Park service director Jonathan Jarvis was invited to visit Thursday by U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who has been pushing the national park idea for the Pullman community.
The neighborhood was founded by industrialist George Pullman in 1880. It was known for manufacturing Pullman Palace Sleeper Cars, the most luxurious railcar for nearly a century.
Pullman also is the birthplace of the world's first African-American union, the Brotherhood of Pullman Porters. Its well-preserved homes and buildings have served as a backdrop for Hollywood movies.
It would be Illinois' second national park if the effort succeeds, joining President Abraham Lincoln's homestead in Springfield.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.