Chicago Cultural Center

Arts and Culture

The Chicago Cultural Center is an interesting place to visit because it brings together architecture, social and industrial history. The Chicago Cultural Center was originally the first central public library when it was completed in 1897. It is an impressive limestone-faced building with complicated details, marble staircases, patterned ceilings, beautiful floor mosaics and two impressive stained glass domes, it was "designed to dazzle”. It was completed at a cost of nearly $2 million dollars, this place was inspired by the style of the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893.In 1991 the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs established the building as the Chicago Cultural Center. It is the nation's first free cultural location. It has more than 700 events and thousands of visitors every year. The working class show their struggles and advances in their strikes at the Cultural Center, since the Cultural Center has many photographs and paintings of the working class and their struggles together as a team. They work together; that is what we have to do to survive. This center is the history of it all. The picture below shows all the different culture’s gathering of a history of the beating of Rodney King.

Labor Trail




78 E Washington St

Labor Trail

The Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies (CCWCS) is proud to present the Interactive Labor Trail, made possible by a generous grant from the Illinois Humanities Council. This on-line history resource builds on “The Labor Trail: Chicago's History of Working-Class Life and Struggle,” a map of 140 significant locations in the history of labor, migration, and working-class culture in Chicago and Illinois. The Labor Trail is the product of a joint effort to showcase the many generations of dramatic struggles and working-class life in the Chicago area's rich and turbulent past. The Trail's neighborhood tours invite you to get acquainted with the events, places, and people -- often unsung -- who have made the city what it is today. In addition, the statewide map is just a starting point for further exploration of Illinois' labor heritage. This Interactive Labor Trail expands the number of locations and provides a greater depth of information, while giving map users the chance to add their knowledge of locations and events in the Chicago area’s working-class history.

We invite all individuals, groups, and institutions interested in the labor and working-class history of Chicago, Cook County, the Calumet Region, and Illinois to contribute to the map. Users can add new sites, edit or build upon existing entries with additional text, photographs, primary sources, audio and video files, as well as links to related websites.

Easy-to-use instructions for adding to the on-line version of the map are available at

More information on the Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies is available at:

The Labor Trail: Chicago's History of Working-Class Life and Struggle

Project Director:
Leon Fink, University of Illinois at Chicago

Project Advisors:
Tobias Higbie, Newberry Library
Lisa Oppenheim, Chicago Metro History Education Center
Liesl Miller Orenic, Dominican University

Administrative Director:
Jeffrey Helgeson, University of Illinois at Chicago

Project Assistants:
Aaron Max Berkowitz, University of Illinois at Chicago; John H. Flores, University of Illinois at Chicago; Erik Gellman, Northwestern University; Dan Harper, University of Illinois at Chicago; Emily LaBarbera-Twarog, University of Illinois at Chicago

Web Design:
William Atwood and Melissa Palmer