- Chattanooga, TN
- Site Type:
- Civic Facilities, Education and Health
- New Deal Agencies:
- Public Works Funding, Public Works Administration (PWA)
- Clarence T. Jones
- Quality of Information:
- Very Good
- Site Survival:
The Clarence T. Jones Observatory was designed by its namesake, who was both and architect and amateur astronomer. Jones presented city officials with plans for an observatory and a telescope, which would be constructed almost exclusively through volunteer labor. Built on donated land, construction was mostly funded by $17,000, divided about equally between a United States Public Works Administration (PWA) grant and the City of Chattanooga. The building was completed in 1936 while the telescope was still being assembled. The observatory was officially dedicated in 1938. The 20.5-inch telescope was the largest amateur-built telescope in the world when it was completed. Although a rule had existed that PWA projects could not be named after living people, the observatory was officially named for Jones in 1947.
The Observatory was leased for one dollar for 99 years to the University of Chattanooga (now the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) during World War II by the City of Chattanooga because the mayor at the time said it was too sophisticated for school children to use.
Clarence T. Jones Loved Designing, Stargazing
After 75 years, Jones Observatory still brings Chattanooga to the heavens
Site originally submitted by Larry Moore on June 21, 2018.
Contribute to this Site
We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal site.Submit More Information or Photographs for this New Deal Site