Reporting Rob Johnson
(CBS) — It is one of Chicago’s old neighborhoods, rich with history.
It’s a place made famous by the Pullman Railcar Co., the clock tower, and of course the Pullman porters.
But what is happening there now will help Pullman define its future, CBS 2’s Rob Johnson reports.
Onstage at the Goodman Theatre right now is “Pullman Porter Blues,” the story of the Pullman porters as tried to unionize in the 1930s, eventually becoming the first African-American labor union.
In real life the Pullman Palace Car Co. was created by George Pullman 50 years earlier. And with it, he built a town, with an initial population of 2,500, nearly all Pullman employees and filled with row houses, many of which stand to this day.
Tom McMahon is a retired Chicago police captain – and Pullman tour guide extraordinaire. He calls the neighborhood “a very orderly and sustainable community.”
Pullman boasts historical landmarks like the Hotel Florence, the clock tower, and the Greenstone Church. They are now on the verge of being included in the national park system. All it needs is the signature of the president, who once was a community organizer not far from Pullman.
“He’s well-versed on what we are doing down here,” McMahon says.
For a neighborhood so steeped in history, Pullman is now talking about the future — what with the opening of a new Walmart this month and plans for a 150,000-square-foot plant from Method, which makes home cleaning products.
From his perch atop nearby U.S. Bank, David Doig — former head of the Chicago Park District and now president of Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives — can see the daily progress. Looking ahead, he sees the success story only growing.
“We’ve got another probably 20-30 acres for retail,” he says.
To learn more about Pullman, click here.