Thursday, November 1, 2018

Chicago Mag: Pullman’s Renaissance #Ward09 #BuildingwithBeale

Published on October 26th, 2018 I'm sorry that I only found out about it recently. A lot of good things is going on in that part of the city.
In the coming weeks, construction crews will begin meticulously restoring the roof and upper floor windows of the landmark Pullman Clock Tower and Administration Building, the former headquarters of the company that developed the neighborhood and forever changed rail travel in the 19th century.

Nearly lost in an arson attack in 1998, the structure is being overhauled for its next life as the visitor center for the Pullman National Monument, Chicago’s first ever site in the national park system. The roof work, funded by a $2.2 million grant from the National Park Service, is expected to take six months.

Construction on the old administrative building comes more than three years after President Obama dedicated the site as a national monument, setting into motion a restoration that Pullman residents and preservationists have long called for. According to Kathleen Schneider, the first superintendent of Pullman National Monument, there are a mix of public and private funds earmarked for the restoration, including more than $13 million from the National Park Foundation.

“We’re only three years old with a staff of three people,” Schneider says of the new national monument. “Although it may appear that not a lot is happening, we’ve been working hard with the State of Illinois and community on the 2020 opening of the visitors center.”

Schneider says the site’s educational programming will center on Pullman’s legacy as a planned neighborhood and as an integral site in the labor and civil rights movements. Specifically, the visitor center will spotlight the internal clashes that led to the Pullman Strike of 1894 and formation of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

As for community partners, Schneider highlights the Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) group, a nonprofit developer that has helped bring investment to the greater Pullman area in recent years. While the Clock Tower’s restoration represents a symbolic rebirth of the historic district, newer facilities including a Whole Foods distribution center, an expanded greenhouse by produce supplier Gotham Greens, and soap maker Method have reinvigorated the neighborhood’s identity as an industrial hub.
Great to see the progress in nearby Pullman.