Pullman, technically a neighborhood of Chicago, was built as a separate company owned town, by the Pullman Palace Car Company in the 1880s. George Pullman, the owner of Pullman Palace Car, had the town designed after the utopian and paternalistic ideas of the time. The workers at Pullman's factory, which built passenger rail cars, rented homes from Pullman and brought their groceries from Pullman's store. In the 1880s, Pullman was outside the urban area of Chicago. It was isolated, although the area around it urbanized rapidly after Pullman was built. Pullman is perhaps most famous for the failure of George Pullman's paternalistic vision due to the 1894 Pullman Strike. That strike is sometimes given as the time and reason that the larger industrial firms in the north lost interest in building company owned and planned towns. Company towns continued to be built, however, in the southern textile districts, in the northwestern logging districts and mining districts all over the country. The 1894 strike was also when Eugene Debs rose to national prominence. George Pullman died in 1897. Ten years later, the Pullman company sold off all of the non-factory real estate in the town. Individual row homes are now owned by individual homeowners. Pullman Palace Car company continued producing railroad cars in Pullman until 1958. By 1960 Pullman was threatened with demolition. Residents fought to save the the town through the 1960s. Pullman was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971. It was designated a National Historic Monument in 2015.
Pullman is on the far Southside of Chicago. It's not served by CTA trains but there is a South Shore train stop a few blocks from the monument headquarters. Pullman is a lovely, calm and safe neighborhood. Some nearby areas are not. There is a small museum and parking at the monument headquarters. There is a small cafe, The Pullman Cafe on St. Lawrence Street, but otherwise there are no business in the historic Pullman grid. There is a micro brewery across the railroad tracks that is trying to attract business from visitors to the National Monument. There weren't many visitors at the monument headquarters when I was there in the summer of 2017, but there were a few. There seems to be an industrial heritage tour circuit developing that includes Pullman, Steelworkers Park, the Stockyards and several other key sites around Chicago. Pullman is a great neighborhood to walk around. It's very small though and it is occupied by full time residents. Pullman is one of the only row house neighborhoods in Chicago. The attached homes and apartments are built with brick or stone. Common design elements span multiple homes. It looks like no other neighborhood in the city. The old administration building (top photo) has recently been restored but is not open to the public yet. The Hotel Florence (above) is used as event space but is not open to the public on a regular schedule. The monument headquarters and museum operate out of a recently constructed building on Cottage Grove and 112th.
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