Chicago Landmarks

George Cleveland Hall Branch, Chicago Public Library

George Cleveland Hall Branch Library     Address: 4801 S. Michigan Ave.
Year Built: 1931
Architect: Coolidge & Hodgdon
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: February 10, 2010

1932, Courtesy Harsh Collection, Chicago Public Library Lobby Named for prominent African American surgeon and civic leader Dr. George Cleveland Hall, this venerable Bronzeville institution opened on January 18, 1932 under the direction of Vivian G. Harsh, the first African American to head a branch of the Chicago Public Library. Harsh compiled an immense African American research collection and initiated pioneering programs promoting the work of noted Chicago writers, including, from 1933 to 1953, the "Book Review and Lecture Forum," an influential discussion group on African American literature, current events and social issues. With its block-like composition, random-ashlar stone facades, abstracted Classical-style detailing, and combination of hip and pyramidal roofs, the Hall Branch is unlike any other library in Chicago. Designed by one of the successor firms to Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, the library was conceived as a neighborhood "landmark," which it has remained to this day.