Chicago Pullman Technical High School “Blue Raiders”

Pullman Technical High School
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Chicago (population: 2.8 million) is the nation’s third largest city that grew quickly within its first 100 years. From it’s founding in 1803 and even still today, the city possesses an eclectic feel with its numerous cultures and history that distinguishes the community from others world-wide. Even after a great fire in 1871, Chicago pulled itself up by its bootstraps and rebuilt itself, then annexed other smaller communities such as Hyde Park, Englewood, Lake, and many others.

Pullman Technical High School was opened in 1915 as the result of a bequeathing of $1.2 million dollars from the will of George Pullman, the creator of the railroad sleeping car. His will stated that the school be free of charge to those wishing to take manual training classes and that either lived or worked in the Pullman community. One hundred and six students were enrolled on the day the school opened in September that year.

The school continued thru two World Wars and a depression before it was decided to close the school in 1950. The main reason for the closure was that the endowment that Pullman set up in his will did not have enough money to continue offering education with the rising costs. At that point, 600 students were enrolled at Pullman Tech and did not pay anything for their education. With the help of the Superior Court of Cook County, the Chicago Board of Education was able to close the school and allow for an educational foundation to be created in its place.

The Pullman Tech building is still in use today. In 1951, it become home of Mendel Catholic High School (a boys’ school). In 1988, its name was changed to St. Martin de Porres as Mendel, Unity Catholic, and Willibrord came together after being closed by the Archdiocese of Chicago. That arrangement lasted until 1997.

Today the building serves as a public school in Chicago. The Chicago Public School system has named the school Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy to honor the state’s poet laureate.

You can find more about George Pullman and his legacy at the following web address:


Year opened:                  1915

Year closed:                   1950

Building now used as:    Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy

School colors:                 Blue & Gold

School nickname:            the “Blue Raiders”

School song:                   unknown

                          Quick Facts Information Submitted by PETER NEGRO


Pullman offered track to its students, and possible other sports such as football, baseball, basketball, and perhaps tennis or wrestling. We are looking for someone who may know about the history of the athletic program at Pullman to tell us more.


The school enjoyed success at the state track meet in 1924 as one individual took second in a pair of sprint events and tied for 10th in the team standings. Unfortunately, this is the only sport we were able to find anything on while researching the school’s history.

1924B Tied for 10th in State


1   Girard                                      20

           10   Chicago Pullman                     8

10   Abingdon                                   8

   Individual Medalist

1924B H. Bergstrom                 100-yd dash—2nd place

220-yd dash—2nd place


From Lawrence Santeford (dated October 1, 2019):

“I happened to find the brief article about Pullman Technical High School. My older twin sisters attended the high school (around) 1947-49. They were able to attend because our grandfathers had worked at Pullman, having come from the Netherlands during the late 1800s.

“My sisters are Lorraine and Laverne Bulteman. Our surname is Santeford, but they married brothers Larry and Harold Bultema about 1949. Lorraine and Laverne are both 89 years old.

“Although our grandfather, Leonard John Santeford, worked at Pullman, I believe they got in on the basis of (another) grandfather, Harry Zeilenga.”


If you have any information about the former Pullman High School, please contact us. Our email address is or send it to:


6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

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