Pullman Factory & Hotel Florence
11111 South Forrestville Avenue
Chicago, IL 60628
Site is closed for renovations. Limited tours of the Factory complex are available. Call for information. 773/660-2341.
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The 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.
The 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.
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.
The factory building and Hotel Florence are located within the Pullman Historic District, which was placed o the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. The site features special interest tours of the factory and hotel, regular temporary exhibits, participates in or co-sponsors a number of special events and community programs for all ages and backgrounds.
The 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 gift items.
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.
The Pullman State Historic Site can be reached directly by personal vehicle (including pedal-driven vehicles) and by Chicago public transportation. Visiting the Pullman State Historic Site by train is the most authentic way to arrive at Pullman.
Parking - accessible parking for personal vehicles, vans, and chartered buses is available at the Pullman Car Works parking lot. The entrance to the parking lot is on the south side of 111th Street at 610 East 111th street. The grounds and exteriors of all historic industrial structures at the Pullman Car Works are accessible by ramps and paved surfaces, as is the Pullman Administration Building, which houses the Pullman National Monument (National Park Service) Visitor Center, museum gallery, and offices.
The Hotel Florence north of 111th street, has limited street parking for personal vehicles. Public sidewalks at the corners have ramps, and the Hotel Florence offers a ramp with handrails at the southern end of the Hotel to reach the Hotel’s veranda. All doors to the Hotel Florence have ramps and push button door openers. Pullman is a vibrant residential neighborhood, so please respect residents’ parking spaces in front of their houses.
Restrooms - Accessible public restrooms are available onsite in the Pullman National Monument (National Park Service) Visitor Center and in the Hotel Florence. (The Hotel Florence currently is closed to visitors.)
Service animals are welcome at Pullman, and water is available via a drinking fountain in the Pullman National Monument Visitor Center.
Tours - Guided introductory tours of the Pullman Car Works are led by National Park Service rangers according to a set schedule or, by prior arrangement, by the State Historic Site staff for specialized interests. An average tour commonly lasts 45 minutes, but can be tailored to a visiting group’s subject of interest and preferences.