Saturday, February 13, 2016
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On occasion, ILHS has been asked about touring the many sites in Chicago of labor history interest. ILHS can act as your charter agent and tour guide. Union conventions are good candidates for this option, as are high school and university history classes.

If you want a self-guided tour, ILHS has pocket guide books on both Haymarket and Pullman among the many items on its booklist. Ask for the list and order by mail (no credit cards). You might like to visit our office and display area. We are at 123 W. Madison #905 in Chicago. Call for an appointment. Phone: 312-663-4107. Our e-mail address is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

There are a couple of routes we would suggest, either of which could be tailored to fit the available time and interest.


Close by the Chicago downtown loop area is Haymarket square, located at the intersection of Randolph St and Des Plaines Ave, just east of the I90-94 Expressway. This was the scene of the Haymarket Tragedy, formally known as the Haymarket riot. An impressive memorial sculptor was commissioned by the city of Chicago on September 2004.

Two blocks west over the Highway of the Haymarket is Halsted. St. Extending from Randolph on the North to Van Buren to the South is the historic Greek Town restruant district. Further South at 800 Halsted is the Hull-House Museum occupying the original Settlement House directed by the legendary Jane Addams. One mile West at 333 S. Ashland is the imposing building of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers erected in 1928 (now a part of UNITE).

Directly west of Ashland is the complex of buildings known as Teamster City (300 S. Ashland). One can enter in the parking lot and find the Mural "Teamster Power" on an exterior wall that faces north. Mike Alewitz celebrates the 1997 Teamsters' victory over United Parcel Service (UPS). The figures in the upper left and right corners depict Albert and Lucy Parsons of Haymarket fame. Further North at 37 S. Ashland is the United Electrical Workers Union Hall (UE). Inside there is a two-story mural from the 1970s depicting various labor struggles. On the outside is a contemporary mural on the subject of Mexican immigration.

Continuing West on I290 to the suburb of Forest Park you will find Forest Home Cemetery (formally Waldheim Cemetery). Close by the entrance and to the South is the burial site of the Haymarket Martyrs. Here stands a powerful sculptural monument dedicated in 1893, which will leave an indelible impression upon the visitor. In 1997, the National Park Service declared this area a National Historic Landmark. ILHS is the official steward of the monument and holds the deed to the site. Immediately behind the Martyrs monument is the burial site of Emma Goldman, which is marked by a tablet. In another part of the cemetery is an area belonging to the Cigar Makers union of Chicago. It is marked by a large tablet that features their Union label, and nearby is the grave site of Adolph Strasser, close colleague of Samuel Gompers, who was the founding President of the America Federation of Labor (AFL).

Haymarket Martyrs' Monument Cemetery

An online tour of the area surrounding the Haymarket Martyrs' Monument shows who is buried near the monument and includes short biographies of these people.

Stock Yards/ Republic Steel (Memorial Day Massacre)/Pullman.

To 41st and Halsted for a short stop at the picturesque and historic Stone Gate to the old Chicago Stock Yards, followed by a brief tour of surrounding area including the "Canaryville," neighborhood, and/or "Back of the Yards." In "Bronzeville" one can see the large mural painting "The Worker," by William Walker, located on an exterior wall of the now abandoned headquarters of the United Packinghouse Workers (CIO) at 49th and Wabash.

Then, to the "East Side" and Steel Workers Local 1133 union hall and the memorial to the ten victims of the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937. Talk with local union officers about "downsizing" of the steel industry.

Pass the abandoned hulk of the Wisconsin Steel Mill, to Pullman (original locus of the Great Pullman Strike of 1894). Park at the Visitor's Center for a walk through the community. See the Florence Hotel, the Greenstone Church, Market Hall, and streets lined with the original "Model Town" row houses, all just as they looked a hundred years ago.

Lunch at the Florence Hotel in Pullman, or have dinner at the nearby Retreat, an upscale restaurant situated in a former Pullman executive's mansion on 111th Street one block east of the Florence Hotel.

Of interest, too, is the Randolph/Pullman Museum and Gallery in North Pullman on 103rd Street. There are also excellent mural paintings at several of the Illinois Central Railroad underpasses visible from Cottage Grove Ave.

Equity actors in costume, representing key characters involved in the stories of Haymarket and Pullman can be engaged to interact with the touring party.

An ILHS guide is available, fee negotiable.

"And I long to see the day when Labor will have the destiny of the nation in her own hands and she will stand as a united force and show the world what the workers can do." --- Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, 1830-1930

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