Far into the second half of the 20th century, the south side of Chicago was an industrial powerhouse. Meatpacking, luxury trains and steel production were three of the great economic engines driving what seemed at the time, the city’s endless prosperity. However, like most things, the good times would not always last! As such, in the second half of the 20th century, we saw these robust industries shut down resulting in unrivaled unemployment and hardship for the “southsiders”. As part of the demise of the Great Lakes Manufacturing states, Chicago’s Southside would become member of the Midwestern “Rust Belt”.
While sad but true, this tour does not wallow in the collapse of these manufacturing behemoths nor attempt to assign blame for their downfall. Rather, this tour is design to celebrate their achievements and most importantly, illuminate their indelible legacy. Come with us on a journey that not only revisits these historic venues but brings to live two of the Southside’s most important endowments to America’s business and socioeconomic culture.
For many, the name Pullman is synonymous with luxury train cars. While this is accurate, the Pullman legacy extends well beyond these elegant mansions on wheels. As guests will discover, Pullman became a doorway to Civil Rights, Unionization, Planned Communities and so much more.
In addition to exploring the Pullman Neighborhood, guests will also visit another "ghost" of Chicago's manufacturing past - "South Works", Hand in hand with Chicago's train and rail production, steel production was a major industry and employer of the city's south side. Mistakenly, steel production was identified solely with the city of Pittsburgh. But when the “Pittsburgh Plus” was shut down by the Government, the door opened to other markets. At its peak, Chicago’s steel production employed tens of thousands and accounted for roughly 20% of U.S. steel production and "South works" was the largest steel production facility in the world at one time!
This 3 hour tour will journey to the city’s far south side and immerse guests into a thoughtful discussion of Chicago’s inimitable past and endless contributions to the American way of life. It promises to be informative, fun and above all, entertaining.
Pullman National Monument Tour Highlights
- Tour Duration: 3 hours
- Tour begins and ends at - Rock N Roll McDonald’s - 600 North Clark Street - east entrance
- Tours are conducted in comfortable air conditioned/heated coaches - no double-deck buses.
- Sunday afternoon tours only . Tours begin 1:00 pm sharp. Check-in begins at 12:30 pm. Restroom break half way through tour.
- Guests will learn about and view some of the following landmarks; Administration and Factory Complex, Hotel Florence, Arcade Park, Greenstone Church, Pullman Porter Museum & Market Square.
- Reservations made by April 15 are only $28.
- Trivia challenge with prizes.
As a bonus, guests will explore the United State's largest steel manufacturing plant (South Works) just minutes away from the Pullman Monument. The story of the South Works reads as a microcosm of the rust belt. First opened in 1882 as the North Chicago Railway Mill Company, the mill went through several name changes before becoming the U.S. Steel South Works. The placement of the steel mill at the mouth of the Calumet River at Lake Michigan made for easy transport of goods and raw materials. The mill that once produced steel beams for most of Chicago’s skyscrapers and jobs for thousands of area residents was now gone, and with it went the prosperity of South Chicago. Guests will explore this now vacant acreage but discover the impressive redevelopment plans in the works for this prized real estate on the waters of lake Michigan!