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History

Black and white photo of the front of the Jones Observatory building, telescope dome open.

This is a picture of the Jones Observatory taken on completion of the building in 1936 by Bruce Jones from a tree in the front yard. The Observatory was built for the Chattanooga school system as a PWA Grant. The Observatory was leased for one dollar for 99 years to the University of Chattanooga during the second World War by the City of Chattanooga. Mayor Bass at the time said it was too sophisticated for public school children of Chattanooga. (How little he knew.)

Several people viewing pictures of celestial objects in the observatory's rotunda.

This is the rotunda as you are entering the main entrance. You can see the column to the telescope on your left. Clarence Jones is here talking to two visitors, showing the glass transparencies. These transparencies show astronomical pictures from Yerkes Observatory (University of Chicago) and are still here today.

Clarence Jones with his son Arthur Jones working on the telescope.

Here you see Clarence Jones (on the left) and Arthur Jones, his son and University of Tennessee student at the time, truing up the mirror blank (in order to make it perfectly round and flat). This blank was one of five test pourings for the 200 inch mirror at the Palomar Observatory.

A large grinding and polishing machine encompassing an entire table.

This is the grinding and polishing machine built by the Jones for finishing the mirrors on the 20.5 inch Cassegrainian telescope. The machine was located in the basement workshop of the observatory. The telescope saw first light in 1938.

Arthur Jones repairing the polishing lap

Here you see Arthur Jones repairing the polishing lap on the plaster of paris foundation.

24 inch telescope at Franklin Institute

Photo above is of the 24 inch telescope of the Franklin Institute in 1935 as set up in the J.W. Fecker shop. The telescope was later mounted in a roll off roof observatory. This is the Telescope that Mr. Jones was interested in for the Chattanooga observatory.

The price of this telescope was about $20,000, a lot of money in 1936. The only thing to do was make one himself.

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