Legislators push to make Pullman a national park
BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN Staff Reporter January 24, 2014 11:16AM
Updated: February 26, 2014 6:11AM
The historic Pullman neighborhood may one day consider itself among the ranks of Yosemite National Park and its pristine forests and Yellowstone National Park and its gushing geysers.
That’s because officials plan to introduce federal legislation to designate the historic area a national park, creating the Pullman National Historical Park on the city’s South Side.
“Creating the Pullman National Historical Park will allow the National Park Service to better represent America’s cultural and ethnic diversity while providing a boost to the local economy,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said.
Durbin, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and U.S. Rep Robin Kelly (D- Ill.) appeared together Friday to unveil the proposed legislation, which they said would be a boon to the area — bringing tourists and creating jobs.
“This bill is for the Pullman community, where countless residents have worked heroically over decades to preserve and restore this national treasure,” Kelly said. “And this bill is for future generations of Americans, who will one day visit Pullman and learn about the vital role it played in our nation’s labor history and civil rights history.”
The Pullman site was developed by industrialist George Pullman in 1880 and was the first American industrial town. The site has played a major role in labor history and in civil rights history.
The neighborhood also is architecturally significant.
It is already designated a national historic landmark district, a state landmark and a city landmark. On Friday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation declared Pullman a national treasure.
The Pullman park would the second national park in the state — the first was Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield.
The bill will be introduced Monday in the Senate and the House of Representatives, Kelly’s office said.
Kirk said there is bipartisan support for the legislation.