Thomas Dunbar House

Thomas Dunbar House 1880s Executive House in the Pullman Historic District occupied in 1900 by Thomas Dunbar, Superintendent of the Car Works.

Thomas Dunbar comes to the Town of Pullman Thomas Dunbar was born in Scotland in 1864. He immigrated to the US in 1885 to work as a carpenter for the Pullman Palace Car Company. He returned to Scotland in 1887 to marry Jessie M Rosie, a dressmaker. They married November 3 1887 at the Free Church of Scotland at 256 Cumberland St. in Glasgow. Thomas and Jessie returned to the US in January 1888, arriving in New York on the ship Servia from Liverpool. They returned to Pullman and resided in an apartment at 200 Stephenson Street in the Town of Pullman. They lived there until 1896, having three children, Donald in 1889, Thomas in 1891 and Bessie in 1893. During this time Thomas Dunbar was rising through the ranks of the company. In 1896 he was promoted to Foreman and moved into a single family row house at 103 Watt Ave. Following George Pullman's death in 1897, Robert Todd Lincoln became the President of the Pullman Palace Car Company. Thomas Dunbar continued his rise in the Company under Lincoln's leadership, and by 1900 Dunbar had been appointed to one of the highest positions, the Superintendant of the Pullman Car Work. Along with his promotion he and his family moved into one of the Town's Executive Houses. The family was joined by a live-in servant, Alice Wibalda an immigrant from Holland. Thomas Dunbar oversaw the manufacture of the world famous Pullman Palace Cars during the period of time when passenger railcar manufacture converted from wood framed cars to steel framed cars.

The Dunbar House has a new dining room table. This beautiful Eastlake table was recently donated.
05/22/2019

The Dunbar House has a new dining room table. This beautiful Eastlake table was recently donated.

12/12/2018

The Thomas Dunbar House and the Honeymoon Row Flat are the first two exhibits in the Pullman House Project

The Pullman House Project is getting ready for the Candlelight Tour. The Dunbar House decorations are ready and the Hone...
12/06/2018

The Pullman House Project is getting ready for the Candlelight Tour. The Dunbar House decorations are ready and the Honeymoon Row flat will welcome holiday guests to reflect life in a simpler time - dried oranges, lemons, walnuts and cinnamon. This photo shows the decorated tree in the sunlight.

If you have loved visiting the Dunbar House you will also want to visit the newest exhibit in the "Pullman House Project...
11/13/2018

If you have loved visiting the Dunbar House you will also want to visit the newest exhibit in the "Pullman House Project", the apartment on Honeymoon Row which will be decorated for the holidays and open for the 2018 Candlelight Tour. The second bedroom will be open and the newest addition to the exhibit- a Victorian era parlor stove will be radiating warmth. Tickets for the December 9th tour can be purchased online at: pullmancandlelight2018.brownpapertickets.com

09/08/2018
Discover Pullman

Every fall Pullman residents open their doors for a weekend of fun and history. The Thomas Dunbar House will again participate in the Annual House Tour. If you've visited us before, do come again to see what's new for this year. Tickets can be purchased online at pullmanhousetour2018.brownpapertickets.com

This articulated gas light sconce will soon be installed in the bedroom at the Thomas Dunbar House, just in time for the...
08/25/2018

This articulated gas light sconce will soon be installed in the bedroom at the Thomas Dunbar House, just in time for the 45th Annual Pullman House Tour. Tickets can be purchased online at: https://pullmanhousetour2018.brownpapertickets.com

05/29/2018
Historic Pullman Foundation

This oral history and it's story is from Nellie Davidson Evans, Thomas Dunbar's niece and daughter of Dunbar's sister Georgeanne Davidson.

Adaptation of oral history documentation. PULLMAN VOICES -Nellie Davidson Evans - Part III. In this episode Nellie tells about taking the street car to the World's Fair - the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the secret she discovered at the fair. #PullmanVoices

