President Obama will be in town next week to designate Chicago’s Pullman District as a national monument, cementing the district’s importance in not just Chicago or even Illinois history, but in United States history. Pullman dates back to the 1880s and is where the Pullman Palace sleeper car was produced. Pullman was the country’s first factory town and the site of the nation’s first industry-wide strike, the Pullman Strike of 1894. The district was also home to the Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters which was the nation’s first African-American labor union and played an important role in America’s civil rights movement.
The boundaries of the district are 103rd Street on the north, 115th Street on the south, Cottage Grove Avenue on the west and the Norfolk & Western rail line on the east, encompassing the North and South Pullman neighborhoods. This will include the Administration Building (also known as the Clocktower Building), the old factory, Hotel Florence, Greenstone Church, the market square, and hundreds of row houses. National Park Service rangers will be on site for interpretive services for tourists to the monument.
To learn more about the district and the large role it has played in local and national history, you might want to check out some items from our collection on Pullman.