chapter  16
17 Pages

‘The world’s most perfect town’ reconsidered: negotiating class, labour and heritage in the Pullman community of Chicago: Jane Eva Baxter and Andrew H. Bullen

ByJANE EVA BAXTER AND ANDREW H. BULLEN

Every year, thousands of tourists flock to Chicago’s far south side to experience the four block neighbourhood of Pullman. Some come to see the architectural remains of the intentional community developed by George M. Pullman to house his workers and his state-of-the-art factory: a major attraction of Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair and the place dubbed ‘The World’s Most Perfect Town’ for 14 consecutive years during its heyday. Others come to view the places associated with the influential labour strike of 1894, when Pullman factory workers received a cut in wages without a decrease in rent for their company housing and compelled Eugene Debs and the American Railway Union to sympathise with their cause bringing rail traffic to a standstill and reform to company towns.1