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Centennial Building Commission - RG 516 | Illinois State Archives

Name: Centennial Building Commission - RG 516

Historical Note:

The initial Centennial Building Commission was created in 1915 (L. 1915, p. 35). It consisted of the Governor, Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction, chairman of the State Art Commission, president of the State Historical Society, president of the Board of Trustees of the State Historical Library, and two additional persons appointed by the Governor. The commission was to obtain grounds for a new building adjacent to those of the State Capitol and dispose of any existing buildings located thereon.

In 1917 legislation was passed authorizing construction of the Centennial Memorial Building (L. 1917, p. 66). Responsibility for the project was given to the director of the Department of Public Works and Buildings in consultation with an advisory Centennial Building Commission, then consisting of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Secretary of State, and three additional members appointed by the Governor. The legislation directed the work to advance quickly enough so that the laying of the cornerstone could be a central feature of the centennial celebration of Illinois statehood in 1918.

The Centennial Memorial Building, placed under the custody of the Secretary of State, was designed to provide space for the offices of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Library, the State Historical Library, the State Museum, and a repository for the State Archives. The 1917 act made an appropriation of $100,000 for the preparation of plans and specifications. Additional funds totaling $1,814,500 were granted in 1919 and 1921 for the completion and furnishing of the building and for the landscaping of its grounds (L. 1919, p. 152; L. 1921, p. 13).

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