A Golden Age

Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center 78 E. Washington, Chicago IL


Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.  -Francis Bacon

Walking around my beloved Chicago, I do find my eyes more often passing over the new to admire the old, particularly the architecture that came out of the era just after the great fire in 1871. The Chicago Cultural Center was opened in 1897. Originally the city’s central library, it was converted in the late 70’s to an arts and culture center. I love this building. I walk around it every time like it is the first time. And the real beauty for me of this corner of Michigan and Washington is the old buildings flanked by the new. But for now, let’s look back.


I would be remiss if I did not show detail of the top of the building, both for it’s marvelous carvings and its great reflections of the other side of the street. Click for full size photos. Most of the doorways in these photos are covered by folks on the street and cars and buses passing on a very hot, sunny, fun Sunday downtown. Since I am sharing this with Norm’s Thursday Doors, let’s get a good shot of the entrance.

Old Library.jpg

Isn’t that something? Wow. Brass, verdigris, the wonderful pink and green marble tiles, the windows to give you a peek at more of the same inside. But before we go inside, check out this guy who thought this was an interactive exhibit:


In 1999, Chicago was inundated with these cows, and one still remains here in front of the cultural center. The Cows on Parade exhibit was spectacular and weird, and a lot of fun. I got a photo of the kids somewhere with one at the planetarium.
Let’s move on.

Inside, I never know where to look, and I don’t like to be rushed. The place is just beautiful. As if the mosaic tiles and brass balusters weren’t enough, looking upward you see how the mosaics feature several authors.

W Longfellow.jpg

W Homer.jpg

I love that the public is welcome, and with no charge. There are often  concerts up here in this great hall, including that day so I still do not have a photo of that marvelous dome, but I will sometime.



As a parting thought, I always feel like royalty walking on the mosaic tiled floor, which is a piece of art of itself. Someday maybe they will make us take our shoes off to come in to preserve it.
I hope to continue our walk down Washington soon. Until then–

Mosaic tile floor.jpg




13 thoughts on “A Golden Age

  1. Wow on that building! Great choice! I really do love that you got the underside of the arc in the entrance. It’s glorious. And oh, yes, that tile. What a wonderful place to share. :)
    Chicago has it’s Cows on Parade, and here in Indy, we were inundated with bison last year, for our, erm, bicen/bison-tennial. lol


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