"George Pullman's planned industrial community" Pullman by Dabs

Pullman Travel Guide: 23 reviews and 45 photos

The world's most perfect town

Living as I do in a highly industrialized area, my mental image of an industrial town features smokestacks, foul smells and ugly machinery. Visit Pullman, George Pullman's planned industrial community, and you will see none of those things even if you had visited when the industry was still thriving.

Pullman was built between 1880 and 1885 to house the workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company which manufactured luxury passenger rail cars and was promoted as the world's most perfect town. Houses featured then rare conveniences such as plumbing, sewers and gas. The neighborhood was self sufficient with it's own bank, library, post office, church and hotel.

Life in Pullman was all fine and dandy until an economic depression hit in 1893. Workers who leased their houses from Pullman saw their wages being slashed but not their rent payments. Workers went on strike and Pullman fell into ruin.

George Pullman didn't actually live in Pullman, he lived over on the fashionable Prairie Avenue along with many of the other wealthy industrialists of that era.

Pullman today

The Pullman company no longer operates in this community, the last car came off the assembly line in 1981 but many of the structures from the original company town remain. Pullman received landmark status and thrives as a close knit community, . To preserve the historic element, there are rules in place on exterior renovations.

Pullman is about 12 miles south of Chicago's downtown and is easy to get to via public transportation, the Metra electric line has a station at 111th Street, a couple of blocks from the visitor center where your visit to Pullman should start.

You can do a self tour of Pullman but I would highly recommend going for one of the guided tours or better yet on one of the special weekends where they open up some of the homes and you can see the how the homes were adapted for modern living (not to mention getting decorating ideas for your own home!).

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:Easy daytrip from Chicago with a fascinating history
  • Last visit to Pullman: Oct 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (13)

  • glabah's Profile Photo
    Jun 20, 2010 at 10:55 PM

    You made the top 5 daily contributors, and your travel slogan made me laugh and stop by. Glad I did, as a railway buff. Glad they preserved this place. I had thought most of it had been torn down.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    Glad they have preserved Pullman's "most perfect town". Somehow I have never been there, though I grew up near Chicago. We used to sleep in "Pullman cars" on train trips, but I'm not sure if they were all really built by the Pullman company.

  • jo104's Profile Photo
    May 19, 2009 at 5:57 AM

    hope the chicago greeter decides to take us here it was my first choice

  • MJB123's Profile Photo
    Mar 7, 2009 at 10:59 AM

    Excellent Pullman Pages Kristi. I am a life-long Chicagoan but never been to the Pullman area. That has to change this summer.

  • Hexepatty's Profile Photo
    Jan 14, 2007 at 7:28 PM

    I wld like possesion of the family tiara... but when I jet, my sister will prolly barter for it. Somehow there WILL be a PROPER portrait of me on the back 40 w/ overalls and a tiara. Count on it!

  • ellielou's Profile Photo
    Nov 21, 2006 at 2:06 PM

    didn't realize you had a Pullman page...fascinating place! of course, corn and cucumbers on pizza is so un-Chicago! thanks for coming by!

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Jun 6, 2006 at 7:07 AM

    Excellent page! So happy to find another architecture buff. Pullman definately on my list for next trip to Chicago.

  • easyoar's Profile Photo
    Apr 5, 2005 at 3:03 PM

    The room was last used as a dining room and contains a glass jar of Tang and a colostomy bag? You Americans have strange dietary requirements!

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2004 at 8:25 PM

    Lots of new photos, huh? Great intro. and photo. Excellent transportation tips. The Florence Hotel text is super. Enjoyable read. Must have had a great tour on Sunday.

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Jun 24, 2004 at 7:27 PM

    Excellent pics of the hotel and chuch. Pullman looks like the kind of place we would enjoy.


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