The building was also built as one of the Carnegie libraries. “It is literally a Carnegie Hall, complete with Victorian architecture, 18-foot ceilings and crown molding throughout,” says Hallowed Halls Chief Engineer Justin Phelps. The building is located the middle of Southeast Portland, a neighborhood that is home to a significant portion of the city’s music community. In the 1960s, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie did free concerts there, and over the years, the main hall was used for a lot of community parties and dances. The building was renamed the Wikman Building in the 1930s and was the first civic structure in the state of Oregon to be named after a woman, Lea Wikman.

The construction plans necessary to convert the historic library building into a multiroom facility were designed by Phelps, with the help of Abasi architectural design and former head technician at The Plant Studios, Perry Lancaster. “Great care was taken not to irreversibly alter to shell of the building, but the interior alterations were extensive,” says Phelps.

Studio A’s control room and two iso booths were constructed using triple-studded 2x6 framing and acoustic-grade rock-wool insulation. The control room, tracking room and iso booth in Studio B follow the same design. All electrical fixtures on the massive, 18-foot walls are surface-mounted, as are the low-voltage wire runs. The control room of Studio A and recording spaces in Studio B feature floated floors and independent air-conditioning systems for further isolation.

The main heating system in the building was updated from the basement on up to be silent but highly functional during recording sessions, using decoupling springs, acoustically absorbent ducting and custom diversion shells in the main tracking room. Most rooms were designed to take advantage of the flow of natural light, and the building’s 10-foot antique windows were isolated using airtight interior window caps. Power conditioning for the building is handled by Controlled Power series 700A processor, which was purchased from Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead at a generous discount. It runs through all of the studio spaces and Saint Frank’s Music.

Wiring for Studio A and B was primarily handled by Fred Johnson of FM Tech and house engineer Mike Blackburn, using Belden 9451, Mogami 8 pair cabling and Redco patchbays. “In addition to the web of tielines that spread to every possible recording space in the building—including the ominous death metal vocal/echo chamber in the basement and the glass cupola/vocal booth perched on top of the building—every room was also outfitted with Cat-6 connections for high-resolution data runs,” Phelps says.

The centerpiece of Studio A is a new Neve Genesys 48 console; the studio also features an Avid HDX system, Genelec 8260A monitors, an Otari MTR 90 Mk2, and an extensive collection of outboard gear including Universal Audio, Empirical Labs and Lexicon models. Studio B is primarily used as a mix/production room for Phelps but is also available for daily rental to outside engineers. It features a newly recapped Yamaha PM2000, Neve 8816, Avid Pro Tools HDX, a custom 16-channel ADM sidecar, JBL LSR32 monitors, and a lot of outboard gear by Daking, Universal Audio, Eventide, Telefunken and ADL, among others.

Hallowed Halls also has a large mic collection, including new and vintage mics by Telefunken, Neumann, AKG, Shure, Royer, ADK, Ear Trumpet Labs and Sennheiser. Headphones are handled by an 8-channel hear back system that runs through both Studio A and B, on the chance that they might ever need to be combined into one mega hall. The studios include a large collection of house instruments, including a Hammond B3, a baby grand piano, new and vintage guitar and bass amplifiers, and effects pedals, as well as all of the things that Saint Frank’s Music has to offer.

Ongoing and upcoming projects at Hallowed Halls include Phelps mixing new albums in Studio B for Fruition and Jelly Bread; Phelps tracking albums in Studio A for Lynx, Left Coast Country and Foxy Lemon; Big Al Carter and Warpfire doing album projects in Studio A and B with house engineer Mike Blackburn; producer/engineer Billy Anderson will be working in Studio A and B with Eight Bells; and Bike Thief will be tracking a new album this fall with a rotating cast of local engineers in Studio A.

The studio will also be taking advantage of its 1,600-square-foot main tracking room and recently expanded occupancy limit by hosting the Live From The Hallowed Halls concert series beginning in late September, as well as conducting seminars on Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Logic Audio and basic studio recording techniques. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - News Release from Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept.

Arleta Branch Library listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Posted on FlashAlert: March 30th, 2016 12:18 PM

Recording studio hidden inside former Arleta Library

Wonder what happened to this historic library building, put up for sale by Multnomah County? Take a look inside the ‘Hallowed Halls’ and find out …

July 2016 - Story and photos by David F. Ashton - The Bee Newspaper

The new entrance to what was called the Wikman Building, and formerly was the Arleta Branch Library, has now been moved around to SE Holgate Boulevard.

