The Centennial Board of Finance assigned to the Centennial Photographic Company, prior to the opening of the exhibition, the exclusive privilege of selling and making photographs and photographic articles for production and use in the international exhibition.
In order to take and produce photographs, the association erected a studio or room on the east side of Belmont Avenue.
The building attracts attention because it is windowless, showing walls and decorations that, through the softening of art, subtract from the appearance of what would otherwise be an unremarkable structure. A piazza, porch and balustrade outside are prominent features, and the front is raised and beautifully finished.
The building measures 86 feet 6 inches front by 125 feet deep and is only one story high. It is built on the sides of a hollow square, the courtyard being decorated as a garden with flowers and shrubs.
The interior of the building is lit by skylights designed for photographic convenience.
The front of the studio is accessed by a wide staircase communicating with the reception room and two galleries for the display of photographs. There are three operating rooms for taking photographs, rooms for developing them, waiting rooms and public and private offices.
The whole structure is perfectly arranged for the purpose, and its use has given great satisfaction.
Architect, H. J. Schwarzmann; builder, John Duncan.
©Centennial portfolio: a souvenir of the international exhibition at Philadelphia - 1876