A bad idea rears its ugly head again

To the Editor:

Once again, there is yet another move in the City Council to rename our landmark Chicago Cultural Center the “Eleanor Daley Cultural Center.” Such an action, for various reasons, would be inappropriate.

Our historic, splendid and beautiful cultural center, formerly the Central Library Building, should continue to honor in its name the world-renowned cultural reputation of our great city and not a figurehead personality, however well-respected.

Downtown Chicago certainly does not need another Daley Center, which would be a source of exasperated confusion for visitors to our city. Renaming the Cultural Center would also obliterate the memory of various dedicated people, including representatives of GAR veterans, who in conjunction with the former Chicago Heritage Committee, strove long and hard over an eight-year period (1965-1973) in an historic and concerted campaign to save the building from proposed demolition.

Mrs. Daley’s role in this story was a subsidiary one at best, occurring in February 1972, when she admitted to reporters who encountered her that she had an affection for the old library and did not want to see it torn down. Both she and the mayor remained closed-mouth about the issue throughout the campaign and neither issued a public statement either favoring or opposing preservation. When queried in later years about proposals for Cultural Center renaming, she candidly responded that she considered Chicago as the best name for the place. We should respect her wishes.

If there is a desire to honor Mrs. Daley’s memory, the present fourth-floor exhibit hall could be named for her, or a plaque could be placed within the building. I think we can all agree that our esteemed and treasured Chicago Cultural Center already has the perfect name!

Charles Staples