Company: Pullman Palace Car Co.
In 1884, George Pullman built a manufacturing complex and town on 4,000 acres of land south of Chicago to house the employees making his luxury railroad sleeping cars. While the plan was to keep workers happy, increase productivity away from Chicago, and draw skilled workers, it didn't quite work out that way. The town had more than 1,000 homes with yards, indoor plumbing, gas, and daily trash removal, and drew 12,000 residents. However, workers could only rent their homes, could be evicted at will, couldn't hold town meetings, couldn't go to bars, and couldn't read books or watch performances other than those offered by the library or town theater. When Pullman cut wages after an economic downturn in 1894, a workers' strike turned violent and resulted in federal troops being called in. After Pullman himself died in 1897, Illinois required the company to sell the town. In 1889, it was annexed to the South Side of Chicago. The neighborhood went into slow decline that steepened after the factory closed in 1957. It's taken the neighborhood a while to recover, but President Barack Obama declared it a U.S. National Monument in 2015 and each October residents open their homes for a walking tour.