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Microforms @ UIC Daley

Chicago Building Permits Now in Digital Microfilm

The UIC Library has digitized the Chicago Building Permits microfilm for use online. The digital microfilm can be browsed, not searched; detailed instructions are available on the Chicago Building Permits Research Guide.

Physical microfilm is available at the Chicago History Museum (CHM) Research Center, 1601 N. Clark Street. Please see the Chicago History Museum Research Center’s website for current hours and contact information.

Why did UIC Library convert the microfilm to digital form?

This is a valuable and heavily used collection, and the microfilm became increasingly brittle and damaged. The Chicago History Museum lent 8 reels of microfilm that was missing or unusable, so the electronic version is more complete than the physical version. The original UIC Library copy of the microfilm will be preserved in Special Collections.

Permits Issued after 1954

For Chicago structures built after 1954, submit a Freedom of Information Act request for the permit and any architectural drawings to the City of Chicago Buildings Department

Additional Resources

  • Browse this Chicago History Museum guide to learn more about their Chicago architectural resources, including historic photographs, architectural drawings and their building permit collection.
  • To discover old Chicago street names, check out, which offers historic maps of Chicago's "L" or elevated train system from 1898 to the present. 
  • Consult this page for an extended overview of the UIC Library's digital building permit collection.