The staircase really is a beautiful work of art, but the legend around it far exceeds what probably really happened. If you read the articles carefully, Phillip is credited with building the railing, not the spiral staircase itself. (And for heavens sake, WHO would build a winding staircase without a railing? Evidently, St Joseph himself, the joker.) Still, it's neat to be associated with something so lovely and famous, even tangentially. This morning, my sister invited me to join the HESCH CLUB on facebook....and there, one of Phillip's descendants explains that he added the railing "without pay"--in exchange for tuition to the Academy for his daughters.
THAT sounds more like it!