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Pullman, Illinois, Town Tour

Saturday Pullman Town Tour

led by Michael Shymanski

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.)

Each year they have an Historic Pullman House Tour in October.   Spotting posters advertising this event in the Visitor's Center, I photographed some to get an idea of what I might photograph on the tour.  Here are some of the House Tour posters:

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Before the outdoor tour, we had an informative 20-minute video about Pullman.  Spring 1881 the town was operational.  The Corliss Engine powered the factory and heated the town with steam heat.  Workers were recruited from America and Europe.  The Arcade Building was an enclosed shopping mall where private businesses had shops and there was a 1,000 seat theatre.  The Hotel Florence, named after Pullman's favorite daughter, had the only bar in town and Pullman had a suite there.  Prospective buyers and suppliers stayed there.  Homes had indoor plumbing, and this was 1/1/1881.  Pullman took care of garbage collection and street and landscaping maintenance.  The school was a grammar school with adult education classes at nights.  The town had an adult marching band, gymnastics and other sports teams.  1886 it was called the World's Most Perfect Town.  1894 was the Strike.  1897 Geo. Pullman died.  1898 the town was sold and some people bought the homes they had rented.

Recently a developer proposed leveling the factory and putting in apartments, but the Pullman Civic Organization fought the demolition and got Landmark Status.  1973 the Historic Pullman Foundation was formed.  Mike was a member and still is.  The Florence Hotel was operated by a private firm and it deteriorated.  The Foundation bought the Hotel and in 1981 it won the Building of the Year Award.

Twelve attendees took the town tour.
Originally this garage was the Stables, Telegraph Office, and Firehouse for the town.
Dave Mangold, Symposium Coordinator enjoyed the symposium and took many notes.
I liked his button.

Homes just across the street from the Visitor Center

Ornamentation at the corner of the Stables.

Horse heads on the stable's front wall.
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Michael Shymanski's license plate.


After the monopoly was broken up and the town went to private owners, the homes deteriorated.  Homeowners are being encouraged to improve their property.
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Greenstone Church, constructed as part of the town, was non-denominational with neutral decorations inside.  The original Tracker Organ was restored in 1980s.  The green stones are from Pennsylania and is like sand stone and is deteriorating from weather and pollution.  The base, as you can see, has been replaced.

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Across the street from the Greenstone Church are the only graystone homes in town, the rest are brick.  These homes, near market square, were for incoming Doctor.

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The reflecting ball in this home's window caught my eye, didn't they have these in the day?

Market Square, used to be two stories, now just a shell.

Butter joints that Mike had mentioned earlier in the clock tower reconstruction.  Less than 1/4 inch wide joints.


Row Houses or Flats.

Few porches are original design over the 150 years.

An original slate room, right.
Mike Shymanski during a light sprinkle, explaining the Historic Pullman Center.
The Historic Pullman Center 614 is where the Florence Hotel's furniture is being stored on 3rd floor.  Some day the Florence Hotel might open as "a B&B on steroids" Mike said.

While listening to Mike's tour, we heard this man pulling a metal wheeled lift with a discarded couch - stolen or retrieved from the alley?  The storefront beyond is typical of what happened when the town went private, some people opened a store in their home.

Original slate roof.
Original street trees were American Elm, which made a complete canopy over the street keeping the temperature cooler in summer.

"Honeymoon row" very small studio or one-bedroom inexpensive flats.

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'Four over Two' original window design.  Center window has a small screen (I remember those from my youth.)
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Wooden sidewalk section above, was one reason the Chicago fire spread so quickly, the sidewalks were hollow underheath and became drafts for the fire.  At construction, this town had wooden sidewalks.

This house on 115th street directly across from the factory, with the Magnolia tree, was the Company Doctor's home.  It had a side entrance with an operating room inside in case of an accident in the factory.

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Next, we needed to get to the Reception and Dinner, for the last session of this very interesting Symposium.

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