The first planned industrial community for workers to work, live and worship was the Pullman Historic District south of Chicago, a unique community established by George Pullman, founder of the Pullman Palace Car Company. Designated a national monument; we list things to see and do while you’re in the neighborhood.
Historic Pullman Foundation Visitor Center
On the site of the Arcade Building, the Historic Pullman Foundation is a great place to begin your tour of Pullman. The visitor center provides a video of the history and exhibits that include antiques from the Pullman Mansion, which was located on Prairie Avenue, as well as historic rail service items.
Take a stroll on 111th Street between St. Lawrence and Langley to view the executive homes that were located near the Pullman company plant. This row of homes was a showplace back in the day, consisting of eight and nine rooms including several fireplaces and a basement in each. If you plan ahead of time, it’s possible to set up a tour of the Thomas Dunbar house to see one of these historic homes up close.
Thomas Dunbar House, 641 E 111th St, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 785 8901
George Pullman hired architect Solon S. Berman to create Pullman Park for recreation and to allow workers to enjoy a green space not interrupted by plant structures. Another park in the Pullman community is Arcade Park, which was also donated by George Pullman.
Pullman Factory Complex
Beside the administration building and clock tower, the factory building provided wonderful conditions for the working man. They were well lit, ventilated, and featured soft colors to provide an upbeat atmosphere, which was different from so many sweatshops of the era. The Clock Tower and building was seriously damaged in 1998 by fire but was rebuilt in 2005 as part of the Illinois Pullman State Historic Site.
On the corner of 111th and Langley, lies the Gateway Garden, which came into being after the Historic Pullman Garden Club received a grant from the Chicago Botanic Garden for development. Trees and spring bulbs were planted, and now the garden offers spectacular color of various annuals, perennials and breathtaking curved seats of shrubbery, creating a peaceful place to observe such beauty.
Gateway Garden, E 111th St, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 568 2441
Mosnart is a contemporary art space that brings all types of artists to Pullman and is an ongoing art project. Installations of art in a transom above the front door of an 1880’s Pullman’s worker flat can be seen while observing the olive and red row houses where Pullman’s workers once lived.
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