About The Photos

Pullman Factory Building Circa 1972

Pullman Factory Building Circa 1972


The Pullman neighborhood is located on the far south-east side of Chicago around 111th St, just west of Lake Calumet. The town of Pullman was created in 1880 by George Pullman, as the first model planned industrial town in the United Sates, for the Pullman Palace Car Company, which manufactured and operated railroad cars. Its plan centered around the Pullman Company’s office and factory buildings, while the residential sections were housing for its employees. To Pullman, it was a social experiment and business venture, conceived to uplift his employees lives, and enhance his bottom line. Even though the town had high quality housing, with indoor plumbing and gas, as well as pretty landscaping, to his employees the  general air of paternalism   that suffused the town was often too much to bear.


I was drawn inexorably to Pullman because of its central importance to the Labor and Civil Rights Movements, along with its unique town planning and architecture. I have been attracted to the area for a very long time—I have photographed here informally since the 1970’s. When I learned that President Obama had designated the Pullman neighborhood a national monument, I realized the time was right for me to photograph the area in depth, because things were inevitably going to change. I have created a glimpse of how it was, how it is now, and a preview of what may be. These are my impressions taken as an appreciative visitor, not as a resident.


 A common thread that I explore through much of my work is how communities evolve over time. I do not know what is to come for Pullman. How will it handle the increase in visitors due to its National Monument status? Will it experience gentrification and how will that play out? Can well-paying jobs return to Pullman, as well as the surrounding areas, to support economic development? It is one of the friendliest and most welcoming areas I have photographed—I hope that never changes. I wish Pullman the best of futures.


All photographs appearing on this site are the property of Richard Wasserman. They are protected by U.S. Copyright Laws, and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Richard Wasserman. Copyright 2017 Richard L. Wasserman All Rights Reserved.