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.
Known for its luxury and elegance, the Hotel Florence, named after George Pullman’s daughter, was opened in 1881. A veranda extends around the front of the building. When it opened, the hotel included a gentlemen’s reading room, a billiard room, lunch room and saloon. The hotel is now part of the Pullman State Historic Site.
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
Pullman and Arcade Parks
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.
This sanctuary is unchanged, being built in cherry wood with the original pews. The first tenants, in 1887, of the Greenstone Church were Presbyterian, but the church was sold to the Methodists in 1907. The distinguished Steere and Turner organ is one of the very few manual track organs remaining in the US; the organ has had little repair over the last 100 years with the exception of being powered originally by hand bellows. The organ contains 1,260 pipes with two manuals for the hands, and while it can be a physical challenge to play, it is a treasure for experienced musicians and listeners alike.
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.
National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum
The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum hosts various special events celebrating black history and the importance of A. Philip Randolph and the Pullman Porters who made a real impact in African-American union history. In 1937, they established the nation’s first black labor union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, with Randolph as president.
Complete your tour with a cozy seat at the Pullman Cafe, where you can dine on fresh fruit, homemade lemon bars, and dreamy bread pudding. The ambience of the Pullman Cafe provides a wonderful conclusion to your trip to historic Pullman.
Pullman Cafe, 11208 S St. Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 828 8338