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Historic Pullman, Illinois / Highway 59 Naperville/Aurora, Illinois Hot Spot

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Program 108
Historic Pullman, Illinois / Route 59 Naperville, Aurora, Illinois Hot Spot

George Pullman and his sleeping cars defined state-of-the-art rail travel in this country for almost a century. In addition to founding and building the Pullman Palace Car Company in the late 19th century, Pullman also constructed a town next to his factory buildings in which his workers could live.

The town survives to this day. Now a part of the city of Chicago, the Historic Pullman district is on the rise after a long period of decay beginning in the 1920's. In this program, host Dave Reed joins a walking tour of the remaining buildings in Pullman.

The Hot Spot segment is Metra's Route 59 station, located on the boundary between Naperville and Aurora, Illinois. In addition to Metra, many freights and Amtrak pass through Route 59 at just about any speed. This is a wide open area, so views from both up close and far away are possible.

Videotaped in May 1996.

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George M. Pullman, leading advocate of the rail sleeping car, not only constructed his factory south of Chicago in the late 1800's, but built a town for his workers to live in right next to it. Many of the structures remain standing today.

This is what remained of the Pullman main office 1996. It was almost completely destroyed by a fire in 1998.

Pullman was the site of one of the first organized labor strikes in America. The strike was violently broken up when the state militia moved in on orders issued by the governor of the state of Illinois.

The Hotel Florence is located just north of the main factory buildings. It was named after Pullman's favorite daughter.

The Greenstone church was the only church Pullman allowed to be constructed in his town. It can hold about 500 in a town built to house over 20,000.

Most housing for the general workers were constructed in a manner similar to today's townhouses and condominiums. The higher up a workers position in the factory, the larger the home they could afford.

During peak rush hour periods, Metra trains frequently meet at Route 59. The train on the right is eastbound and stopped at the station. The one on the left is westbound and just arriving at the station.

The Route 59 Hot Spot is located on the Naperville / Aurora border. Constructed in the middle of a field astride Burlington Northern Santa Fe's Chicago/Aurora mainline, Route 59 is becoming more surrounded by malls and apartments.

Canadian National trains have trackage rights over the BNSF between Duluth, Minnesota and Chicago.

The Amtrak stop for the western suburbs is at Naperville, the next station to the east. Consequently, Amtrak trains whistle through the station at 70 mph or more.

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