History, labor and/or race relations enthusiasts: give feedback on Pullman Factory project planning

Date: 
02/13/2017
PullmanMap

Site map shows the various historic designations

The National Park Service invites feedback on a newly released "Pullman Factory Site Conceptual Design Environmental Assessment." The public comment time for the feedback [Documents are at bottom of page.] is open until March 6. 

The approach to the next steps in the evolution of the site will be governed by the choices made from those laid out in the assessment. Those participating in providing comments will aid in making the determination of which approach will be used. 

The Pullman site, on Chicago's south side, has several partnerships. 

Proclaimed the Pullman National Monument on Feb. 19, 2015, by President Barack Obama, its boundaries include historic and active residences and businesses. The National Park Service (NPS) owns the historic Administration Building of the former Pullman factory (also known as the Clock Tower Building.) 

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) owns and operates Pullman State Historic Site within the boundaries of the national monument. IHPA ownership includes the grounds around the Clocktower Building, the north factory wing, the rear erecting shop, and the four-story Hotel Florence. When they purchased it in 1991, they did it "to memorialize an economic, political, and social giant of the industrial age, few then could imagine the future exodus of industry from our shores and the fundamental societal changes that would be felt around the globe." 

The State of Illinois purchased the site in 1991, "to memorialize an economic, political, and social giant of the industrial age, few then could imagine the future exodus of industry from our shores and the fundamental societal changes that would be felt around the globe." 

The majority of the land within the national monument boundary is a City of Chicago Landmark, within the boundaries of which the city reviews proposed alterations, demolitions and new construction as part of the permit review process using The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. 

There is also a National Historic Landmark (NHL) District boundary overlaying the monument. Designation as a national historic landmark helps recognize, preserve, and protect important locations in American history. Most national historic landmarks are privately owned and are governed by local preservation laws, but the designation provides additional protections from federally assisted development projects. 

When was Pullman established?
With a long history in the business of railroad sleeping cars, George Pullman acquired approximately 4,000 acres near Lake Calumet, 14 miles south of Chicago along the Illinois Central Railroad for $800,000 in 1880. He then hired Solon Spencer Beman to design his new plant. 

At approximately the same time, they built the company town, the first U.S. industrial model. It was replete with housing, shopping areas, churches, theaters, parks, hotel and library for his employees. The distance from work in one of the manufacturing buildings to home was minimal. 

Pullman's mastery of marketing and advertising drove him to go beyond being a manufacturer.

He leased as well as owned and sold cars. In addition he maintained them and provided staffing. He expected impeccable service. His reputation was built on delivering top quality product and service.

The businesses were built up with European immigrant craftsmen and former American slaves. After the big labor strike in 1894, more would follow, yet the company survived and flourished in the early and mid=1920s. 

"When the last car came off the line in 1981, the company invited the community to the shops in Building 100 on 103rd Street to visit an Amtrak sleeper. Today it still runs between Chicago and Seattle on Amtrak's Empire Builder,"  states the Pullman Museum site

The story of Pullman includes affordable housing, labor relations, race relations and immigration…issues that continue to haunt today's headlines.

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