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Thursday PTHS Speakers


Thursday PTHS Speakers

Photos by Carl Morrison, and Bob Williams where marked.

(Click any photo for a double-sized copy; Click BACK in your browser to return to this page.)

Thursday after the Newberry Library Tour, we drove to Pullman, IL, (south Chicago) for the beginning of the Symposium at the Visitor Center.  I had time to take some exterior photographs of the Visitor Center and some displays and photographs inside:

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Hotel Florence in its day.
Cornerstone of the mural.

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Pullman China with "Pullman" at the top of the plate.


It was time for the first speaker of the Symposium.


David Mangold, Symposium Coordinator, opened the Conference by welcoming us all.

Michael A Shymanski, original member of the Historic Pullman Foundation, welcomed us as well.

Friday at the Symposium


Theodore Shrady spoke at 9:15:  The Beginning of the Sleeping Car 1837

Theodore is a speaker and researcher working at the Newberry Library.  He has authored four books on passenger rail cars, two of which are.

Orange Blossom Special: The story of Florida's distinguished winter train by Theodore Shrady

Sleeping Car, The: A General Guide by Theodore Shrady

His slides included "Sleeping Cars - Early Pullman and Before

Pioneer was the first Pullman car built from scratch.  Others had been converted rail cars built for other purposes.  It cost $20,000, which was opulent for the time.  Perhaps a myth was that it was built a foot wider than others.  It was Lincoln's funeral car.  Rumor says that bridges and station platforms on the Lincoln funeral train had to be modified to accommodate the train.

On early rail cars was the "clear story" on the top of cars for light.

1867 - Pullman began gobbling up the competition to get a monopoly, which he accomplished.

Three era's of Pullman Cars:

Wood (1837 - 1910), Steel (started in 1907) and Streamline (starting in 1933).

The "Hotel Car" was invented by Pullman for opulent travelers.  It had a kitchen, tables and food service as well as seating and sleeping. Prior to the Hotel Cars, there were stops for food.  In the 1880s, the Vestibule System came in and movement between cars was possible. 


10:00  The Pullman Car Works - The Factory  also by Theodore Shrady.

"A Brief Look at the Pullman Factory - 1881 - 1969.

The only buildings that are left of the Pullman Car Works are the Clocktower, Erecting Hall, and two other halls.

1990 Hillary Clinton dedicated it as an Historic Site.

Pullman State Historic Site is rebuilding the site, an Illinois State organization.  The Clock Tower  was destroyed by fired, and only the shell has been rebuilt.

There were many photos taken of new Pullman cars in front of the "Four Peaks" of four erecting halls with transfer tables between the halls.

The Water Tower, originally taller than the current clock tower, was a fire supression system for the factory. 500,000 gallons worth.  Offices and the glassworks occupied the area below the water tank.  Water for the factory and town was from Chicago.

There were 400 acres in the Factory and Town.  3,600 acres for the whole plot, originally 12 miles from Chicago on calumet Lake where boats of supplies docked and horses and wagons were dispatched from the factory to collect the supplies from the boats and taken to the factory.

engine2.jpgFactory power was from a central Corliss steam engine (left).  Through underground trenches, power was transferred by a series of shafts to the buildings.  Vertical shafts continued into the buildings and wheels and belts continued to each machine as power.

Smithsonian Institution - "As for the inimitable Corliss, industrialist George Pullman bought it in 1880, four years after the Exposition; had it shipped to Chicago in 35 boxcars; and used it to power his sleeping-car works. After 30 years of grand service in the name of progress, it was sold as junk for $8 a ton."  More information on the Corliss steam engine, go to:

Pullman also built freight cars.

He used an assembly line (Before Henry Ford) in which Pullman cars were begun in one hall and moved by transfer table to another.  This was the reason he was able to build 100 cars in 10 days.

Housing in the town of Pullman was purely economic, you rented what you could afford.  One Scottsman lived in an 800 sq. ft. apt. all his career, and the management wanted him to move to a larger accommodation as he moved up the corporate ladder, but he never did move.

In the peak years of the 1930s, there were 12,000 employees in the shops, more than the capacity of the town.

