Exhibit: Stories We Tell: The History of Hild and Sulzer Regional Libraries

Stories We Tell: The History of Hild and Sulzer is on display at Sulzer Regional Library from June 1-September 30. Stories We Tell is an exhibit series celebrating 150 years of Chicago Public Library at branches around the system. This exhibit was curated by Allyson Smally, archival specialist at Sulzer Regional Library.

Early Years

Hild Regional Library opened on April 6, 1931, at 4544 N. Lincoln Avenue. It served as CPL's original regional library on the North Side and second regional branch overall, behind Legler Regional on the West Side. Hild was named for Frederick H. Hild, the second head librarian of Chicago Public Library. The unique building, which features elements of art deco architecture, was designed by Pierre Blouke. Francis F. Coan, an artist working for the Works Progress Administration, added murals in the children's room in 1936. Hild served the Ravenswood, Lincoln Square and greater Northside community for 54 years, closing on July 31, 1985. As of 2023, the building is still standing and is in use by a local arts organization.

Move to Sulzer

By the late 1970s, plans were being made for a new building just down the street on Lincoln Avenue. Better lighting, more space, easier access to parking and air conditioning were among the many amenities that patrons and staff looked forward to in the new building. After years of planning, Sulzer Regional Library opened on Saturday, September 14, 1985, with Mayor Harold Washington in attendance. It was named for Conrad Sulzer, an early Swiss settler in the area. The Sulzer family has remained engaged in the community, and their civic and philanthropic work continues today.

Do you have any memories of Hild or Sulzer? Let us know on social media by tagging #CPL150.

About CPL 150

Chicago Public Library is 150 years young! Since first opening our doors in 1873, we've served all Chicagoans with free and open places to gather, learn, connect, read and be transformed. Join us in celebrating 150 years of serving our communities. Learn more by visiting chipublib.org/150.