From Poland to Pullman:  One Mans Journey

There was no ill fortune on Ellis Island which allowed the move to Pullman

By Lorri Timbs
From Pullman to Pullman, Go to the Yellow Airplane Home Page
Page 6

Fortunately Jacob's family suffered no ill fortune on their stay at Ellis Island. Here you can see the Pullman housing located directly across the street from the Pullman Railroad Factory where the Pullman strike took place.

These apartments were state of the art for their time.  They had gas lighting fixtures installed and when these pictures were taken the fixtures were still on the walls, not used, however. 

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Illustration: Fig 5: 

The Pullman house owned by Jacob Dyrek at 10512 S. Maryland, 1946. 

Photo provided by Mildred Dyrek

Fortunately Jacob's family suffered no ill fortune on their stay at Ellis Island. 

Approved for admittance to America, Jacob and his wife and son joined the ranks of the three hundred and fifty thousand Polish immigrants who came to the great cultural melting pot of America between the years of 1890 and 1920.  (www.chapter18).    Jacob traveled from New York to Chicago Illinois by rail to meet with his sister and her husband, Wally Watroba, to begin his new life.  Nearly three fourths of all the Polish immigrants to Illinois settled in Chicago in communities mostly on the North side.  Neighborhoods such as Avondale, Irving and Belmont were on the north side and the south side towns included Pullman, Calumet City, and Brighton.  (www.Pullman).  These communities were easy to live in for the Polish.  Work was easy to find in the factories and Polish was one of the main languages spoken.  These communities had been established years before by homesick immigrants in an attempt to recreate the a feeling of culture they had left behind.  (America).  Jacob's family located in Pullman on Maryland Avenue in a tenement building built to house Pullman factory workers.  Three generations of Dyrek's lived in this building which Jacob later purchased.  (Dyrek interview).

Jacob Dyrek and his wife Anna had two sons, Joe, who made the trip with them, and John, who was born shortly after the journey.  They also had three daughters, Helen who was interviewed to get Jacob's story, Florence, and Annie.  Jacob's son, John, married and also had five children who were raised in this Maryland street apartment building in Pullman.  Jacob died at the age of eighty-three.  John died at the age of sixty-two. 

Webmasters Note;  Every time I go back and see this old house, it is empty and it looks like it was bombed out.  Recently my cousin sent me and my brothers some pictures of my grandmother who died shortly after moving to Pullman.  The interesting thing is that as soon as my older brother looked at the picture, he yelled, "That's the woman that I saw in the basement."  This refers to when he was a kid, in the early fifties, when he would go into the basement, he would see a ghost lady.  My brother has never seen his grandmother because she died before he was born.  Until recently, he has never even seen a picture of her.  Did he see his grandmothers ghost?    

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