While you’re in Chicago for AIA's Conference on Architecture 2022, be sure to check out one of the most architecturally rich spots in the city—and in a town as renowned for great design as Chicago, that’s no small feat.

Pullman National Monument was designated by President Barack Obama on February 19, 2015, making it the first National Park Service unit in Chicago. Located in what is now known as the historic Pullman neighborhood, the site is where engineer and industrialist George Mortimer Pullman manufactured his Pullman luxury passenger train cars, first developed in 1864, and founded a company town for the workers who built them. The Pullman Company exclusively hired African American men to staff the Pullman cars, and the Pullman Porters were well known and respected, providing elite service. During the historic 1894 Pullman Strike, workers protested Pullman’s decision to cut jobs and wages while increasing working hours for remaining employees. The strike, which impacted rail travel all the way to the Pacific coast and caused a blockade of federal mail, spurred President Grover Cleveland and congress to designate Labor Day as a federal holiday.

Today, Pullman National Monument is an important historical asset that preserves African American labor history and demonstrates one way in which it is inextricably linked with the history of the U.S. itself.