Pullman monument competing for preservation funds in online contest

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Pullman National Monument on is competing against national parks around the country. (WLS)

Pullman National Monument on Chicago's South Side is competing against national parks around the country in an online contest for $2 million in preservation funding.

Time has eroded part of history. Bricks are worn, and an arson's damage is still left behind on the Pullman Clock Tower. It will take time to tick forward.

"I give tours in Pullman," said C.J. Martello of the Historic Pullman Foundation. "I always tell people to stop and look around and see the weeds, prairie and this building that needs help and I say, 'this is not how it's going to be in the future.'"

Money has already been spent for part of the renovation, but not all. That is where the public can help by voting for Pullman in an online poll.

"Vote for Pullman, and only vote for Pullman," said Michael Shymanski of the Historic Pullman Foundation. "They give you the opportunity to vote for four other parks, don't waste your vote."

Right now, Pullman is competing against 20 national parks. Out of all the parks, Pullman is in 19th place when it comes to votes. To get money, it has to be in at least sixth place. In true Chicago style, there's another hitch.

"The cool thing about this voting program is you can actually vote early and often," Shymanski said. "You can vote every 24 hours."

History buffs will tell you about George Pullman, an innovator of train travel. In the 1920s, 100,000 people every night would use a Pullman car.

The company was once the largest employer of African-American service workers, who created the first black union under the leadership of A. Phillip Randolph.

It's a rich history the world is coming to see.

"We're seeing people from around the world. It's pretty phenomenal," said National Park Ranger Chris Stein. "We ask people to put pins in the map. We've had people from every single continent except Antarctica come visit."

And they want that to continue, so vote often through July 5.

To vote, visit http://www.nationalgeographic.com/voteyourpark/.
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newsChicago - Pullman
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