04/09/2018

Visitors often ask about the interior and original features of the Thomas Dunbar House and how we selected some of the finishes. One source of guidance was an article written by Mrs. Duane Doty in 1893 included in a publication used for the Columbian Exposition titled "The Town of Pullman". In the book she describes (page 106) features of single family houses in Pullman. With particular respect to the Executive houses she states: " On the boulevard, east of the hotel, there are seven very handsome houses. They are all heated by steam, in addition to having every other modern convenience. Entering one of these houses you see a stairway of cherry and all casings and woodwork finished in the natural color of the wood. At the right you enter a spacious double parlor, back of which is a large dining room, and back of this a conveniently arranged kitchen. Four good pantries and china closets are found in the dining room and kitchen. The house contains a laundry, with three stationery washtubs supply with hot and cold water. The basement and cellar contain shelves, cupboards, etc., and one room contains the steam coils for warming the building. The windows are all supplied with Venetian blinds. On the second floor there is a large front alcove room and two large bedrooms in the rear, with a bathroom. The third story has three commodious sleeping rooms. Near the ceiling, in all the rooms, we find moldings on which to hang pictures. The walls are either papered or painted, and the ceiling are tinted in different colors. The grounds are terraced and planted with flowers and shrubbery. There is an ample back yard with a wood shed at the rear, the yard being well and tastefully fenced. The front yards are not fenced, but left open so as to give the streets the appearance of parks. Bay windows overlook the lake and give a view of the whole length of the boulevard."

The Bielenberg Historic Pullman House Foundation and the Thomas  Dunbar House volunteers wish you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!
01/01/2018

The Bielenberg Historic Pullman House Foundation and the Thomas Dunbar House volunteers wish you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy Holidays!
12/21/2017

Happy Holidays!

10/11/2017

Thanks to the nearly 1500 people who visited Pullman and the Thomas Dunbar House this past weekend for the 44th Annual House Tour. We hope you had as much fun as we did!

Candlelight 2016
12/13/2016

Candlelight 2016

We hope you make it to see the newest room to be opened in the Thomas Dunbar home.  The kitchen, here is a sneak peek:
11/24/2016

We hope you make it to see the newest room to be opened in the Thomas Dunbar home. The kitchen, here is a sneak peek:

The kitchen has a sink!!
10/05/2016

The kitchen has a sink!!

With another day of stripper, steel wool and elbow grease, The Dunbar kitchen will have an ice box in time for the 2016 ...
09/18/2016

With another day of stripper, steel wool and elbow grease, The Dunbar kitchen will have an ice box in time for the 2016 Pullman House Tour, maybe even some ice!

Busy day today at the Thomas Dunbar House... City water crew replacing water connections in the front... and floor sande...
09/15/2016

Busy day today at the Thomas Dunbar House... City water crew replacing water connections in the front... and floor sander just finished sanding and finishing kitchen floor. Next week wainscoting installation. House Tour only three weeks away!

Our little oak kitchen table is getting ready for it's debut in the Thomas Dunbar House kitchen... a work in progress. D...
08/30/2016

Our little oak kitchen table is getting ready for it's debut in the Thomas Dunbar House kitchen... a work in progress. Did you know that the kitchen table in the victorian house was the center piece of the kitchen, where all the magic happened - at a time long before granite counter tops.

We continue to work on the kitchen project for viewing at this year's Pullman House Tour, October 8-9. The floor restora...
08/27/2016

We continue to work on the kitchen project for viewing at this year's Pullman House Tour, October 8-9. The floor restoration has been most challenging. We have removed glued down parquet flooring, and shown here are three stages of removing the residual materials, a layer of glue and roofing paper. We can't wait for sanding and refinishing.The end result should be a beautifully restored original fir floor.

Thomas Dunbar House
08/21/2016

Thomas Dunbar House

The 19th Annual Candlelight Tour
Pullman neighborhood in Chicago

For TDH followers... does this look familiar? This is the from the same line of customize papers we installed in the fro...
08/21/2016

For TDH followers... does this look familiar? This is the from the same line of customize papers we installed in the front parlor of the Thomas Dunbar House. Check out the photos of our room on this page.

Day#2  www.voteyourpark.org/pullman click this link to take you direct to the Pullman page and bypass the introduction
05/26/2016
Partners In Preservation | By National Geographic

Day#2 www.voteyourpark.org/pullman click this link to take you direct to the Pullman page and bypass the introduction

Vote daily for the five parks you want to see receive a share of $2 million in American Express funding for a preservation project. After you vote, enter for a chance to win a trip for two to Yellowstone from National Geographic!

05/25/2016
Historic Pullman Foundation

Thomas Dunbar had his office in this incredible Pullman landmark - the Clock Tower, and he could see it from the front windows of his home. This grant program is a rare opportunity to help raise funds for historic preservation and the development of the Pullman National Monument Visitor Center in the Clock Tower - without taking a dime out of your pocket. The funding has already been pledged and it's just a question of which National Park sites should get a share of it. Thomas Dunbar says PULLMAN!! Please register and vote every day until July 5.

