A significant event on the Far South Side, the 42nd annual Pullman House Tour has garnered more attention over the years as former area residents felt the need to connect with their roots. They have found that the tour is the perfect time to return to Pullman/Roseland/Kensington for a glimpse into their past.
This year marks the first year that Annual Pullman House Tour will be taking place in the newly proclaimed and designated Pullman National Monument. I mention this as a cautionary statement to those of you have given thought to attending the Pullman House Tour. Due to its designation as part of the National Park Service, today’s Pullman attracts betwee 10 to 30 visitors per day.
I feel safe in saying that the number of this year’s attendees might reach between 3,500 and 4,000. In the past two years, in advance of our becoming the Pullman National Monument, there was an increase of almost 50 percent in attendance.
The advance tickets are $20 and can be requested by calling 773-785-8901 for directions on sending in your reservation monies. Tickets that are paid for will be held at the National Park Information Center which is the old banquet hall of the American Legion at 112th and Cottage Grove. I suggest that tickets be ordered and paid for promptly and reserved for pick-up. Tickets might be available at the door for $23, or $20 for seniors — but there may be a cut-off point.
This year there will be nine resident’s homes and four civic buildings open for public touring. In addition, there will be food, drink, and music. On Sunday there will be a classic car show with forty cars taking part. With any luck, the first floor of the Hotel Florence may be open for viewing. There is also a new business that will have just opened its doors: The Pullman Café. The cafe will be located in the space across from the Greenstone Church on St. Lawrence that was home to Bob’s Sugar Bowl for many years.
One of the major pending additions to Pullman is the Pullman Artspace. The architectural design competition for this space located on Langley south of 111th Street was completed in early August thanks to a grant from the Driehaus Foundation. The design of the architecture firm VOA was selected. The Pullman Artspace will be a mixed use artist live/work space for 35-40 artists with commercial space on the lower floors. A very interesting feature in the design are performing and exhibition spaces which will also be located on the lower level.
Moving the project along was the donation of the block house building at the north end of Langley Avenue by the owner. This generous donation — worth $100,000 — will be used in consideration of a $250,000 matching grant from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.
I was recently questioned by someone who hasn’t been back to Pullman in over twenty years about the fact that Pullman has changed. My answer is that it has changed — for the better. Pullman’s National Monument designation, the Pullman Artspace, the Pullman Café, the expanded number of houses on the Pullman House Tour are all signs of Pullman’s moving forward.
Now that I have retired I have embarked on a new mission to spread the word on Pullman National Monument through a one-man show. Last July I did a well-received performance at the Order Sons of Italy Tinley Park meeting at the Orland Park Civic Center. Next March 3rd, George Pullman’s birthday, I will be giving a performance at the Orland Park Library, 708-428-5100 for details.
In San Francisco the 2015 Fleet Week will take place October 5-11 and I mention it due to the fact that my son, Lt. Cdr. James Martello is coordinating the entire event. In addition, he is among the 100 active duty military personnel selected to take part in the San Francisco Italian Heritage Parade which I understand is quite an honor.
As I write this column, thoughts of Italy are swirling in the back of my mind as I will be travelling there with a group of 35 members of the Veneti nel Mondo. I am looking forward to visiting the places where my mother and father walked before coming to America in the 1920’s. For me it will be a lifelong dream come true and a key event in my retirement.
I look forward to writing of my Italy travels upon my return and my continued involvement in this wonderful community of Pullman and the Pullman National Monument. By the way, I am scheduled to give Pullman Factory Tours for the first and third Sundays until our last tour the first Sunday of November. If you feel like taking a drive down to Pullman, contact me and I can give you a personal tour of Pullman as you connect with your family’s past and what could be your children or grandchildren’s future.
To contact me, write to 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60628; 773-701-6756; or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Roseland Roundtable on Facebook.