Discover / Pullman Historic District
Save a National Treasure
REGION: Midwest
Chicago, IL
TYPE: Community
Administration Building | Photo by Cynthia Lynn
Administration Building | Photo by Cynthia Lynn
Recognize the rich social history and architectural beauty of Pullman by designating the neighborhood as a unit of the National Park System.


Thirteen miles south of downtown Chicago, the model industrial town founded by George Pullman in the late 19th century remains largely intact. While its collection of architecturally unique homes, factory buildings, and landmark structures have been the focus of revitalization efforts by the State of Illinois, City of Chicago and community groups and partner organizations for many years, designating Pullman as a unit of the National Park System would dramatically increase awareness of this historic place among heritage travelers and encourage enhanced economic development opportunities there. The Trust has joined a robust coalition advocating for designation of Pullman as a National Park, including the National Parks Conservation Association, numerous civic, business and community organizations, and elected officials at the local, state and federal level.

National Significance

George Pullman founded the nation’s first model industrial town in 1880 to attract skilled workers to his Pullman Palace Car Company, which manufactured railroad passenger cars. Designed by noted architect Solon S. Beman and landscape architect Nathan Barrett, Pullman’s 300 acres provided a healthful and attractive environment for Pullman employees and their families.  However, the company’s efforts to closely regulate residents’ behavior quickly began causing frustration. The situation came to a head in 1894 when, in response to an economic downturn, the company laid off workers and reduced wages without reducing the rent, leading to one of the most divisive labor strikes in American history. In addition, Pullman has a historic connection to the first all African-American union in the country—the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, organized by Asa Philip Randolph—which negotiated a major labor agreement with the Pullman Company in 1937 leading to better wages and hours. Many of Pullman’s iconic buildings remain, including the Administration and Factory Complex, the Hotel Florence, and the Greenstone Church, along with the vast majority of its original brick row houses. Establishing Pullman as a National Park would raise awareness of the outsize role Pullman has played in American history, while also serving as a national model for the ability of urban National Parks to revitalize historic neighborhoods.

Campaign Goals

  • Work with the National Parks Conservation Association, elected officials, community organizations, and local residents to designate Pullman as a unit of the National Park System.

Ways To Help

Help us bring greater recognition to Pullman – contact your elected official today!

Donate to our campaign to make Pullman part of the National Park System.

Posted on January 06, 2015

SMeeks in PullmanWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJSandy headshot

Now that everyone is getting back to work after the holiday season, we are still hopeful that President Obama will use the Antiquities Act to designate Pullman Historic District as a National Monument in the coming months.  Sixteen out of nineteen Presidents of both parties have used this authority to protect sites important to our American story since 1906. 

Unfortunately, recent efforts by Congress would impact the ability of President Obama or future presidents to utilize this critical conservation tool.  The National Trust has been working to defend the Antiquities Act since last spring.  

Protection of the Antiquities Act has bipartisan support in Congress, as made clear in a recent article by former Rep. John E. Porter (IL).  As he rightly points out, “With Congress unwilling or unable to advance conservation legislation, the Antiquities Act has become the only meaningful path forward to ensure timely protection of our natural and cultural heritage. Thus it comes as no surprise that supporters of legislation to establish a Pullman National Historic Park in Chicago are now calling on the president to act to see this site preserved, and its story told to future generations.”

Let’s hope the President hears our call and acts soon!  If you haven’t already, sign our petition to show your support! 

Please check back often for additional updates on Pullman Historic District. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on November 25, 2014

Pullmin Admin Building 1977Written by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJsandy headshot

Chicago’s Pullman Historic District is poised to become the next unit of the National Park System, but the designation date remains a mystery.  Recent news articles have indicated that President Obama may designate Pullman as a National Monument as early as Thanksgiving weekend, but we know better than to try to guess what the President is thinking! 

Regardless, we remain hopeful that designation will take place before the end of the year, and White House officials have been quoted saying that Pullman is next in line.  Most recently, President Obama has used the Antiquities Act to designate the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument (Los Angeles) and the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument (Central Pacific Ocean).  Unfortunately, last spring the House of Representatives passed legislation that would curtail the President’s ability to designate new National Monuments by using the Antiquities Act. Since then, the National Trust has been working to defend the Antiquities Act, which has been used by 16 out of 19 Presidents since 1906 to either establish new national monuments or enlarge existing monuments for future generations to enjoy. 

The National Trust remains active in the campaign to encourage elected officials to recognize the rich social history and architectural beauty of Pullman by designating the neighborhood as the 402nd unit of the National Park System, and now have 3,066 signatures on our online petition.  A National Park at Pullman has strong support from the community and elected officials at every level, and we are keeping our fingers crossed for a Presidential visit to Chicago in the very near future!  

Please check back often for additional updates on Pullman Historic District. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on October 15, 2014

Pullman photo frameWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJsandy headshot

It was a beautiful weekend in the Pullman Historic District as over 1,500 people came out for the 41st Annual Historic Pullman House Tour.  National Trust staff were on hand with “Greetings from Pullman” postcards and photo frames, along with copies of Preservation Magazine and NTHP buttons.  We also gathered nearly 700 signatures on our petition to make Pullman a National Park.  The momentum for a National Park for Pullman continues to build!  

Please check back often for additional updates on Pullman Historic District. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on October 06, 2014

Pullman Arcade RowWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJsandy headshot

Join the National Trust this weekend at the 41st Annual Historic Pullman House Tour!  This is your opportunity to see inside eight private homes in the Pullman Historic District.  It’s a rare chance to experience the original housing in Pullman firsthand, including a range of housing types from executive homes to worker cottages. 

The National Trust will host a special reception at the Historic Pullman Center, one of the stops on the tour.  Come by and show your support for the Pullman Historic District becoming a unit of the National Park system!  And if you haven’t already, sign our petition of support.

What: The 41st Annual Historic Pullman House Tour

When: Saturday, October 11, and Sunday, October 12, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Where: The Pullman Historic District

Tickets for the tour are $17 in advance and can be purchased online (strongly recommended), or $20 at the door.

See you there!

Please check back often for additional updates on Pullman Historic District. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


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Linda Yates on January 28, 2014
Growing up in Roseland, Pullman was definitely a huge part of my childhood. I only have the best memories there. Great people who looked out for each other from all parts of the world.
Matt Cole on January 24, 2014
Chicago, for me, is a community of neighborhoods and when people ask me about special places in the city, Pullman is always one of the neighborhoods at the top of the list. There is certainly great architecture to see, but also a diverse mix of people and stories – past and present – that truly bring Pullman life. Pullman certainly has its challenges, but walking through the neighborhood one can certainly see its potential to be a vibrant, beautiful, and equitable anchor for the South Side. Pullman’s designation as a National Historic Park can only speed this process.
Denise Ryan on January 24, 2014
With Chicago’s diverse and rich history, it is long overdue for recognition and representation in the nearly 100 year old National Park System. With the establishment of Pullman National Historical Park, Chicago will join national parks in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, and San Francisco.
Jennifer on January 24, 2014
Pullman is a beautiful community with so many stories to tell. Making it Chicago’s first National Park would bring more recognition and economic development opportunities to one of the city’s hidden gems.

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Help us bring greater recognition to Pullman – contact your elected official today!

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