Grand opening of The Pullman National Monument is set for Labor Day Weekend
BY TIA CAROL JONES
Visitors who have been interested in seeing all the renovations at the Pullman National Monument will get their chance at the grand opening, which is set for the Labor Day Weekend, Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 4-5.
Pullman National Monument, located at 111th and Cottage Grove, was established by President Barack Obama in 2015. It is part of the National Park Service. It was established to preserve, protect, and interpret the stories of America’s first planned, model industrial community. It will tell the stories of the important events that took place there that shaped American history.
Teri Gage is the superintendent of the Pullman National Monument. She has worked for the National Park Service for 33 years and for the last 15 months Gage has been at the Pullman National Monument. The Pullman National Monument tells the story of the important events that took place there that shaped American
history – industrialization, rail travel, labor rights and civil rights.
During the last year and a half there was a transformation of the Pullman National Monument. The Clock Tower Building, located
at 11001 S. Cottage Grove, was renovated and turned into a Visitor Center. The Factory site, which operates as Pullman State Historic Site is owned by the State of Illinois. It has undergone a transformation with soil remediation, landscaping and exhibits with green spaces for visitors. In all, there is 12 acres of property.
“In my 33 years with the National Park Service, this is the first time I’ve worked at a park that has had such overwhelming public support,” Gage said. Gage credited the work of the National Park Foundation, the philanthropic partner of the National Park Service. The National Park Foundation raised $10 million for the Pullman project, with the generosity of several donors. Gage also credited the City of Chicago, 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and The National Park Conservation Association.
To celebrate the grand opening of the Pullman National Monument, Historic Pullman Foundation made arrangements for historic Pullman rail cars to be at the 1111th Street Train Station. There will be timed tickets available for people to take tours.
The State of Illinois will open Hotel Florence for tours of the building. Park ranger programs also will take place on the Factory site on Saturdays and Sundays. There will be walks through the community.
The A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum will host an Urban Renaissance festival on Monday, Sept. 6. There will be shuttle buses that will run a continuous loop from 103rd to 115th St. so people can access the site and get around the neighborhood.
Gage described the Pullman community as vibrant. National Parks are economic generators, they create jobs, create tourism revenue, as well as the local businesses surrounding the parks.
“We will support and sustain an ongoing revitalization of the Pullman community,” she said, adding Beale and David Doig, President of the Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, have been working to bring back the economic vitality to the neighborhood.
The Clock Tower will be open seven days a week, with tours at the site. Rangers will help visitors connect with the partners at the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, the Historic Pullman Foundation and the Bielenberg Historic Pullman House Foundation.
For more information about the Pullman National Monument, visit www.nps. gov/pull.