Pullman Cars

The Pullman property in Chicago, IL has long been known for its historical relevance (designated a State Landmark in 1969, a National Landmark in 1971, a City of Chicago Landmark in 1972, and a recently declared National Historic Park in 2015).  The property once owned by businessman George Pullman, was a showplace for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and were the stomping grounds for the famous Pullman strike in 1894 that shaped one of the first national industrial unions.  With the help from Illinois EPA, the United States National Park Service (NPS) and Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) are planning on renovating the area with plans for a Visitor’s Center following environmental cleanup.


In October of 2013, Illinois EPA’s Office of Site Evaluation (OSE) conducted a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment of the property followed by a Phase II soil and groundwater investigation in attempt to determine if the Pullman property was free of hazardous contaminants that could affect the public.  Following additional supplemental site investigations from the OSE, a total of 100 soil samples, 3 groundwater samples, as well as an electromagnetic survey were conducted all around the property.  The electromagnetic survey helped identify two separate locations that may be indicative of abandoned/buried underground storage tanks.  In September of 2015, the Pullman property enrolled in the Site Remediation Program (SRP), a state voluntary cleanup program that assists in achieving the goal of receiving a Comprehensive No Further Remediation (NFR) letter.  NFR letters indicate that environmental conditions do not present a significant risk to human health or the environment at a specific site.

Pullman Cars 2

The Pullman property is currently used today for public programs and activities including historic tours, lectures, seminars, urban gardening, and even beekeeping.  The ultimate goal is to be able to put in a Visitor’s Center following a No Further Remediation (NFR) letter.  The Visitor’s Center will be able to attract tourists to come see and learn about the historical piece of land, all while benefitting the City of Chicago!