Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center, also known as “The People’s Palace,” is one of the city’s most popular attractions. This building boasts an ornate interior of mosaic and Favrile – a type of glass designed and produced by Louis Comfort Tiffany (son of Tiffany and Company founder Charles Lewis Tiffany).

What does Favrile look like, you ask? Well, have you ever seen the downtown Chicago Macy’s –formerly Marshall Field’s– ceiling? It’s a great example; let’s check it out:

 

 

Fun fact: The Marshall Field’s water fountain just beyond the Tiffany dome was once part of an outdoor courtyard before its bordering walls were connected by a ceiling. But I’m too easily distracted. Where were we? Oh yeah….

In the great fire of 1871, Chicago lost its public reading room. Shortly after, British donors sent thousands of books – many of which were first edition and/or autographed by prominent donors. These books, which would become the basis of the largest U.S. library collection two decades later, had nowhere to live after the fire ravaged the city. So, Chicago stored them in a large water tank until the library building was built. And the building was constructed to equal the beauty of its expensive book collection. Another fun fact: England sent English books so the language in the newly established Chicago area wouldn’t be overtaken by French, the language to the north.

The Chicago Cultural Center (once the The Chicago Public Library Cultural Center, and originally just the Chicago Public Library), houses interiors modeled in the Italian Renaissance style, complete with Roman arches and Carrara marble. (Yet another example of inescapable Italian influence!) And in this interior opulence, we find more of Tiffany’s Favrile, just like we saw at Marshall Field’s.

We’re in my favorite part of the building. There are often weddings and public events here, but today we have some peace and quiet. I could look up all afternoon.

 

 

Right across the building is Millennium Park. Just exit through the entrance, turn left, et voila! In case you’re debating whether or not you should meander over to the park, I should probably tell you it’s home to Cloud Gate – that iconic giant “bean” that everybody photographs when visiting Chicago.

 

 

For more history on the cultural center, visit The City of Chicago’s official site.

Whether or not you’re in a windy city right now, have a colorful, glittering, Favrile kind of day!
Caroline