THE PULLMAN NATIONAL MONUMENT VIES FOR GRANT IN PARTNERS IN PRESERVATION: NATIONAL PARKS, A CAMPAIGN CREATED BY AMERICAN EXPRESS AND THE NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION

Historic Pullman Foundation
05/24/2016

Historic Pullman Foundation

Watch this page tomorrow for very exciting news about our much beloved Pullman National Monument/Pullman Clock Tower

Timeline Photos
05/08/2016

Timeline Photos

04/07/2016
One hundred years in Illinois : (1818-1918) : an account of the development of Illinois in the...

For history buffs, there is a very interesting little book written by John McLean, M.D. the Pullman town doctor. The book recounts the role his family played in the settling of Illinois, his personal experiences as a soldier in the Civil War, his study of medicine in Chicago after the war and his life in Pullman as a company physician. Among the many reflections of the people he met throughout his life he mentions with affection, our own Thomas Dunbar. The book is called "One Hundred Years in Illinois" and is available from several different sites including Amazon but also this one...
search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=21125

Thanks Living History In Illinois for the great Easter Card to share. Happy Easter to those Friends who celebrate.
03/27/2016

Thanks Living History In Illinois for the great Easter Card to share. Happy Easter to those Friends who celebrate.

12/19/2015
Historic Pullman Foundation

Historic Pullman Foundation

Thanks to our friends who helped vote Pullman into the next round over West Loop. The next neighborhood competition will be against Bridgeport. We will need ever vote we can muster. Stay tuned as to when the voting will start.

There is a little contest going on in Chicago for the bragging rights - Best Neighborhood of the Year. Obviously we thin...
12/17/2015
Curbed Cup 1st Round: West Loop (7) vs. Pullman (10)

There is a little contest going on in Chicago for the bragging rights - Best Neighborhood of the Year. Obviously we think it should be Pullman and we hope you do too. Will you take a minute and vote for Pullman? We THANK YOU!!

The Curbed Cup, our annual award to the Chicago neighborhood of the year, is kicking off with 16 neighborhoods vying for the prestigious victory. For this week, we'll introduce two...

Just a couple more photos of the Dunbar House at Candlelight
12/15/2015

Just a couple more photos of the Dunbar House at Candlelight

10/12/2015

Thank you to all of the wonderful volunteers who helped present the Thomas Dunbar story to Pullman House Tour visitors this weekend. We couldn't have done it without you!!

10/11/2015

Second and final day of house tour! Come see the two new rooms we opened.

10/11/2015
Thanks to the hundreds of visitors to the Pullman House Tour yesterday. We look forward to your visit today. See what we...
10/11/2015

Thanks to the hundreds of visitors to the Pullman House Tour yesterday. We look forward to your visit today. See what we've been doing this past year at the Thomas Dunbar House. Be sure to check out Jessie Dunbar's sewing room.

10/10/2015

We can't wait to see you all at House Tour today!

We hope you are coming to house tour. Sneak peek!
10/01/2015

We hope you are coming to house tour. Sneak peek!

getting the bedroom ready for house tour
09/22/2015

getting the bedroom ready for house tour

Join our House Tour weekend celebration to see the Pullman National Monument with great houses, exhibits and a video on ...
08/06/2015
42nd Annual Historic Pullman House Tour

Join our House Tour weekend celebration to see the Pullman National Monument with great houses, exhibits and a video on the history of this unique landmark district, music, food, antique cars, garage sales and so much more. Advance tickets are $20 if purchased on or before October 8 (plus a small processing fee) and $23 at the door. Tickets will be held for pick up at the Visitor Center (11141 S. Cottage Grove, Chicago) on either day starting at 10:30am. Houses will be open from 11:00am until 5:00pm. You can call the Visitor Center for more information. 773-785-8901 between 11-3 every day except Mondays.

Pullman House Tour of 7-8 private homes located within the Pullman National Monument District

Events | American Institute of Architects
08/05/2015
Events | American Institute of Architects

Events | American Institute of Architects

Wednesday / August 05, 2015 / 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Positioning Pullman Recommendations Unveiled Pullman Visitor Center, 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave. Join us as we unveil a vision for the future of Chicago's Pullman National Monuement. "Positioning Pullman" is a joint project of the National Parks Conse…

06/24/2015

The Thomas Dunbar House welcomed 180 Method Soap employees yesterday.

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