Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Neighborhoods
  3. Places & Faces

Pullman's return to Chicago

See also

When George M. Pullman returned to Chicago in April, 1863, he renewed his partnership with Senator Benjamin C. Field and began to build sleeping/palace cars. The first car was completed in 1864. Building these cars, named “The Springfield” and “The Pioneer,” was expensive, but they were clean, comfortable and exquisitely furnished.

When Pullman received his draft notice in 1864, he hired a substitute to take his place. During the Civil War, hiring a substitute was permitted. One year later, he assisted his country with a most unexpected, sorrowful ceremony.

After President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, Mrs. Lincoln accompanied his body on “The Lonesome Train” to Springfield, Illinois for burial. When the slow-moving, funeral train reached Chicago, the First Lady collapsed from the ordeal and was too ill to continue on the lengthy journey. Immediately, George M. Pullman arranged to have “The Pioneer” sleeping car made available to take her nonstop to Springfield.

By 1867, Pullman became successful and attracted investors like Andrew Carnegie. As his wealth increased, Pullman expanded his company. He built “The President,” a lodge on wheels, complete with a sleeper, a kitchen and a dining room. He realized that he needed an elite staff to assist passengers. But, where would he find such a high-quality, efficient, versatile team?

After much thought, Pullman decided to recruit recently-freed, highly-trained, former house servants. These Pullman Porters would assist passengers as porters, waiters, valets and entertainers. They would be well-paid and travel the country. Their work would be prestigious, and they would be respected everywhere. Pullman hired his Pullman Porters and became the largest single employer of African-Americans after the Civil War.

With his business established and successful, George Pullman began his personal life.

To be continued…

Enlighten your life with history.

Use this link to become an Examiner, .



  • Johnny Manziel
    Should Johnny Manziel apologize for his hard partying over the offseason?
    Today's Buzz
  • Crop circles
    Similar crop circles appeared in Germany and England within days of each other
    19 Photos
  • Advanced placement
    The AP program is gaining traction as a key component in college admissions
    5 Photos
  • Beach hats
    Beat the heat with the best summer beach hats for women
    Beach Hats
  • Expectations for ministry
    Pastor preaches to newly ordained ministers about expectations for ministry
    6 Photos
  • Medical symptoms
    See which symptoms should cause you to seek a doctor’s attention right away
    6 Photos

Related Videos:

  • Commemorating the start of World War I
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518243299" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Mississippi River images
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517367515" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Little Jimmy Dickens
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517891934" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>