We may soon witness Illinois’ second national park being established right here in our own Windy City. Efforts are being made to place the Pullman District under National Park Service (NPS) control, which would ensure the historic neighborhood’s revitalization and further economic growth. Abraham Lincoln National Historic Site in Springfield is currently the only Illinois location to be part of the national park system.
Located on the city’s South Side, just twelve miles from the Chicago Loop, the Pullman residential community was built in the 1880s by George Pullman to house employees of his railroad company, the Pullman Palace Car Company, most famous for assembling the Pullman sleeping car.
You don’t have to come from a railroad family to appreciate the history of the Pullman era. The Pullman District is deeply rooted in American history; it was the very first planned industrial residential community in the U.S. and the place where they started the African-American labor movement. Pretty damn impressive, right?
A designated National Historical Landmark, the area has been restored over the years thanks to preservationist groups and the residents themselves. A large number of the town’s original buildings and structures are still intact or currently undergoing renovations, including the Hotel Florence, the Pullman factory and Greenstone church.
The uniqueness of the neighborhood is given by the French-inspired row houses and colonnade apartments preserved to this day, not without effort though. Due to its remarkable architecture and innovative design, Pullman was named one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2011 by the American Planning Association (APA) under its Great Places in America program.
To learn more about the Pullman Historic District and its architectural and historic importance please visit Historic Pullman Foundation online or watch this video on the Historic Pullman Community:
- Pullman 20 years later – Lakota Participates in ULI Technical Assistance Panel for the Pullman State Historic Site (thelakotagroup.wordpress.com)
- 3 Sites find new home on historic register (rentcafe.com)