Catholics, with respect to United States history, are usually identified by historians as having been the “other.” It seems, however, that Catholics may have been more tuned into American lifestyle than many historians had thought. According to James P. McCartin, Catholics played one of the deciding factors in how American democracy and society was formed. From the freedoms of the 1st amendment, to anti-institutionalism and democratic reform. In Chicago, this can be seen in the many historic sites around the city. Catholics have been treated like full citizens in a sense because, like McCartin states, they contributed so much to the democracy of the United States, and also community welfare.
Union Park: Union Park, located in Chicago’s west side was created in 1853 and named after the Federal Union. The park itself was “one of the city’s most fashionable places” according to the City of Chicago website. Throughout it’s history, Union Park hosted picnics, musical & outdoor events. When I visited the park, it seemed it had stayed true to its roots. There was a large barbecue going on, with live music, and lots of people from the community. Since the founding of this park much has changed, I don’t think it is seen as the most fashionable place in Chicago, nor are there any art installations as there previously had been. There is a field house that is home to children’s sports teams and summer camps, as well as baseball fields.
UA Plumbers Union Hall: The Plumber’s Union (Local 130) has over 6,000 members and is one of the largest Plumber’s Unions in the country. The plumber’s union was officially founded on October 11, 1889. Since then, it has grown astronomically – this of course can be traced back in part to Catholic support of Unions generally. The name of the Union has been changed many times throughout it’s history, currently it is known as “The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada.” In Chicago, the plumber’s union is known for dying the river the famous emerald green for St. Patrick’s Day – a longstanding Chicago tradition honoring the Irish – who are famously Catholic. It is a very modern looking building, also located in the West Side of Chicago.
The Haymarket Memorial: This memorial honors the event’s of May 4, 1886. The Haymarket district was an industrial food-processing area. An event had been coordinated to protest working conditions of those in the produce industry, and resulted in a tragic bombing that killed many. The bombing later would stand for a pillar of the need for Unions – ensuring working conditions were never infringed upon. Today, the memorial stands at 175 N. Desplaines St. Chicago, IL 60661. The sculpture was created by Mary Brogger, and has plaques all over the base, sharing the history and the influence of the Haymarket Bombing.
Pullman: George Pullman created the town of Pullman in the 1880’s. It was a factory town which housed the worker’s who worked at the Pullman factory. In 1894, Eugene Debs organized a protest against Pullman, and became a turning point for U.S. Labor Law. The strike basically shut down the entire railway network of the United States, and created vast complications for businesses everywhere. It was a symbol of the power the American worker has, and why the worker should be valued. Today, the town of Pullman is no longer a company town, however the town relishes in it’s history and has kept almost all of the buildings, and monuments in amazing condition. There is also a Pullman museum, that explains thoroughly the history of the town as well as the protest, and its significance.