Revisit the past in present-day Pullman

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See for yourself the beauty of history that is Chicago’s Pullman National Preservation District. You are cordially invited to the 40th Annual Historic Pullman House Tour October 12 & 13.

The second weekend in October is always reserved for the spectacular tour of the Pullman neighborhood and homes that were built from 1880-94. Almost 1,000 of the original row houses and a number of major buildings and spaces populate the Pullman community. Several homes and buildings are undergoing restoration at any given time.

The eight homes and four civic buildings chosen for the tour are representative of a cross-section of the housing designed for George M. Pullman by his 26-year-old architect, Solon S. Beman. Not only was Pullman chosen as a 2011 Great Neighborhood, but it is in the running to become a National Park. As a national historic preservation district, Pullman has many houses with facades that have been restored to their original splendor. Other row houses show signs of the previous owner’s trendsetting tastes in upgrading their houses for their times.

In addition to the Historic Tour, this is also the weekend that residents put on a weekend long garage sale to add to the excitement of the event. Parking, refreshments, entertainment, and facilities will all be available at the Pullman Visitor Center at 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave.

Having purchased my Pullman home a year ago, I am very fortunate to be included in the tour. My house is unique in that it originally was similar to the traditional Pullman red brick houses, but one of the owners decided to lighten the appearance of the home by having it covered in a yellow veneer brick.

I signed up to be a tour guide when I moved into my home just so I could see the interiors of the houses on the 39th House Tour. Thus my goal in decorating my home, since all updating and repairs had been completed, is to to leave visitors with an impression of having entered a living work of art. Many of the houses that have been on the tour throughout the years have been tailored to the creative art and instincts of their owners. A visitor is often left breathless upon surveying the beautiful use of color, space, texture and creative found art that is exhibited in many houses on the tour.

For many, the weekend is a nostalgic visit to the area where their grandparents, parents or relatives lived and worked. I wonder if any former Roselandites can recall any of these names from yesteryear. Adducci, Badali, Campagna, Chiaro, Galvan, Panozzo, Frigo, Ostarello, Torres, Oyerverdes, and Carli. They are all names that are part of today’s Pullman and yesteryear. In fact, many of these people have never moved from their Historic Pullman neighborhood.

The 40th Historic Pullman Annual House Tour will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., October 12 and 13, and is co-sponsored by the Pullman Civic Organization and the Historic Pullman Foundation. Tickets are $17 in advance, $17 for seniors, and $20 at the Pullman Visitor Center door, 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave. For more information, call 773-785-8901.

In memoriam

Josephine (Felicicchia) Bertok, 92, formerly of Roseland. Josephine worked as a cashier at National Food Store in Roseland Plaza for many years. Prior to that time, she and her husband, William, and daughter, Barbara, operated the Midwest Grocery Store on the present site of St. Anthony of Padua Church on Kensington Avenue. I, as well as my brother Bill, recall having worked at the grocery store for the Bertoks. Josephine was outgoing and always had a ready smile for everyone she met. She will be missed by her many relatives, which include members of the Felicicchia, Calderone, Badali, and Massacavollo families.

Contact CJ Martello at 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60628;; or leave message at 773-701-6756; Or visit Roseland Roundtable on Facebook.

About C.J. Martello

CJ Martello has returned to his roots as the author of “Petals from Roseland.” After five years of writing his column as a resident of Chicago's North Side, CJ put his money where his heart is and moved to Pullman, near the Roseland area in which he grew up. Having joined the Spaghetti-Os, Veneti nel Mondo and St. Anthony of Padua Parish and being one of the founders of the Roseland Roundtable Facebook page, CJ has become reacquainted with countless friends and acquaintances from his youth. CJ is looking forward to retirement and completing the books he has put on hold, including one that will encompass as much of Roseland's rich, beloved history as possible.

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