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Chicago Public Library and PARMA Conservation presented with 2010 Marian and Leon Depres Preservation Awards by the Hyde Park Historical Society


On Saturday night, February 27th the Hyde Park Historical Society presented its 2010 Marian and Leon Depres Preservation Awards to Chicago Public Library and PARMA Conservation at the group's annual awards dinner. The award recognized the concentrated efforts for returning the historic murals and gilt plaster in the cupola of the Chicago
Public Library Blackstone Branch to their original beauty.

Mrs. Isabela Farnsworth Norton Blackstone gave this first branch of the Library to the citizens of Chicago as a memorial to her husband, Timothy Beach Blackstone, long-time president of the Chicago and Alton Railroad. Dedicated in 1904, the building was designed by Solon Spencer Beman and styled after a Greek Erechtejon. The magnificent murals depicting Art, Literature, Science, and Labor were painted by the celebrated artist, Oliver Dennett Grover.

During the last hundred years the ornate plaster work was damaged by the leaky dome, and the murals became dull from years of grime. Thanks to a $100,000 grant from Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Chicago Public Library finished a complete restoration and conservation of the cupola in August, 2009. The beautiful restoration was performed by PARMA Conservation with assistance from Bernacki Associates.

MARCH, 2010










Chicago's Blackstone Memorial Library Murals

Photo: Historic Blackstone Library Murals painted by Oliver Dennett Grover (1861-1927); detail