Like bison in Yellowstone, architecture is what draws outsiders to Pullman—of the 900 or so brick homes that old George P. built for his railroad town, almost all remain standing in what’s today a quiet, bucolic little neighborhood. This spring the National Park Service was investigating the idea of turning Pullman into a national park, which would make it the second in Illinois, after Abraham Lincoln’s home in Springfield. It’s an intriguing concept that’d highlight both Pullman’s architecture (those old houses, the famous factory clock tower) and its history—as the site of, among many other things, the founding of the nation’s first African-American labor union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. A national park would also help generate economic activity in an area that hasn’t had enough. A Walmart is scheduled to open in Pullman this summer, and while that won’t add much to the neighborhood architecturally, it speaks to its history—the company’s labor practices are something George Pullman could probably get behind.
Best Potential National Park