"Great Jones Street" came into being when Thomas Decatur Jones built his 4 story brick tobacco warehouse on Watkins - later Morgan- Street, and a street was cut through between Main Street and Watkins/Morgan St. I have no idea how he managed to get "Great" put in front of Jones, but power to him.
Jones came to Durham in 1881 and established the original Jones Leaf Dealership soon afterward. It originally stood on Main St. - I have a few reasons to suspect that it stood at Five Points, on the south side of the street, but the 1884 city directory lists the location as simply "Main Street".
Original Jones Leaf Brokerage - likely south side of West Main St. at Five Points, but true location unknown. - early 1880s
Jones built his 4 story brick factory building ~1 1/2 blocks away in 1885. He lived at the corner of Willard and West Chapel Hill Streets. He was also a director of the First National Bank and a city alderman. He soon became quite ill, however, and - only 8 years after coming to Durham, he died on October 30, 1889, at age 37.
The building was leased by Liggett and Myers by 1913 as a tobacco warehouse and appears to have been used by them for this purpose throughout the early 20th century.
Seen from the Trust building, looking west-northwest. Morris Street and City Hall (now the Arts Council) are in the foreground with Morgan Street running east-west in the right portion of the frame.
(Courtesy Duke Archives)
By the 1940s, it appears to have been used as a building for the Durham Furniture Co.
Looking east from between the Liggett warehouses on Morgan, the warehouse (now a furniture building) can be seen beyond the tracks -probably in the 1930s or 40s. Some other neat details (other than shift change) - the tower for the railroad crossing gate operator and the other photographer.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)
During the 1950s, it appears to have housed the Colonial Linoleum and Tile Company. A 1951 article stated that "Tho's D Jones. Fancy Leaf Tobacco" was still clearly visible, painted on the building.
Looking south from near Imperial Tobacco across Morgan Street, 08.05.53
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun)
It appears to change during the late 1950s to a shorter building, albeit with the same footprint. I don't know if this building was a replacement or a very heavily remodeled, decapitated version (they did do this sort of thing.) It was a flooring retailer during the 1960s.
1964: Looking south-southeast from the north side of Morgan St. Great Jones St. is on the right side of the frame, and the back of the Norfolk Southern Depot (former Globe Warehouse) is visible in the background.
This building, along with this entire block, was cleared by urban renewal and later became a part of the Loop.
From the north side of the 'intersection' of Morgan St. and Great Jones, looking south.