Over the course of nearly 20 years, I’ve come to understand that a big part of what makes Pullman such a unique and extraordinary place is, indeed, the layout and design of the town itself. There are many stories of national significance to be told here. George Pullman embodied the American Dream, rising from a working class background to revolutionize and virtually monopolize the nation’s passenger rail industry. The National Park Service is particularly interested in Pullman’s labor history, including the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
But not to be overlooked is the urban planning story. As a longtime resident, I can attest to how the built environment fosters the strong sense of community that led Pullman residents in the 1960s to fight to keep their community from being razed in favor of a light industrial park, and residents today to advocate for designation as a national historical park.
In fact, a quick glance at Pullman through the lens of the 10 principles of New Urbanism underscores just how cutting edge Pullman was and is.