Harold Washington Library Center
In 1987, Mayor Harold Washington ordered a design/build competition for a new central library in the South Loop. The City Council authorized the competition and the $144 million bond issue to finance the project on July 29, 1987.
Based on both design and cost criteria, an 11-member citizen jury selected the design by Thomas Beeby from Hammond, Beeby & Babka, Inc. as the winner on June 20, 1988.
Groundbreaking took place October 13, 1988, using imported soil because the location at State and Van Buren streets was an asphalt-covered parking lot. Harold Washington Library Center Construction Photographs, 1988-1991 documents the construction.
Dedicated October 4, 1991, HWLC opened October 7, 1991.
Named for Harold Washington (1922-1987), the city's first African American mayor