He also mentioned that the way to tell a Pullman from a Budd car was that Budd had 7 ribs on the aluminum sidings, and Pullman had a minor horizontal flute in the middle of the siding pieces.

The last car built, in 1981, by Pullman was # 32009 Superliner for  Amtrak.  Rumor has it that it was built as #32005, but someone along the line changed it to ....9 because the first Pullman car was 9.

After each Speaker, David Mangold, Symposium Coordinator, brought Matthew Melzer, Executive Director of the Depot Inn & Suites and Silver Rails Resort to the front to present the speaker with thank-you gifts.  Matthew presented Depot Inn & Suites luggage tags, shirts, and caps, and Loco Vino - The Railroad Winery bottled wine.  Above, Dave looks on as Matt presents Loco Vino wine and Depot Inn shirt and luggage tags to Theodore Shrady.

11:00  First Tour of State Historic site - Pullman Office Buildings and Shop Buildings.

Symposium Coordinator, Dave Mangold, had so many great activities planned, there were times that attendees had to choose between two things.  I chose to take the Shop Tour, since I may not be here in Pullman again, I felt I'd need to take this tour and take photographs for this report.  This meant that I would miss David's The Timeline of Sleeping Car History and The Business Development and Demise of the Pullman Company.  His report I might be able to get from David and include in this report.

Mike Wagenbach, Site Superintendent, of the Pullman State Historic Site ( took us on a rare tour of the Pullman Factory Complex.
Sign at the edge of the Pullman site, a few feet east of the gate we entered on 111th St (below).

Mike has administered $23 million in rebuilding the Clock Tower and stabilizing the other remaining buildings to stop the rapid decay taking place.

He first took us behind the Hotel Florence, along the first street of homes Pullman had built for the workers, across 111th St. to the factory.
Our first look at the Clock Tower which had burned except for the outside, lower walls.  The shell has been rebuilt, but nothing in the interior.
Mike explaining the reconstruction to Matt Melzer.
Photo Credit:  Bob Williams
You can see from these dated, exterior photographs of the clock tower (above), first how it deteriorated from sitting vacant for over 50 years (center), then how it looked after the 1998 fire.  What a tremendous undertaking to bring it back, even to the shell that is today's clock tower .

Four remaining halls, known as The Four Peaks.  Newly finished cars were pulled out onto this track and photographed in front of these Four Peaks.
Our little tour group:  Ray Jackson, Bob Williams, Larry Burbage (CSX conductor who learned of the Symposium from Dave's Flyer in the hotel lobby), Mike, and Matt Melzer.
Photo Credit:  Bob Williams 

Yours truly trying to take photographs, record notes, and keep up with the group.


Just inside the front door, you can see that nothing except stabilizing is left inside.
Cars came through those arches, which were doors, from the transfer tables, to be finished in this hall, adjacent to the Clock Tower.
Bricks of the type used to rebuild the clock tower.
They discovered that current bricks were too large with 1/4-inch mortar to match the original building.  They had to order special, smaller brick, and use butter joints to equal the original building.

Other photos from inside the rebuilt Clock Tower:


Historic volumes in a vault in the clock tower bldg. (left and above).
Vault door.

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Cast iron support pillars salvaged after the fire.

Photo of how the structure had deteriorated over the 50 years of neglect before the fire.
Photo of part of the original Clock Works.

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Inventory tag on some roof beams.

Track that may have been laid by occupants of the factory after Pullman.

But, with a tree stump like this growing between the rails, these tracks must have been unused for years and years.
Tracks such as these ran between the transfer tables and the final hall, so they would be very old track, having been covered with concrete for years.
Having gone through the Clock Tour Building and circled around back, we could see close-up the 'stabilization' efforts to keep walls from further deterioration.

Other artifacts from the Industrial Revolution were on the property.


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More original rails on the property.

Gray material on the tops of walls is to retard deterioration from the weather.  It is 5 - 10 years of protections.

Right:  Matt Melzer reminds Yours Truly that while I was taking other photos, Mike had mentioned where new Pullman cars were pulled out for photographs.
Photo Credit:  Bob Williams 

Back outside the gates, there were some excellent signs with large, original photographs.
I believe this is a photo of the strike.
A new Pullman car in 1890 on the transfer table in front of the remains of the buildings at the right of the sign.

