George Pullman

George M. Pullman began to receive a great deal of notice in 1859, when the city began raising street levels. Pullman demonstrated that, with 600 men and 6,000 jackscrews, he was able to raise entire buildings, with people still going about their business inside.1

He went on to make a fortune with his Pullman Palace Car Company, the first to bring luxury to the rails. A shrewd businessman, he made sure everyone knew his cars by ensuring that Abraham Lincoln's body returned from D.C. in a Pullman car.2

A charter member of the Citizen's Association, Pullman attempted to deal with the labor problem by creating a model town. Planned as a worker's paradise, it was set up to create his Pullman Sleeping Cars. The town of Pullman, which was south of Chicago, banned gambling, taverns, and brothels. There were no political bosses, union organizers, or priests allowed, with the exception of one paster to lead the church Pullman built.

The town was completed in 1881. In 1886 his workers joined in a national strike, calling for an 8 hour work day. As he was fiercely anti-labor, Pullman came down hard, ruthlessly repressing the strikers.3 By 1893 his company assets were at $62 million.

When he died October 19, 1897, his final wishes were dutifully carried out. Out of fear that angry workers would desecrate his body, Pullman's grave at Graceland Cemetary was dug 13' x 9' x 8', it had a floor of concrete, a lead lined casket covered with tar paper and asphalt, another layer of concrete, with steel rails on top.4

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