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Graceland Cemetery

"A man who won't meet his own men halfway is a damn fool!" --Mark Hanna, on George Pullman

George Pullman (1831-97) was the inventor of the Pullman sleeping car. When a Pullman car was attached to the funeral train carrying Abraham Lincoln's body, demand for Pullman's product surged, and the Pullman Sleeping Car Company grew quickly.

George Pullman and architect Solon Beman built the town of Pullman for his employees near 111th street. Pullman joked that the town had been named for both of them: the first syllable of his name, the second syllable of Beman's. The town of Pullman was a planned community, with schools, theaters, library, hotel, all operated by the Pullman Sleeping Car Company.

When the fortunes of the company declined in 1894, Pullman slashed wages by 25 percent. However, he neglected to lower the rents or cost of groceries in the company town. A delegation of workers went to meet with Pullman and ask him to reduce these costs - the next day, these men were fired. His workers went on strike, aided by Eugene Debs' American Railway Union. Workers refused to handle any train with Pullman cars attached. In order to ensure that the mail on those trains would not be delayed, President Cleveland sent federal troops to break the strike, over the protests of Governor Altgeld. All Pullman employees were then required to sign a statement that they would never attempt to join a union.

Pullman was so hated by his employees that when he died in 1897, his heirs feared that the body would be stolen and held for ransom. The coffin was covered in tar paper and asphalt, and enclosed in the center of a room-sized block of concrete, reinforced with railroad ties. Ambrose Bierce said "It is clear the family in their bereavement was making sure the sonofabitch wasn't going to get up and come back."

The monument was designed by Solon Beman and features a towering Corinthian column, flanked by curved benches.

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