Berwyn's Arts Blog
Friday, October 07, 2005
Pullman House Tour
My wife and I are going Saturday. We have been before. Very cool houses with a fantastic history. Hopefully, this walk can give ideas for our own Berwyn Bungalow Walk to be held in June, 2006.

Seven 1880s homes on Pullman tour
October 7, 2005
BY BILL CUNNIFF Homelife Reporter
Seven restored homes -- built in the 1880s -- will be open for viewing this weekend during the annual Historic Pullman District housewalk.
The village of Pullman was built by rail car magnate George M. Pullman as a planned community of residences, shops, schools, recreational facilities and industry to accompany his Palace Car Co.
Pullman's company was noted for its elegant railroad sleeping cars. When a Pullman car was attached to President Lincoln's funeral train, demand for the company's sleeping cars grew quickly.
Pullman cars were quite expensive, sometimes several times the price of other railway cars. But the elegant cars had sleeper compartments with fine sheets and pillows, and they were set up with connectors between cars -- to keep out wind and noise.
Pullman was built for workers to escape the dangers of the city's industrial workplace. The village provided a clean, safe and aesthetically pleasing environment for the workers to live in and work. Then, in return, George Pullman could recruit the best craftsmen from around the world to work and reside in what was billed as "The World's Most Perfect Town."
Unskilled laborers resided in rather modest cottages (14-foot wide, but with outstanding amenities for their time). The homes were superior to that available to the working class elsewhere. Skilled laborers had larger cottages. And executives lived in much larger homes.
Homes on tour will include executive residences, skilled craftsman homes and worker cottages. Sometimes, researchers find the names and occupations of the homes' original owners.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets are $18, and $15 for seniors.
Tours begin at the Historic Pullman Visitor Center, 11141 S. Cottage Grove.
A 20-minute introductory video will be shown every half hour.
It's the 32nd annual tour. Today, Pullman is a diverse neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. Residents are focused on preservation.
The Pullman Historic District contains nearly 1,000 of the original residential structures of the town and many significant public buildings -- all designed by architect Solon S. Beman between 1880 and 1893. The Pullman Historic District has been a city, state and national Historic Landmark since 1972.
Historic Pullman District housewalk, (773) 785-8901, or visit
Each residence was provided with gas and water, access to complete sanitary facilities and abundant quantities of sunlight and fresh air. These factors brought Pullman to be voted the world's most perfect town at the Prague International Hygienic and Pharmaceutical Exposition of 1896.
"I have always held that people are very greatly influenced by their physical surroundings," George Pullman once said. "Take the roughest man, and bring him into a room elegantly carpeted and furnished, and the effect upon his bearing is immediate. I have faith in the educational and refining influences of beauty."
Pullman employees built the town. The homes were made of brick fashioned from clay found on the site. Pullman shops produced component parts used throughout the building of the town. This project was one of the first applications of industrial technology and mass production in the construction of a large-scale housing development.
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