Earlier this year, people in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood – in fact, many people throughout the region, were delighted to learn that the Wikman Building – built in 1918 as the Arleta Branch Library – would be preserved, having achieved a listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Indeed, today, the exterior of the brick Colonial Revival-style library remains unchanged.

But inside, the hushed reading rooms have been taken over by a recording studio that’s named “Hallowed Halls”.

Most recording studios look like dark caves; the “Hallowed Halls” Studio A is bright and airy.

“After the new owners bought it, I came across this space with two other persons who were interested in building a recording studio in this part of town,” said well known Portland recording engineer Justin Phelps of Justin Phelps Recording, who manages the facility.

“They hired me to design the space,” Phelps told East Portland News.

“We started by ripping out all the cheesy 1980s office architecture and mezzanine that were added over the years, and restored the original atrium that was on the blueprint,” Phelps said.

“But, to preserve the interior walls in keeping with the National Registry, we didn’t take off even a single piece of molding,” he said.

Leaving the historic windows and molding intact, these soundproofing boxes silence outside noise while preserving the historic nature of the building.

They liked the idea of light streaming in through the arch-top, wood-cased windows, but needed a way to soundproof the room.

“We built isolation boxes around the windows, so we could reduce the outside sound level in the room, without disturbing the original windows and frames,” Phelps pointed out. “We didn’t know if it would work; but as it turns out, it’s very effective. In rush-hour traffic, with cars, trucks, and buses whizzing by, you can’t hear a thing inside.”

There are a couple other commercial recording studios on this professional level in Portland, Phelps said, but there aren’t any of this size. “One has a ‘big room’ that’s comparable in square feet, but doesn’t have the high ceilings – and the windows.”

In Control Room A, Justin Phelps stands next to his Neve Genesys G48 recording console.

The best part about the space, for him, is being able to make more music albums, Phelps commented. “I wanted to have something that was as good as, or better than, some the best studios on the West Coast, or better, here in Portland.  I think we’ve achieved that.

“This is a fantastic room that sounds great,” Phelps went on. “We’ve recorded a lot of acoustic instrument sessions in here, and everyone agrees it just sounds beautiful.”

In the music store called “St. Frank’s Music”, manager Deanna Phelps shows some the guitars for sale.

But more than just having a professional recording studio, Phelps says that – with the help of his wife Deanna, who runs the “St. Frank’s Music” store, also located in the building – they hope to make it a community music center.

At the one location, you can buy instruments – primarily guitars – and take music lessons. Then, in the same building, budding musicians can record their songs, and even get help mastering and distributing their music.

“It won’t be long until people will see this building as a truly creative hub for our city,” Phelps said.

He and Deanna say they enjoy giving tours, showing how the building has been preserved and reused. It’s located on S.E. 64th Avenue and Holgate Boulevard.

THE HALLOWED HALLS, PORTLAND, ORE. - From Mix Regional Sessions: Pacific Northwest 2016
9/06/2016 - Author: Lori Kennedy

Studio manager/chief engineer Justin Phelps has completed new projects with The Shook Twins (co-produced with Gregory Alan Isakov), Poison Idea, Fruition, Lynx and her new band The Servants of Song, The Roseland Hunters featuring Nick Daniels, and World’s Finest, among many others…Producer/engineer Billy Anderson has also been in regular residence recording projects with SUMA, Witch Mountain, Eight Bells, Year of The Cobra, and Red River…Phelps has also launched Volume Bomb Records out of the studio and is utilizing the studio’s in-house guitar store, Saint Frank’s Music, as a brick-and-mortar for new releases…Label projects created at the studio include The Latter Day Skanks, 42 Ford Prefect, World War Four, Perfect Monster, The Thornes, and The Misfortunes of Mr. Teal…Producer Ron Nevison (The Who, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne) booked a monthlong session this spring, working with Portland rock band Paradise… Capitol Records artist Brad Mackeson recorded his new album in Studio A with engineer Ryan Lewis…Other sessions have included Worth (produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and engineered by Phelps), The Verner Pantons featuring Peter Buck of R.E.M. (engineered by David Streit), Love Bomb Orchestra (also engineered by Streit), and Sessions in The Box featuring Le Butcherettes (engineered by Mike Blackburn).

And here we are todaY...


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