Unlike many of Chicago’s historic neighborhoods, this one was planned. The streets of Pullman are the masterpiece of an enterprising railroad car tycoon, George M. Pullman, who wanted to build a thriving community around his business. (If you’re curious about the story behind this historic neighborhood, stop by the old Pullman Visitor Center, where you can load up on literature about the neighborhood’s architecture and history.) Pullman was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971 and, thanks to its history, locals and tourists can take walking tours of the area streets, famous constructions and original homes, which have been renovated to preserve their vintage splendor.
If nothing else, take note of Greenstone Church, dating back to the neighborhood’s birth. The church boasts a manual tracker organ, one of few remaining in the United States. You should also stop by the Clock Tower and Factory where you won’t even have to close your eyes to imagine what life must have been like in early Pullman days. This part of town has such a historic feel that it was used as a film location for the 2002 release of Road to Perdition. How many other Chicago neighborhoods can say their streets have seen the likes of Tom Hanks?
In addition to fame and history, Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood offers a handful of great parks. Gately, for one, sits on former Pullman factory land and offers baseball facilities, a grandstand and locker rooms. This place even has an office building just to keep track of all the youth and adult programs it offers throughout the year. Arcade Park and Pullman Playlot are also brimming with neighborhood history. Both of these recreational spots were donated by the town’s original founder, Pullman himself. Neither is as popular as Gately, but they still supply a tranquil locale to relax, complete with playground equipment, drinking fountains and the occasional outdoor concert.
If there’s one thing Chicago’s south side neighborhoods are known for, it’s their down-home comfort food. Pullman residents and visitors stop by the diner-style Cal Harbor Restaurant and Lounge for a flashback to the 1950s and a menu of olive burgers, corned beef, fluffy pancakes, and steak and eggs combos. In the mood for something quick and easy? Mr. Submarine will take care of your craving. This local chain and neighborhood favorite offers subs that would put both Jimmy Johns and Subway to shame.
Much of the architecture in the Pullman neighborhood was designed by the well-known architect Solon Beman and landscaped by Nathan Barrette in the late 1800s. Thanks to this duo, you’ll find many Queen Anne style homes, as they were a Beman specialty. Original rowhouses still stand proudly on Pullman’s tree-lined streets and they’re in better condition than ever due to recent renovations. Home buyers will love the selection of quaint bungalows, ranch-style homes and two-story brick houses in Pullman. The lots here offer more space than most Chicago neighborhoods and many have the added bonus of a garage. Three-bedroom single-family homes are the most popular properties in Pullman and are generally priced in the low to mid $100,000s. It may be a challenge to come by something smaller, but the neighborhood’s market of condos and multiunit residences are very affordable – priced between $50,000 and $175,000. Most lots in Pullman max out in the $200,000 range.