As the historic Pullman District approaches its second anniversary as an officially designated national monument, the National Park Service has released a lengthy 66-page document detailing various design concepts for the redevelopment and ongoing preservation of the nearly 13-acre Pullman National Monument site.
The agency has offered case studies on a few different redevelopment scenarios for the site, with everything ranging from simply maintaining the current condition of the site while converting the historic Administration Clock Tower Building into a new visitor center all the way to a full transformations of the site that would restore it to different period conditions.
Of the three different scenarios detailed, the National Park Service suggests that it favors the idea of restoring the national monument site in a way that reflects how it looked and functioned during the era of George Pullman (1880s through 1890s). Another design alternative could see the site transformed to reflect the factory modernization era during the lead up to the Second World War.
In the long document, the National Park Service summarizes the goals for the concept that would restore the site to the period of George Pullman:
This concept seeks to recall architectural aspects of the factory site as originally built in 1880 and the landscape design as approved by George Pullman himself. Mimicking the original plan for the factory site, this conceptual design features an interpretive reconstruction of the roundabout for pedestrian use at East 111th Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue with a semicircular footpath leading to the front door of the Administration Clock Tower Building.
This alternative also acknowledges the exceptional impact of the 1894 strike at the Pullman Palace Car Factory on American labor history, while noting that most of the actions associated with the strike took place a short distance to the south in the Arcade Building. The areas of the site that were involved during the strike would be refined.
This design alternative would also see some big landscape improvements with the addition of new foliage, period lighting, an outdoor space for programming, and the reconstruction of the historic Pullman sign.
There’s a lot more to the plan, but before any big decision is made, the National Park Service is asking that residents provide input. Those looking to learn more and comment on the plan can find additional materials and a comment form on the National Park Service’s website.
- Pullman Factory Site Conceptual Design [National Park Service]
- Imagining a Future Pullman National Park Campus [Curbed Chicago]
- Looking Back at Pullman, Chicago's First National Monument [Curbed Chicago]