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The clock tower (center) in 1883, with the 500,000 gallon water tower on the right, making it the tallest structure on the property.  Photo taken from the Hotel Florence.


We continued through the first floor of the Hotel Florence, but I've included those pictures in the previous page of this report (Click here if  you missed the previous page).  After our very informative tour of the factory complex by Mike, we asked what eating places were in the area.  He mentioned two, each on 115th St. only a 4-block walk.  One being McDonald's and the other, a greasy spoon by his description, Cal-Harbor.  We walked to McDonalds.

The McDonald's on 115th St. in Pullman has a great collection of Pullman memorabelia, so if you are in Pullman, and not able to get into the visitor's center nor take a tour, just go to McDonald's and you'll get a flavor of Pullman in its heyday.

Larry Burbage walked to McDonald's with us. 

Photo Credit:  Bob Williams   

Larry, being a railroader from Lafayette, IN, was very interesting to talk with.  I was able to ask all the stupid questions about current railroading that I'd been wondering about and he was kind enough to educate me.
We passed one store in the 4 blocks.  Not in the original plans of Pullman, but after the town went private, stores were built on corners in the town.

It was a beautiful spring day.

After attendees returned from lunch on their own, Clifford Priest of Elgin, IL, presented:

The Corporate History of Sleeping Car Companies

Clifford does Scripophily - the study of stocks and bonds.  He showed slides of historic stock certificates that he has collected.  Some have beautiful engraving on them.  He had many Pullman certificates.  One was an 1869 Pullman Palace Car Company certificate with George Pullman's signature!
Again, Matt Melzer was there to present Depot Inn & Suites and Railroad Winery gifts to Mr. Priest.

Matt Melzer made his Railroad Winery and Depot Inn & Suites gift presentation to Ralph.

Ralph Barger spoke next.  His talk was titled:

The Pullman Sleeping Cars

George M. Pullman life spanned March 3, 1831 - October 19, 1897.  1838 the first Sleeping Car in the U.S. was the Cumberland Valley.

Ralph showed the original Pullman Car #9, the first, with its 8 axles.

Pullman had daily trains between Cincinnati and St. Louis, past my home town which at that time was called Hardensburg, Indiana, currently Hayden, Indiana.

Pullman's #106 was the "Izaak Walton"

Boudoir Cars were made by the Mann Co.

Open platform cars changed to narrow vestibules, then in 1893 the first wide vestibules appeared in the Columbia Exposition.

St. Louis to New York City took 47 hours.

1887 was the first design allowing passengers to move between cars with narrow vestibules.  1898 the Sunset Limited cars were built which included smoking area, bath tubs and a barber.

The Wagner Co. made fancier car interiors, but when Pullman bought Wagner in 1900, Pullman stopped making fancy cars.


William Shopotkin gave a slide presentation titled:

Chicago's Terminals and Trains

There are 6 Terminals in Chicago.  24% of the RR freight goes through Chicago.  William showed original slides of passenger trains, street cars, in Chicago, and RDCs that ran on C&I.

(Distruptive cell phone users and loud talking hard-of-hearing individuals only walked to the back of the visitors center to have conversations - very impolite.  We needed a Sargeant of Arms to ask these folks to walk outside as a courtesy to the speakers, but no one took up that duty.  Matt Melzer said that at NARP meetings, any cell phones that ring during a meeting costs a $5 donation to the organization.  By my count Dave Mangold's group would have made about $50 on this day if he had this plan.)

Many transcontinental trains left Chicago like the All-Pullman 20th Century Limited.  The "Capitol Limited" was B&O's premier train.

About 2/3 of the way through William's many carousels, the first projector operator fell asleep, so Dave took over.  He soon got a cell phone call so I finished up the projectionist's duties.

The California Zephyr, Silver Lady, ran 1969 - 1970.


On Sunday, the group took an excursion to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL.  Bob Williams noticed and photographed descriptive signs about Chicago's six stations.  Photos of those signs are left and below.  Double-click each sign to see a larger copy, click Back to return to this page.
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Matt Melzer was again on hand to give out the Depot Inn & Suites and Railroad Winery gifts to speakers.

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