Longtime Huntingburg photography studio to close


HUNTINGBURG — A longtime photography studio in Huntingburg will soon close its doors.

Chase Studio, 407 N. Geiger St., will close this month. Current owner, Julia Songer Jalles, is retiring after 22 years of owning the studio.

“I was hoping someone would take is over,” she said, “but it didn’t work out.”

Jalles has sold the building to a couple who has ideas for it, but has not decided what business venture they will pursue.

Chase Studio started on Fourth Street on March 15, 1934, by Irvin Chase, a Minneapolis native who had been a photographer since 1932, according to a story in the April 16, 1964, edition of The Herald. Ten years later, in 1944, Chase moved the business to the Geiger Street location.

The Geiger Street building was constructed in 1883 by Chris Kornrumpf, who owned a jewelry store at the southwest corner of Fifth and Main streets. He constructed it as a home and operated a music store on the main floor, according to a story that ran in the Huntingburg Independent paper Dec. 3, 1970.

Irving Chase operated the studio on the first floor of the building and lived on the upper floor with his blended family: wife, the former Viola Boeglin, children Donna and Evangeline Chase, and stepchildren Carol, William and Marvin Boeglin.

Chase was a well-known photographer. The Herald story stated that he was honored for “ten years of service to the schools of the area.” It was in that time period that “a half million pictures of children photographed by Mr. Chase have been distributed in the surrounding area through public and private schools.”

The family all helped at the studio, and many of the children ultimately became interested in photography, Marvin Boeglin recalled. After sering in the Air Force, he used a GI Bill to attend photography school and then came back home to work with his stepdad and sister at the studio. He and sister Carol took over the studio in 1956.

While Marvin was the main photographer, Carol and Marvin’s wife, Jeanette worked as oil coloring specialists. “We processed our own film,” he said. “And they oil painted the photos to bring them to color.”

Running the studio consumed most of their time. “We were working all the time,” Jeanette recalled. “We put out a high quality product, and people knew that about Chase Studio.”

Marvin is proud of the company his stepfather established. “It was a wonderful business,” he said. “We met a lot of nice people, many of whom are still our friends.”

And they produced thousands of photos. “Weddings, senior photos, confirmations, accident pictures, we did all kinds,” Jeanette said.

Current owner Jalles grew up down the street from the studio and has fond memories of the place.

“We had our photos taken here, my brothers, sisters and me,” she said. “They always did my confirmation picture. I used to trick or treat here.”

Jalles left Huntingburg to pursue photography in California, but eventually moved back and bought the studio from the Boeglins in 1997. She didn’t change the studio very much, though she did take out the dark room and put in a presentation room. “That was the way things were going,” she said. “I did some printing at first. But then a room with a big screen TV made more sense.”

Now that Jalles is retiring and the studio is closing, she is currently giving people an opportunity to get digital files and negatives of photos they had done at the studio. Digital files are being put online on the studio’s Facebook page. She is also selling fixtures from the studio. Once Jalles turns over the building, the negatives and digital copies will be destroyed.

If anyone is interested in any of those, contact Jalles through the studio’s phone number, 812-683-3311.

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