Located on the far south side of Chicago, the West Pullman neighborhood is considered one of the 77 official community areas of Chicago. The name notwithstanding, West Pullman is not part of the historic Pullman company town. It’s bond by 115th Street on the north, the old Illinois Central Railroad on the east, the Calumet River and Riverdale on the south and Calumet Park, Blue Island and Ashland Avenue on the west.
The area suffered the loss of a great number of jobs in the ‘80s and ‘90s making unemployment a significant problem there, along with a large level of toxic waste left behind by shuttered factories.
West Pullman is known for its commuter rail station along the Blue Island Line of Metra Electric. Located over Halsted Street between 120th and 122nd Streets, the station is just over 16 miles south of Millennium Station in downtown Chicago. As the station is positioned advantageously near the outskirts of Chicago, it provides bus connections from the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Pace suburban system.
West Pullman began as an industrial and residential subdivision in the late 1800s by the West Pullman Land Association and was the biggest community of working-class families whose income was tied to the factories the association had brought into its industrial district. In the 1920s, University of Chicago sociologists developed the West Pullman community, merging several existing communities into one. Over 20,00 residents settled the area with a large industrial base, retail areas, schools, recreation and other community institutions.
In the ‘70s and ‘80s with a many of the industrial jobs that characterized the area’s employment left West Pullman with factories closing in great numbers.
Leaving behind toxic waste, the area began to see a great deal of interest in correcting some of the harm done to the community as a result. Government and private sector entities have begun an effort to address the pollution left behind and to recruit new industries to the West Pullman area.