Historic Pullman -- Like living in a movie set

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My old man didn't want me to move to Pullman. There's nothing over there, he'd say.
And he's mostly right. We don't have grocery store or a place to grab a quick sandwich, except for McDonald's or the Cal Harbor restaurant, the greasy spoon. There's only one bar. The neighborhood's crown jewels included what's left of Market Square, a burned out shell being SLOWLY restored or the Hotel Florence, which is rarely open to the public and no longer has its popular Sunday brunch. And don't get dad started on the area crime stats.
But Historic Pullman has something few city neighborhoods can boast about ...

Every time I walk out my front porch it feels like I've stepped into a movie set — the lovely oval of Arcade Park across from the iconic Hotel Florence, and the powerful copper spire of the Greenstone Church and the majestic clock tower (even though the time is never correct) — that feels like a walk back in time to 1880s. (Parts of Road to Perdition with Paul Newman and The Fugitive with Harrison Ford were filmed in Pullman)
And on Saturday, Pullman really was a movie set, again. Crews were filming The Express, staring Randy Quaid. It's the story of the first black Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis, who died of leukemia.
All day long — and until 3 a.m. — locals strolled past locations where camera crews were set up. Local kid, Kyle Honkowski, 15, stalked the sidewalks near filming all day, starting at 8:30 in the morning.
"It's exciting, a little bit," he says. "Over by the museum some guy yelled at me, ""Hey kid, you don't belong here. Get off the stage."
At midnight, the Greenstone Church was brilliantly lit by powerful flood lights as movie extras milled about for take-after-take of the same scene. It was quite a site.
But after a day of being forced to park in alleyways and being told to "shush" by production assistants locals like Kyle and me got our stage back ... the coolest neighborhood around.

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4 Comments

How long have you been there Konkol? What possessed you to move there? Will you stay there? Just curious.

Konkol replies: It really is the coolest place ever Chuck, and I got my place — an 1880 rowhouse with a two car garage — for next to nothing. Check it out.

Konks, you are such a great ambassador for Pullman that I think that you should consider giving guided tours on the weekends. It really is a cool little neighborhood with loads of history. Or perhaps arrange for schools to take mini-field trips there so the kids can learn about the history of Pullman, it's significance in the Industrial Revolution, and how and why the neighborhood was designed the way it was/is. It's a shame most Chicagoans don't know and/or appreciate that history.

Last Saturday in front of the Digit Pullman store the Express filmed from 8:30 am until 3:45am;Nieghborhood kids were falling asleep in the store as the filming continued right on the sidewalk into the night,folks came in to get warm (strange April weather)and tell us of the other films they have been involved in.It was as if Hollywood's World Headquarters had rolled in for a 24 hour period to give us a glimpse of what movie making is all about.The local folks were respectful as each take had to be shot in silence....shhhh the director said with a smile as the shot rolled on,how cool!We truly live in a special place.

thanks for the post on this! I heard Dennis Quaid was in the area this past time.

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Mark Konkol

Mark Konkol covers city neighborhoods for the Chicago Sun-Times. You can e-mail him or call (312) 321-2146.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Konkol published on April 16, 2007 12:53 PM.

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