The Chicago Cultural Center has many attributes including a great history and the current status as a cultural center that offers free events throughout the year. One of its most jaw-dropping characteristics, however, is the Tiffany glass that decorates the southern entry, stairway, and 38-foot-diameter dome. Chicago is no stranger to Tiffany glass. The nearby Macy’s (formerly Marshall-Fields) boasts an amazing vaulted ceiling of Tiffany glass. The dome at the Cultural Center is, however, the largest Tiffany dome in the world and consists of around 30,000 pieces of glass.
So what brought this amazingly-decorated building the Chicago? Following the Great Fire of 1871, a group of generous English donors donated some 8,000 books to the rebuilding city, not realizing that Chicago didn’t have a library. Of course, the city quickly built one and did not hold back in grandeur. The Cultural Center was built in 1897 as Chicago’s first central public library and quickly picked up the name, “the People’s Palace,” due to its palatial design and decorated halls.
Today you can visit the Chicago Cultural Center for free any day of the week. Its location across the street from Millennium Park and a few blocks from the Art Institute make it a great stop for tourists, and it’s rotating events and exhibits (including the current Chicago Architecture Biennial) make it popular with locals.
Sources and Further Reading:
The Chicago Architecture Foundation on the Chicago Cultural Center.
If you visit the Chicago Cultural Center before January 9, 2018, make sure to check out the Chicago Architecture Biennial, currently showing.