I recently went on a house walk of Historic Pullman Town on Chicago’s South Side. Pullman Town was the brainchild of businessman George Pullman back in 1880, and the architect was the famed Solon Spencer Beman who was only 26 at the time.
When you think of Pullman Town it gets drowned out by the unforgettable Pullman Strike and the Pullman Porters. Not to say those two events were not life changing but the town’s entire concept was amazing.
Mr. Pullman built this town for his factory workers and their families. This town had everything, including a fire department, hospital, arcade, hotel, church, school, factories, market, houses, and apartments.
Your position within the company determined your house size, which ranged from small apartments, cottages to small mansions. Back then you paid $5.00 a room. The town took care of your lawns, waste, maintenance, heating, even snow. It was a genius concept.
A great deal of people who came to The World’s Colombian Exposition stayed in Pullman. They stayed in apartments or the famous Hotel Florence which was named after Pullman’s eldest daughter.
The historic Greenstone Church is absolutely beautiful. This space was really intended for people to meet to discuss things and have meetings.
While there I got a chance to hear the 133 year old organ, which was sounding fabulous.
The atmosphere was peaceful and calming. Nothing has changed here except for the light fixtures.
The houses were warm and charming. The families that live here today take great pride in preserving these historic beauties. Restoration is ongoing here and that is a great thing!
These homes were built to be green before being green was a cool thing, and they all had sky lights. Mr. Beman was already forward thinking with natural lighting.
I’m not surprised at all to learn there are a great number of Chicago notables today that call Pullman Home. You really have to get out to Pullman–it is truly a charming area of Chicago. Take the walking tour and step back in time.
- Greenstone Church (Historic Pullman Foundation)
- Pullman Strike (Encyclopedia of Chicago)
- Pullman Porters (wttw)
- Pullman (Encyclopedia of Chicago)