The Run Down

For this guide we're headed all the way to 112th street on Chicago's South side where we'll tour a historic neighborhood and learn a little bit about one of the nation's first planned industrial communities.  While we're down this way, we're also going to visit a nearby smokehouse down by the river. Here are the highlights.

1. Smoked Salmon and Fried Smelt @ Calument Fisheries

2. Neighborhood Tour @ Pullman Historic District

1. Calumet Fisheries

Our first stop on this side of town is a shack next to the 95th street bridge by the Calumet river. This is not any shack, this is a seafood shack that has been operating on the South side since 1928. While the neighborhood around Calumet Fisheries has seen its ups and downs and industries around it have opened and closed, this family operated seafood shack is still  going strong. Perhaps that’s a testament to the damn good eats you can find here.

Speaking of food, what you’ll find here is an extensive selection of smoked fish that’s prepared on-site in their smokehouse. We’re talking about trout, sable, salmon, sturgeon, and herring to name a few. They also have a selection of fried seafood options –if you need a fried recommendation, fried smelt is the way to go.  I like to think of them as french fries of the sea.  They are small fresh water fish fried whole and eaten with a little bit of hot sauce.

Here are some tips to keep in mind.

– Cash only
– No seating inside. Eat in your car on the side of the road or have a seat along the 95th street bridge.

2. Pullman Historic District

Our next stop is about 5 miles away to the Pullman Historic District where we’ll be getting a history lesson about this neighborhood that was once declared the most most perfect town at the Prague International Hygienic and Pharmaceutical Exposition of 1896.

Historic Pullman Visitor Center

To get yourself oriented, head first to the Historic Pullman Visitor Center for a quick history lesson on the neighborhood.  A few interesting facts we picked up while we were here.

– The Pullman neighborhood was originally developed as a planned industrial community to provide housing for the workers at the Pullman Palace Car Company.

– All the housing was owned by the Pullman company and rented out to workers. The Pullman company also took care of all maintenance and upkeep of the neighborhood.

– Over 1000 homes and shops were constructed in less than 4 years.

Neighborhood Tour

After catching up on the history of the neighborhood, you can pick up a map up front of the visitor center that will give you all the information you need to go on a self-guided walking tour of the neighborhood. If you’d rather have a guided tour, you can schedule them in advance.  Guided tours are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors.

We opted for the walking tour. It takes about 30 minutes to walk through the neighborhood and catch all the sites.  Here are a few places that caught our eye along the way.

Just two blocks away from the visitor center was a small neighborhood cafe (Pullman Cafe). There’s not a lot of dining or drinking options around, so this was a nice place to grab a coffee before venturing through the rest of the neighborhood

The streets are lined with beautiful historic row homes with some still housing third or fourth generation families.

An art installation sits at the center of “Market Hall” which was once an open market for butchers and grocers in the middle of the neighborhood.


This is Hotel Florence — this was once a high-end hotel, but it closed its doors in 1975. It’s currently being renovated.

The Pullman clock tower and administrative building use to be the heart of the bustling Pullman Palace Car Company.  Today it sits behind a chain link fence with no trespassing signs to keep people out.

But here’s the good news. In 2015, this building and the surrounding area was officially named a national monument and became part of the National Park System. That means there’s finally funding to preserve this piece of history, and the plan is to open this back up as a visitor center.  See everyone back here in 2021 when they officially open this up.