site preserves surviving portions of the industrial complex developed
in the early 1880s by George M. Pullman (1831-1897) to build luxury
railroad passenger cars. Noted architect Solon S. Beman designed
the factory building to be both utilitarian and aesthetically pleasing,
in keeping with Pullman’s belief that environment was a crucial
force in shaping workers’ character. The plant was the centerpiece
of a company-owned town planned under Pullman’s direction,
complete with workers’ residences, church, market, and recreational
facilities. Pullman’s dream of a model town molding industrious
and contented workers failed, and in 1894 his embittered laborers
went on strike. American Railway Union workers staged actions in
sympathy, leading to the use of federal troops.
Hotel Florence, named for Pullman’s daughter, was constructed
as lodging for visiting businessmen and dignitaries. The original
portion, built in 1881, is a Queen Anne-style brick and limestone
building with a large front veranda. The first floor contained a
lobby, women’s parlor, men’s reading and billiards rooms,
saloon, dining room and kitchen facilities. On the second, third,
and fourth floors were the guestrooms and suites. An extensive annex
was constructed in 1914.
1880 car manufacturing plant was a 700-foot long Queen Anne-influenced
structure of brick with limestone accents. The building consisted
of a central core, topped by a clock tower, housing the administrative
offices, with construction of the passenger cars taking place in
long single-story wings that extended to the north and south. In
1907 an addition was made to the south wing for the fabrication
of metal railroad cars.
The factory building and Hotel Florence are located within the
Pullman Historic District, which in 1969 was placed on the National
Register of Historic Places.
In December 1998 an arson fire gutted the south manufacturing wing
and the central administration building; the north wing was less
severely damaged. The heavily damaged 1907 south wing was demolished
in May 1999.
The Pullman State Historic Site is undergoing long-term
restoration -- as construction schedules permit, an interim volunteer-based
interpretive program provides tours by special arrangement or by
staff as available, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Calling
ahead is recommended. The site also features special interest tours
of the factory site, regular temporary exhibits, participates in
or co-host a number of special events and co-sponsors community
programs for all ages and backgrounds.
Historic Pullman Garden Club, a non profit organization made up
of interested local citizens, supports Pullman State Historic Site
programs by raising funds through its special events and sales of
For more information on the site or a
complete listing of programs and events, or to visit the Pullman
Virtual Museum, visit www.pullman-museum.org