My July column focus on the Pullman Reunion Picnic, which we all look forward to on the first Saturday of every August. However, I’ve just received notice that, due to unforeseen issues, this year’s picnic has been cancelled. The people I’ve spoken to have said that they plan on coordinating next year’s picnic, but we’ll verify that next year as the event approaches.
I apologize if anyone has made plans to attend this year’s picnic, however there is still much to see in Pullman. The neighborhood has become an official national park and is now known as the Pullman National Historical Park. There are maps for self-guided tours at both the National Park Visitor’s Center and the Exhibit Hall which is located across from the former Pullman Stables on 112th Street and Cottage Grove. The current exhibit at the Exhibit Hall celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Historic Pullman Foundation.
Having lived in Pullman for the past 11 years, I’ve taken many walks with my dogs, my friends and my family. As a former tour guide and an actor having created a one-man George Pullman show, it never ceases to amaze me how many new and interesting things are happening in Pullman. With the warm weather, more people are out walking in the neighborhood and checking out the changes that have taken place through the past winter and spring seasons.
I’ve talked with neighbors concerning the Pullman Civic Organization meetings and the topics discussed varied from keeping the Pledge of Allegiance as part of the monthly meetings to the planning for new Pullman businesses such as the Marriott is building a 101-room hotel on 111th. Then, there’s the neighboring business which will be the Veteran Roasters. The brewpub and café is partnering with community development group Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives to build a two-story restaurant with a rooftop terrace and skyline views. It will include seating for 75 to 100 customers as well as a drive-thru. The restaurant is slated to break ground next year with an opening date in 2024.
The real estate market is booming in Pullman, with houses selling shortly after they’ve been listed. It’s still the vibrant neighborhood it was when I moved here in 2012 and continues to grow and offer a wide range of benefits.
When you do plan a visit to Pullman, you might to consider a visit to St. Anthony’s Church on Kensington, which is still a vital part of the neighborhood. Fr. Mark Krylowicz has been pastor there for many years and has done a great job keeping the church as beautiful as it was when it was rededicated in 1961. The current parishioners, both old and new, maintain a vested interest and take part in parish activities by volunteering and willingly giving what financial support they can.
One interesting anecdote is based on the fact that a belltower, part of Fr. Nalin’s original concept for the church building, did not make it into the final plans. Since there were no actual bells, an automatic church chime system was installed and, unfortunately, went silent in 2019. St. Anthony’s, being somewhat short of money on a regular basis, couldn’t afford to repair them at the time and then the pandemic struck.
This year, funds became available to repair the chimes and, one Sunday morning as I was walking my dogs Antonio Michelangelo and Mona Lisa, I suddenly heard the Ave Maria chime out over Pullman. I immediately knew that Fr. Mark had given life to the precious St. Anthony chimes. I thought it was glorious and smiled wide at the beautiful sounds. Unfortunately, Fr. Mark had to deal with some neighbors who had moved into the area within the past few years and had a little problem appreciating the 7:30 a.m. chimes sounding of the Ave Maria!
The Pullman Artspace at 111th and Langley Avenues has an art showing and sale on weekends. I can personally attest to the fact that the residents of the Artspace are some very talented artists. Originally, I was concerned that the artists wouldn’t be to talented, but let me tell you I was mistaken. If you have the opportunity to view the artist’s work, it would definitely be a benefit to you.
If you are looking for something to eat, Pullman has a plaza neighboring the Bishop Ford Freeway/I-90 on 111th Street. New businesses include Lexington Betty’s Smokehouse, Wingstop, Potbelly, and Culver’s for your ice cream delight. This plaza is directly across the street from the police station. The new 101-room Marriott and the Veteran Roaster businesses will be directly west of these existing plaza.
As I began this article with the fact that there will be no Pullman Reunion Picnic this year, I’d like to also make mention of the Pullman House Project. Many of you will recall the Sessions Restaurant/Pullman Executive Club at 111th and St. Lawrence Avenues. The building is approaching complete restoration and has taken on a new life as the Pullman Club coffee shop. An outstanding feature of this well-thought-out restoration is the addition of a beautifully appointed outdoor terrace facing the Pullman National Historical Park. If you really want to dwell on the good old days of your connections to Pullman, a relaxing time on the terrace on a beautiful August day would be hard to beat.
My book “Petals from Roseland: Fond Memories of Chicago’s Roseland, Pullman and Kensington Neighborhoods” has sold more than 800 copies since it became available. Copies are available from me at $20 + $5 s&h. Contact me at email@example.com or 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60628; res: 773-701-6756. My book is also available at D & D Foods, 1023 S. Halsted, Chicago Heights, at Bookie’s New and Used Books, 10324 S. Western Ave, Chicago and at Miles Books, 2819 Jewett Ave., Highland, Indiana.