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Chicago Cultural Center

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78 E. Washington St.




Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, 1897


The much-beloved Chicago Cultural Center was designed in the classical Beaux Arts style made popular by the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. It opened in 1897 as the city’s first public library, and in 1977 converted into a municipal center for arts and culture. Within this stately building are spectacularly ornate marble staircases, elaborate mosaics, grand halls and a pair of iconic stained glass domes: the Grand Army of the Republic Rotunda with its dome measuring 40 feet in diameter and the world’s largest Tiffany glass dome ceiling in Preston Bradley Hall, once the library reading room. Today, the Chicago Cultural Center presents hundreds of free annual events and exhibits showcasing the work of artists, musicians, architects and performers from around the world—earning the moniker "People’s Palace."

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