The Pullman State Historic Site

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George Mortimer Pullman and His Family


Pullman Family Gathering, ca. 1890

George Pullman was born to James Lewis and Emily Caroline Pullman, on March 3, 1831, in Brocton, New York. He made his first fortune as a young man by moving buildings, a trade learned from his father. A train journey from New York to Chicago provided such an uncomfortable night that he resolved to create a better sleeping car. While a brief sojourn to Colorado around 1860 did net him some profit, it was also here that Pullman saw how the workers lived and were treated, something that would later influence his creation of the Town of Pullman.

He continued to experiment and create various sleeping cars with some success and on February 22, 1867 the Illinois legislature granted a charter for the Pullman Palace Car Company. But his designs were not always carried out as he wished as he relied on factories and workmen that were not under his control. By this time his personal life was also evolving and in June of 1867 George married Harriett (Hattie) Amelia Sanger. During the next eight years they had four children; two girls, Florence (1868) and Harriet (1869) and twin sons, George Jr. and Walter Sanger (1875).

By the time his family was complete, George Pullman was ready to take complete control of his railroad car business by buying the land required to create his own factory and a town for his workers. He bought 4,000 acres in Hyde Park Township south of Chicago and in May 1880 ground was broken for the first factory building.

His family lived at 18th Street and Prairie Avenue, in the most opulent house on a street occupied by Marshall Field, Philip D. Armour and other wealthy entrepreneurs of the day.




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of Chicago's Calumet Region