Tiffany | Cultural Center | Chicago

by Jim and Melanie

After viewing the Tiffany ceiling at Macy’s in Chicago, we walked toward Michigan Avenue with plans to visit the Art Institute. At the corner of Washington and Michigan Ave, we noticed the Cultural Center building. We had never been there before. It was something new to explore.

We were greeted by a friendly older gentleman who asked if he could help us. We told him he could and that we had never been in the building before. What interesting things were there to see? He opened a brochure and started describing the highlights. First on his list were the extensive decorations by Tiffany and Company. They have the largest stained glass dome in the world done by Tiffany at 38 ft in diameter. It was completed in 1897 when the building opened as the public library.



The center of the dome is decorated with the signs of the zodiac.


At the opposite end of the building is another dome in the ceiling of the rotunda of the Grand Army of the Republic. This 40 ft diameter dome is in shades of tan, beige, and ochre. Originally illuminated by sunlight, it is now lighted electrically. The stained glass was made by Healy & Millet of Chicago. The cast-iron ribbing by the Winslow Brothers of Chicago.


Beyond the rotunda is the G.A.R. Memorial Hall measuring 53 ft by 96 ft by 33 ft high. It is used today for ceremonies, artistic displays, and weddings. It is a memorial to the soldiers of the Civil War. Vermont (Verdé) marble walls list 30 Civil War battles including Shilo, Antietam, Gettysburg, Cedar Creek, Ft. Sumter.



8 thoughts on “Tiffany | Cultural Center | Chicago

  1. BJ Good

    This was new to me also. Such beautiful workmanship. Interesting to know the Tiffany dome was installed in a building for use as a public library in 1897. A good reminder that it isn’t always necessary to head to Europe to view artistic endeavor inside old buildings. Thanks for being great tour guides!

    1. Jim in IA Post author

      Each time we go to the city, we try to discover some more of these treasures. This one was purely by accident. If we had exited the Macy’s store via a different set of doors, we might have missed this building.

      Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words.

  2. Steve Gingold

    Again, the workmanship evidenced here just boggles the mind. The idea of the expense, even that long ago, boggles as well. Of course, that was in the days of the Gilded Age. The titans of industry took great pride in investing in the culture of the day.

    1. Jim in IA Post author

      Worth your time for sure. So is the tour of the Chicago Temple of the Methodist Church. We took the tour up to the 33rd? floor chapel in the steeple. Very cool.

  3. shoreacres

    Beautiful, and interesting. All these domes remind me of the Methodist church I grew up in. I can’t find a date for it right now, but it’s clearly of a piece. Maybe someone from Newton made it to Chicago!

    When I was in Kansas, it was interesting to see GAR and CSA grave markers intermixed. I’m sure that’s true everywhere, but in that state, particularly, the divisions remain visible in the most poignant way.

    1. Jim in IA Post author

      I read that the GAR at one time had 490,000 members. It was quite widespread. Did you know US hwy 6 is known as the GAR Memorial Highway. It goes through our town.


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