The Pullman Era


Creating the Company Town

The Arcade building, with its European-style design, provided a wealth of services for residents. (CHS ICHi-01889)

The Arcade building, with its European-style design, provided a wealth of services for residents. (CHS ICHi-01889)

In 1880, after purchasing 4,000 acres of land near Lake Calumet, Pullman began building his model company town named for himself in Hyde Park (then a suburb south of Chicago). He hired architect Solon Beman and landscape designer Nathan Barrett to develop a place where "all that would promote the health, comfort, and convenience of a large working population would be conserved, and . . . many of the evils to which they [laborers] are ordinarily exposed [are] made impossible." Pullman differed from other communities in that it was privately owned, a distinguishing feature with both positive and negative aspects.

The Pullman Bank (above) was just one of many businesses housed in the Arcade. (CHS G1988.0426 Box 1, F.3 Pullman Community Collection Folder: Buildings)

The Pullman Bank (above) was just one of many businesses housed in the Arcade. (CHS G1988.0426 Box 1, F.3)

From the outside, the town of Pullman was a wonder. All buildings were made of brick; the nicest homes, which accommodated managers, resembled English row houses. Pullman's large Arcade building--which featured a restaurant, a bank, a library, a post office, a theater, and numerous shops--foreshadowed the modern shopping center. Unlike the city's working-class neighborhoods, in Pullman the shops were set apart from the residences, which George Pullman felt created a more tranquil environment. Not far from the Arcade sat the Hotel Florence, named after Pullman's daughter, where the town's many visitors stayed while viewing the great model city.

Solon S. Beman (above) designed the town of Pullman, along with the landscape architect Nathan Barrett. (CHS ICHi-09501)

Solon S. Beman (above) designed the town of Pullman, along with the landscape architect Nathan Barrett. (CHS ICHi-09501)


Al Capone
Black Sox
Century of Progress
Chicago Fire
World's Columbian Expo
Parades, Protest and Politics
The Pullman Era
Pullman Photos
Pullman Bibliography
The Stockyards
Fort Dearborn

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