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From the Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa 16 July 1867


Among the numerous improvements had in our city within the past six months, none are more worthy of notice and commendation than that presented in the erection and completion of the fine block extending from the Davenport National Bank to Commercial Alley and along Third street. That part of Brady street looks wholly unlike its former self. The old, tumble-down, wooden structures, with their crazy awnings, have give place to a three-story brick block of spacious stores and inviting and cozy offices, and the bank is thus closely nestled around by the best of neighbors. Most noteworthy of these neighbors is the nearest; and it is of this that we now propose to speak, and mainly of its upper stories.

The arrangement of the lower story, in its large and attractive dry goods store, with fronts on Brady and Third streets, is worthy of all praise. But whoever would see the crowning excellence of this part of the block must go up higher, as we did yesterday, and be surprised and pleased as we were. Ascending to the third story from either of the entrances which flank the Davenport National Bank, a broad hall, every part of which is made brilliant by a large skylight, is reached, and from this access is had to the various departments of Jones' New Photographic Rooms -- the improvement of which we now propose to write. From this hall, looking directly down the stairway, Brady street and each passer-by is distinctly visible; as also is the hall and gallery from the Brady street entrance. In the other direction an easy flight of stairs leads to the second floor, and thence to Third street. Both these entrances are wide, easily accessible, and in every way pleasant. The hall mentioned is on the south side of the third story, and is twenty-five feet long by eight wide.

The suite of rooms reached from the hall are first, the Reception Room, or Exhibition Room, 21 by 38 feet. This has been prepared and furnished with much care and taste. The walls are beautifully tinted. The floor is covered with rich Brussels carpet. Tasteful and appropriate furniture is ranged around the room. The walls are hung with numerous and very attractive specimens of photographic art; many of them of life size, and all of them a very superior character. These embrace a wide variety -- from plain carte de visites to those worked in Indian ink and oil colors.

Adjoining the reception room is the Toilet room, 12 feet square, neatly furnished, with the requisite articles. We pass into the hall again, and at the east end find Mr. Jones' office, where he transacts all business. This room, like all the others, is neatly arranged, and well adapted for the purpose designed. Here again are specimens of Mr. Jones' handiwork. This room is 18 by 20 feet. On the north side of this room are two folding doors that open directly into his Glass Rooom, or Operating Room, and this, by the way, is a perfect model of its kind; so conveniently and perfectly is it arranged. His large side and sky light are facing north, and are glazed with the best white glass, and placed at such an angle as will be most favorable for sitters. The ceilings are sloped, thus saving all of the light, and the walls and wood work are painted blue, as Mr. Jones says, "to soften the light and produce the greatest amount of actinism, and avoid unnatural and heavy shadows." This room is very large (21 by 39 feet) and is fitted with instruments, accessories &c., for the making of all kinds of work. Close at hand (as it should be) is the Dark Room, as it is technically termed. This is the room for the chemical operations, and has water-tanks, sinks, &c., seem to be plenty here, also, and we must not forget to mention here that he has one of the best of cisterns constructed with a brick filter with a force pump in the cellar, and rods and handle in the gallery, so that water can be had at any time; a convenience much to be prized in a photograph gallery. This and the preceding room are both lighted with yellow glass it being non-actinic. Each of these rooms is about ten feet square. Another room is used for a Stock and Negative Room. Here each negative is carefully preserved and numbered, easy to be found when duplicate pictures are ordered. In an out-of the-way place, and still convenient to all parts of the building, is the Coal room; a necessary appendage at some times of the year. Still another room is used for framing pictures, cleaning glass, &c., &c. These two last rooms are each 9 by 13 feet. A stairway leads from the office to the fourth story, where is found the Printing Room, Solar Camera Room, Dark Room, &c. The Printing Room has a good south light. The Solar Camera room is arranged with sliding doors and a projecting floor, for the purpose of bringing the camera into the direct sunlight. It is with this instrument that the life size photographs are printed. These rooms are adjoining a dark room in which the paper is sensitized. Just north of the Printing room is a finely built one for a painter's studio, fitted with a skylight, and planned by Prof. Prior, late of Boston, with whom Mr. Jones has an engagement.

The rooms thus noticed occupy a frontage of twenty-one feet on Brady street by ninety-eight feet, thence running, at right angle, fifty feet to Third street, on which there is a frontage of forty-five feet.

These rooms comprise, we hesitate not to assert, the largest, most complete, and best furnished photographic establishment in the West, outside of Chicago and St. Louis. Indeed we doubt if either of the cities named have photographic rooms excelling those of our leading Davenport artist. Certainly no better rooms can be needed in any city.

The enterprise, taste and liberality displayed by Mr. Jones in preparing this really superb establishment has been encouraged and made necessary by the continuous increase of his business. About three years ago he commenced business in our city at the old "Taylor and Morse" gallery in the Davenport Block, and by steady attention to business and rare skill, has built up a reputation second to that of no photographer in the State, so that his pictures are eagerly sought for as presenting the best possible "shadow of a substance to be loved and cherished." Such increase of business demanded an increase and improvement of facilities. Hence, when our fellow citizen, Mr. G. L. Davenport, was erecting his building next to the bank, he engaged with Mr. Jones to supply him the needed rooms, and in doing so followed Mr. Jones's own plan of construction throughout. The result has been stated. For the rest we counsel our readers to call and see for themselves when Mr Jones, as we trust he will soon, throws open his rooms to the public and invites the inspection deserved.

We must add that joined to Mr. Jones' skill as a photographer, is that of Prof. Prior as an artist. Prof. P. finishes pictures in India ink or colors, as desired. Of his proficiency and skill we need scarcely speak, as many of our citizens have tested his merit for themselves, and the specimens exhibited attest the superiority of his work. Yet we must state that his pictures are much the finest we have seen, east or west. Whoever wants to see "life on canvass" -- or paper, rather -- must view his pictures.

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