Pullman National Monument a reality – Fra Noi
It’s Thanksgiving month and there is something to be thankful for, but I would like to focus my gratitude on the Pullman National Monument. If you’ve been paying attention to anything Pullman related, you are now well aware of the excellent media coverage of the Labor Day weekend opening. Two days of public festivities and a day of speeches by dignitaries gave everyone from near and far the opportunity to celebrate the new National Park Service Visitor Center. For those who missed the information or the photos, what we’ve always called the Clock Tower Administration Building is now the NPS Visitor Center.
What we have all grown up with and seen go through many changes in appearance over the years is now the primary focus of the National Park Service’s efforts in Pullman. With a multi-million dollar investment, Pullman has become the “gem” of Chicago’s Far South Side. I urge everyone to visit the center.
For many of us Far South Siders, Pullman has always held a warm place in our memories. As I walked the Pullman grounds during the Labor Day weekend festivities as George Pullman and posed for photos with visitors, I heard many stories of Pullman connections. Visitors remembered playing among abandoned buildings and chasing each other in the surrounding meadows.
Many visitors proudly mentioned their fathers, grandfathers and even great-grandfathers who were employed in the Pullman factories. A group of women mentioned that they had all worked together at Pullman and formed lifelong friendships. One woman even said that working at Pullman in the 1970s was the best job she’s ever had.
The former Pullman Visitor’s Center (the former American Legion Post Banquet Hall # 49) has been renamed Pullman Exhibit Hall. The hall still has the big exhibit with the story of the George Pullman family, the 18 minute streaming film about the early days of Pullman and the community’s efforts to save the whole town, the factory and the Florence hotel. . Community events will always be held there, including Pullman Civic Organization meetings at 7:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.
The Pullman National Monument Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Thanksgiving. Call 773-468-9310 for current information. The exhibits are both informative and impressive. They are located on the first floor with a souvenir shop and a ranger reception station. Expect to spend a good hour or two browsing the exhibits and grounds.
Unfortunately, there is no disabled parking or a drop-off area near the main entrance, with its beautiful architecture and architecture. There is a 100 meter walk between there and the car park, which is directly accessible at the main entrance at the back of the building. Wheelchairs are available and can be programmed by calling 773-468-9310.
The Florence Hotel is run by the State of Illinois and, due to budget constraints, is unfortunately not generally open for touring. The ground floor is still being renovated as more money becomes available. However, the hotel was opened during the grand opening festivities, allowing visitors to see the renovation efforts underway on the first floor. If you’ve been to the first floor before, renovations have focused on decorative touches such as the ceilings, woodwork, floor tiles, and painting of the walls. In answer to a common question, there are no plans to return to the days of Sunday brunch that haven’t taken place since 1997.
The Pullman National Monument under the direction of the National Park Service is specifically dedicated to the labor movement and the Pullman Porters. George Pullman, the Pullman family and the Pullman community, which supported and preserved many physical buildings, are recognized through the ongoing exhibits at the Pullman Exhibit Hall. (773-785-890.)
Community volunteers take care of the reception desk; I volunteer there on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It gives me great pleasure to share my knowledge of the history of Pullman, Roseland, Kensington and Chicago with visitors from all over the world. Thanks for stopping by and joining me. The Pullman National Monument is truly a gem and deserves a special trip. Plus, the Pullman neighborhood is an architectural gem with buildings completely visible now that fall has arrived.
Contact me at 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60628; 773-701-6756; or [email protected]; or visit Roseland Roundtable on Facebook.