The Pullman Historic District, located 16 miles south of downtown Chicago, was the first model, planned industrial community in the United States. The district is significant for its historical origins in the Pullman Company, one of the most famous company towns in the United States and scene of the violent 1894 Pullman strike. It was built for George Pullman as a place to produce the famous Pullman sleeping cars. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969, declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970, and named a National Monument in 2015, making it a component of the National Park System.
Pullman is a unique community that blends the history from many different disciplines in a fascinating touring experience. Visiting this area today brings you into that history and also into a new sense of place, seeing the community as it is today.
Greenstone Church Clock Tower/Administration Building
We will start our tour at the Historic Pullman Visitor Center where we will:
watch a fifteen-minute introductory audio/video presentation that gives an historical overview of the town of Pullman and the preservation activity in the community today
view an on-going exhibit of historic photos and artifacts: Pullman . . . The Man, The Car, The Company, The Model Town, The Strike, The Landmark Community in Chicago
stop by the sales desk where you can purchase select books and gifts related to the Pullman area
The Visitor Center is fully handicapped accessible. They can also provide amplification devices for the hearing impaired to be used during the video presentation.
Then we will take a docent-led, approximately two-hour, guided walk of the town and learn about the history of Pullman, its architecture and the landmark community today. During the tour, we will experience a walk back in time - almost all of the original 1880s housing and many original public buildings comprise the district today. We will learn the story of the town's beginnings, its history, and the restoration work being done today.
The walking portion of the tour will be in a small geographical area (4 x 4 blocks) and will be a look at the exterior of the buildings only (the visitor center is the only building where we will be going inside). If the weather is inclement, at the discretion of the PLATO trip leader, the tour will be given on the bus. But we will try to make it a walking tour if at all possible so dress accordingly (fyi, the average high temperature for Chicago for April 8 is 56 degrees).
Hotel Florence then and now
To read more information about the history of the Pullman area in preparation for the day, see Pullman Resources.
Lunch is on your own. You will have two options for lunch as the bus will make two stops. You will have 1 1/2 hours for lunch.
LUNCH OPTION 1 (11:20 AM)
Our first stop will be on 53rd street in the Hyde Park section of Chicago where you will have your choice of many restaurants within a three block radius (see 53rd Street Restaurant Map).
- Valois Restaurant - 1518 E 53rd St - A counter-service smorgasbord of American comfort food served in a casual, muraled space. A favorite of Barack Obama. Cash only.
- The Promontory- 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West - Stylish, modern eatery with open-hearth cooking & a conceptual menu. Serves a weekend brunch.
- Mellow Yellow Restaurant – 1508 East 53rd St. - Casual spot featuring American fare, crêpes & a full bar in nostalgic '70s wood & brick digs.
- Sit Down Cafe – 1312 E 53rd St, - Sleek, stylish cafe featuring pizza, sushi & sandwiches plus a full bar, smoothies & coffee drinks.
- Cafe 53 – 1369 E 53rd St - Small, laid-back coffeehouse pairing its java with sandwiches, ice cream & free WiFi in cozy digs.
- Cedars Mediterranean Kitchen – 1508 East 53rd St. - Casual spot featuring American fare, crêpes & a full bar in nostalgic '70s wood & brick digs.
- Pockets – 1307 E. 53rd St. - Pita sandwiches & salads are the mainstays at this casual counter-service chain.
- Red Snapper Fish, Chicken and Grill – 1418 E 53rd St,. - Serving freshly prepared seafood and chicken.
- Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria– 5215 S Harper Ave. - Rustic-chic setting for house-brewed beers, pizza, burgers & bar food with TVs & a seasonal patio.
- Pizza Capri - 1501 East 53rd Street - Thin-crust pies & Italian sandwiches, wraps, pastas & salads in a casual setting.
- Native Foods Café - 1518 East Harper Court - Chain for creative, Californian-style vegan fare, including mock-meat dishes, ordered at a counter.
- Ja’ Grill Hyde Park – 1510 East Harper Court - Curries, jerks & other Jamaican specialties in an upscale-casual space.
- Nandos - 1447 E 53rd St. - Afro-Portuguese chain restaurant serving flame-grilled chicken in spicy chili sauce.
- Boston Market - 1424 E 53rd St. - Counter-serve chain dishing up American comfort fare such as rotisserie chicken in a simple setting.
- Roti Modern Mediterranean - 1526 E. 53rd St. - Quick bite, healthy options, hip.
- McDonalds - 5200 S Lake Park Ave W
- Five Guys - 1456 E 53rd St
LUNCH OPTION 2 (11:35 AM)
The bus will then make a stop at Nella Pizza e Pasta which is about a mile from the 53rd street restaurant cluster. We will eat at a group table.
Nella Pizza e Pasta - 1125 E 55th St - Neapolitan pies from a special oven, pasta, antipasti & salads pair with cocktails & Cal-Ital wines.
Please Note: The Pullman Historic District Field Trip bus is shared with PLATO members and guests participating in the Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner theater trip. Each trip is allotted 28 seats.
Bear in mind that our boarding bus route is like Madison Metro or any other municipal bus service. Please arrive early at your boarding stop so you don’t miss the bus. When everyone is aboard and seated, we leave. Arrive early and we will all arrive in Chicago on time to begin our adventure.
– Don’t be late. We can wait just 5 minutes at any one location.
– Pack water bottles and snacks for sustenance on the trip.
7:30 AM Bus arrives at Oakwood University Woods to begin boarding.
7:55 AM Arrive at Capitol Lakes
8:10 AM Arrive at East Towne Sears
8:20 AM Depart for Chicago (or sooner if everyone is aboard)
11:20 AM Arrive 53rd Street Hyde Park Restaurant Cluster
11:35 AM Arrive Nella Pizza e Pasta
12:50 PM Bus pick up at 53rd Street Restaurant Cluster
1:00 PM Bus pick up at Nella Pizza e Pasta and depart for Pullman
1:30 PM Arrive Pullman Visitor Center for tour
4:30:PM Depart Pullman Visitor Center
5:00 PM Pick up theater group at Court Theatre and depart for Madison
Madison Return Schedule (Estimated)
8:00 PM East Towne Sears
8:20 PM Capitol Lakes
8:40 PM Oakwood University Woods
Non-Member Policy. Members must register their guests. Each PLATO member is entitled to bring one non-member guest per trip.
Non-member guests pay an additional $10.00 registration fee. PLATO Membership is $60.00/year
Members may bring more than one guest if seats are available. Check with trip organizer near the registration deadline date.
Accessibility Policy. On the Badger Bus, you must be able to climb steps to board and exit the bus. If you need assistance, we recommend that you bring a friend to give you a hand.
Pullman Historic District Trip Mail-In Registration Form (including instructions)
For further information: Contact Pullman Historic District trip organizer, Bob Shaw, email@example.com and 608-255-3486