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.