"The Perfect Town" Pullman by sambarnett

Pullman Travel Guide: 23 reviews and 45 photos

On the far, far south side of Chicago, the Pullman Historic District is one of the most beautiful and overlooked (at least by out of towners) sections of the city.
As well as its importance in American labor history and its stunning buildings, Pullman is a special place for me, as it was here that my Great-Great Uncles Hendrik and Jan Van Keppel first lived here when they emmigrated from the Netherlands in 1911

   Railroad maginate George M. Pullman, believed a man's surrounds could greatly effect his production at work and created the model town of Pullman in 1880. It was the first planned industrial or "company" town and provided its workers and residents with convienences unheard of for working class families at the time. Many are taken for granted today: indoor plumbing, sewage and gas works. International recognized as the "world's most perfect town" the Pullman experiment met harsh reality during a national depression in 1893-94. Pullman, who saw his endevour not only as a way to raise the standard of living for his employees but to also see a steady profit return on his intial investments. Determined to always maintain that 6% return on investments he cut wages while refusing to reduce rent payments. A giant company strike ensued in 1894. The event saw US President Grover Cleveland send National Guard troops in to force workers back to their jobs. At the time of his death three years later, Pullman was buried in Graceland Cemetery (near the Wrigleyview neighborhood) under a chunk of concrete, meant to protect his corpse from being defiled by angry mobs.

   Declared a blighted neighborhood and threatened with demolition in 1960, the remaining Pullman residents banded together and formed the Pullman Civic Organization (PCO). At a time when many residents abandon urban areas for sprawling suburbs, the PCO and well as the Historic Pullman Foundation (HPF) foudned in 1973, have brought Pullman from the brink of destruction to one of Chicago's most interesting and charming neighborhoods.

  • Intro Updated Nov 7, 2003
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Reviews (10)

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Comments (5)

  • laallen's Profile Photo
    Aug 11, 2007 at 4:46 PM

    Raised in the Chicago area, spent a good near 30 years out and about and am ashamed to say I've never ever been to Pullman! Hmmm, maybe we'll finally make it this trip...Great page!

  • blaird's Profile Photo
    Apr 30, 2003 at 10:20 AM

    I 1st heard of Pullman in a PBS documentary of Chicago...You do a great job of introducing the city, I must visit when I move back to the midwest.

  • Carmanah's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2003 at 10:04 PM

    I'm a sucker when it comes to good architecture and photography... I'm really enjoying this... and all your travel pages. Good work!

  • yooperprof's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2003 at 8:53 PM

    Sad to see the post-fire shell of the admin building. I hope the restoration is authentic.

  • b1bob's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2003 at 8:23 PM

    Nice job, Sam.

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