The Great Dome of the Chicago Cultural Center
Originally the Chicago Public Library, today a Great Place to Meet and Greet
A Colorful Social Reception in the Preston Bradley Hall
The Tiffany Dome
The Art and Architecture of Celebration
The Historic G.A.R. Hall
Chicago Cultural Center
Style: Social Gatherings
“I am for restoring and keeping all the beautiful buildings”. - First Lady of Chicago, Eleanor Daley, 1972
The Boston-based architectural firm of Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge, who had also designed the Art Institute of Chicago, were retained to design the library. It was to be a carefully proportioned and finely-detailed Neoclassic building with all the aesthetic “bells and whistles.” It was to reflect the spirit of Chicago. Construction of this monument to the City was completed in 1897.
By the 20th century, the Chicago Library’s collection again outgrew its space. The library building was almost demolished in the early 1970s, and in 1972 Mayor Richard Daley’s wife Eleanor made a public plea, “I am for restoring and keeping all the beautiful buildings.” And that was that. That same year the building was placed in the National Register of Historic Places. The City hired acclaimed Chicago architects Holabird and Root to perform the historically sensitive renovations, and In 1976 the building was designated a Chicago Landmark. A separate, new library building was constructed in 1991, and the former Chicago Library was renamed the Chicago Cultural Center.
The Chicago Cultural Center offers a variety of classic historical venues for weddings and social events, corporate launches, and performances. These spaces are located in both the former Chicago Library and the Republic Memorial Hall.
Dramatic spaces of the library section include its grand lobby and the Preston Bradley Hall. The lobby features Italian and Irish marble and bronze. From there a grand staircase draws your attention through a series of arches to the beautiful Preston Bradley Hall. The Preston Bradley Hall is grand space and ideal for weddings and important life events, performances, and exhibitions. Interior walls and arches throughout these spaces are covered with intricate mosaics of marble, stained glass and gold leaf. The most dramatic feature is its 38- foot Tiffany stained-glass domed skylight, the world’s largest dome to contain Tiffany glass. The dome is now lighted to better accommodate evening events.
Features of the Republic Memorial Hall include the Grand Army of the Republic Rotunda, decorated with military-inspired heraldry of carved plaster. The cast iron and stained-glass dome in this location was produced by local firm of Healy & Millet. This dome is also now electrified. Beyond the Rotunda is the G.A.R. Memorial Hall whose decorations honor the Civil War veterans..
Images courtesy of Chicago Cultural Center
Awards and certifications
Below are the awards and accolades gained by Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center
78 East Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602