A look at Columbia College Chicago before it was our Columbia College Chicago

A look at Columbia College Chicago before it was our Columbia College Chicago
This now demolished building once housed Columbia College Chicago at 24 E. Adams

Columbia College Chicago, believe it or not, has been around since 1890. In and around the Loop--and sometimes, it's even branched into north and south side neighborhoods.

Today, it's a fixture in the South Loop.  Adapting and reusing historical buildings.  And building many new ones.  Departments of dance and journalism and photography and many many many more disciplines line the South Loop streets via classroom buildings, galleries, dorms--and of course, tons of students.  And faculty.  And administrators and support staff.

The reason I bring it up is that there is a gem of a little exhibit in the school's library at 624 S. Michigan right now.  Open to the public on the second floor. It shows a smattering of "then and now" photos of  Columbia locations back in the day--and modern pictures of what's happened to the sites. Although the exhibit is definitely on the small side, it does give a nice overview of how Columbia fit into the Chicago scene for a good century, geographically at least.

Although I knew Columbia had sites in the Loop and South Loop and here and there in Lake View and Uptown through the years, I never knew they had space where IIT is now on the Near South Side--before IIT did.  I never realized that Columbia College at one time had a geographic spotlight on itself in the Loop--just as it does now in the South Loop.

Taking a few minutes to peruse the photographs--old and new--in this little exhibit is time well spent.  And a fitting tribute to the history of a Chicago institution that is sometimes overlooked.

Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Leave a comment