Pullman National Monument honors history of US labor movement

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The roots of the U.S. labor movement can be traced back to more than 100 years on Chicago's far South Side. That work and history is now being preserved the Pullman National Monument.

"When you walk through Pullman you feel like you're transformed back into the 1880s labor history just exudes out of this place," said Joseph Szabo, President of the Historic Pullman Foundation

RELATED: Pullman National Monument opens, will host grand opening events over weekend

In 1894 there was an economic downturn across Pullman, forcing the factory to reduce wages. That led to a 45 day strike at a place that was essential to the community.

"So it'd be like the internet being shut down for 45 days," said Szabo.

With that strike, came the birth of Labor Day and labor rights. The monument now honors the history of those porters and the civil rights movement.

It's a monument that's now expected to bring in 300,000 visitors each year along with millions of dollars.

"It's been a long time in the works, it's been such a focus for the community for a long, long time so it's great to see come to fruition," said visitor Rick.

This weekend marks the special grand opening of the monument with the official ribbon cutting set for Monday.

Free events are planned all weekend, and some guided tours are on a first come, first served basis. You can find more information on the monument's website.
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