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Pullman Tour celebrates an urban-design gem

Here we are headed into fall, another seasonal change — which we know we have no control over, other than doing our part to lessen climate change. Autumn in Pullman is an interesting season because a whole new view of the community is revealed to us.

As the leaves change color and fall from the trees, decorating the ground in lyrical shades of sienna, auburn, red and yellow, we begin to see more clearly the urban masterpieces created by architect Solon S. Beman and landscape designer Nathan F. Barrett. Beman’s Queen-Anne style was exactly what George Pullman wanted to see. And Barrett’s work fulfilled the unity of vision that Pullman wanted to achieve. These elements added to the town of Pullman’s utopian relevance to 1880s society.

I tell people that if they can’t make it to Pullman during the summer months, fall is the next best time to visit. The visual appeal of Pullman during autumn can’t be denied, with all the trees lining the streets beginning to change into their barren winter wear. The architecture hidden throughout the leafy season becomes visible without any effort. In the fall, the unity of community’s design really through. The other major reason to visit Pullman in the fall is our Annual Pullman House Tour.

The 46th Annual Pullman House Tour will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct 12 and 13. Pullman’s residents restore their homes to their tastes on the inside while on the outside they meet preservation standards. The goal is to have the front of the house resemble the 1800s as best as possible when any restoration or replacement work is done on the property.

Each year, somewhere between seven and 10 homes take part in the tour. Some of the owners have opted to completely redo their interiors in a more contemporary fashion while others have decided to rehab their homes to more closely match the original interior design. In either case: the work has been done in a loving fashion with their family’s comfort as a main consideration.

In addition to homes, community buildings in Pullman will be on display. The Florence Pullman Lowden Community Center will be open as well as the Historic Pullman Visitor’s Center and perhaps the Florence Hotel.

Pullman’s Florence Hotel is often remembered for the wonderful weekend brunches and weddings that were held in its dining rooms. When I began writing this column back in 2008, I was more often asked if the hotel was still serving the brunches. At that point in time, it had been 15 years since the brunch had been served. Now, after having written this column for 10 years, that number has gone up to 25 years since weekend brunch was officially last served in Pullman’s Hotel Florence — unbelievable!

Since 2015, when President Obama signed the proclamation making Pullman a National Monument of the National Parks, Rangers have had an office in the Pullman Visitor’s Center. The Ranger’s have many duties, including operating the reception desk to provide visitors with information, directions and maps along with historical facts. They also conduct tours when requested by visitors to the center.

The House Tour Weekend will include tours of the Pullman National Monument, music at the Arcade Park bandstand, food, an antique car show, garage sales and more. Proceeds from the weekend will help fund restoration and preservation projects in the Historic Pullman District. Ticket information for the event is available by calling the Visitor Center at 773-785-8901 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The Kickstarter Project for my book — “Petals From Roseland: Fond Memories of Chicago’s Roseland, Pullman, and Kensington Neighborhoods” — is over and, unfortunately, I was not able to meet my goal by the deadline. All funds contributed have been returned to the donors. I am considering my options before moving forward with the printing of my book in 2020.

Contact me at CJ Martello, 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, IL 60628; 773-701-6756; or cjfranoi@yahoo.com.

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.