11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Pullman Historic District

Year Listed: 1999
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Threat: Deterioration, Neglect

Significance

Built in the 1880s by railcar magnate George Mortimer Pullman as a utopia for his employees, the town of Pullman had it all: homes, shops, the handsome Market Hall, a man-made lake, a town square and the beautiful Hotel Florence. Once the most elaborate industrial complex of the 19th century and the site of one of the turning points of the modern labor movement, the complex was ravaged by arson which destroyed portions of the historic landmark buildings and its signature clock tower. The buildings are presently owned by the State of Illinois, but without a public-private partnership to find and fund an economically feasible reuse, the clock tower and factory complex that anchor Pullman and its rich industrial heritage could be lost forever. A joint governor-mayor task force has provided recommendations for the stabilization, development and re-use of the district. $13 million has been committed to stabilize the factory buildings, to restore Hotel Florence, and to restore the Market Hall; these projects are making good progress. In addition, neighborhood preservation groups have published and distributed homeowner's guides designed to encourage best practices.