Creating the Company Town
The South Factory wing is seen here from across the lake. It was recently damaged in a fire, but state funds are being made available for restoration. (CHS G1982.157, Box 1, P63322)
Pullman residents enjoyed the manmade Lake Vista and plenty of parks and promenades, features typically missing from Chicago's working-class neighborhoods. Lawns, buildings, and paved streets were meticulously maintained courtesy of the Pullman Palace Car Company. Pullman equipped all houses and apartments with state-of-the-art features, including gas, indoor plumbing, and regular garbage removal. Though some criticized Pullman, saying the residences all looked alike, virtually everyone praised the town's cleanliness. By 1893, the town's population had grown to approximately 12,000, with more than 6,000 of its residents employed in Pullman factories; nonemployed family members comprised the remaining population.
Pullman visitors marveled at the unified appearance and beauty of the town and its buildings. Shown above are row houses on the east side of St. Laurence Street, just south of 111th Street. (CHS G1988.0426 Box 2)
The town of Pullman was a model of financial efficiency. Pullman demanded that the company return an 8-percent profit and the town return a 6-percent profit. He designed the town so that he could profit from waste and excess materials. Scrap wood from the factory fueled the Corliss engine, which in turn powered Pullman's various machines. The engine's exhaust filled Lake Vista and workers used the ice from the lake on Pullman cars. Similarly, the Corliss engine pumped sewage from the town to a nearby Pullman-owned farm, where it was used as fertilizer for produce that would be sold back in the town.
Al Capone - Chicago Black Sox - A Century of Progress - Chicago Fire
The World's Columbian Exposition - Parades, Protests and Politics
The Pullman Era - The Stockyards
Fort Dearborn (Coming Soon!)
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