Gary Indiana : 1990s City that has Become a Ghost Town

An abandoned church in Gary.

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A postcard of Union Station in its heyday.

Gary Indiana, Steel Industry

Gary Indiana, previously had a strong steel industry, but global competition and industrial restructure have resulted in a 55% decrease in the city’s population since its peak in the 1960s. Many of the city’s buildings have been demolished and it is afflicted by poverty and ghettoization. One-third of the city’s housing stock is currently empty.

Ghost Town Gary Indiana
Union Station was a stop on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Only 25 miles from Chicago, Illinois, the United States Steel Corporation built the city of Gary in the year 1906. In order to serve the huge Gary Works, a massive steel mill located at the bottom of Lake Michigan, a city was established. Elbert Henry Gary, the first chairman of the United States Steel Corporation, was the source of the city’s name.

The steel mills were the engine behind the steady growth within the gary indiana magic city. An unrest among steelworkers striking and the workers hired to replace them took place at the heart of downtown Gary on the 4th of October of 1919 in the city’s strike of steelworkers.

The governor James P. Goodrich of Indiana declared martial law and sent out an army in order to restore the peace.

Gary Works Gary Works employed over 30,000 workers in the year 1970. However, by the year 1990, that number was down to 6000.

Within the industry of steel, US Steel struggled to keep up with international competition as well as since Gary was so dependent on one industry, its loss was felt throughout the city.

In attempts to improve the economy through diversification into new industries have been unsuccessful.

Gary Indiana
The Gary Works US Steel plant is still in operation today.

National Black Political Convention to Gary Indiana

If Richard G. Hatcher was elected as the mayor in Gary in 1967 and became one of America’s first mayors of African descent. It was a turbulent time during the movement for civil rights and Gary has an estimated 50% African-Americans, became frequently the scene of violence and racial tension.

Hatcher was on stage with Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy, Jesse Jackson and many other historical civil rights activists. He played a key role in organizing the historic National Black Political Convention to Gary.

Be notify with our Facebook: Abandoned Beauty

gary, indiana
gary indiana magic city| Brook Ward/Flickr

Prior to de-segregation in the 1960s, the Midtown neighborhood to the to the south of Downtown contained 97 percent of Gary’s African American population.

Because blacks were generally exclusion from Downtown Gary and the Midtown neighborhood was a self-contained neighborhood. In the year Richard Hatcher became mayor, the city embarked on an urban revitalization program for Midtown and urged minorities to relocate to other areas within the city.

abandoned gary indiana
Brook Ward/Flickr

Michael Jackson in Midtown

The Jacksons are one of America’s most notorious family of musicians, resided in Midtown. The year 1950 saw Joseph as well as Katherine Jackson moved away from East Chicago to Midtown, where they lived in an apartment with two bedrooms located in 2300 Jackson Street.

Jackson 5 Jackson 5 was the very first band to record the distinction of having four successive Billboard Hot 100 number one hit songs. Michael Jackson would later leave the group but later become one of the most successful musicians ever. Janet Jackson also rose to global fame, selling more than 100 million records around the world.

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The Jackson 5 once lived at 2300 Jackson Street in Midtown.
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Janet and Michael Jackson both became major international stars selling nearly 500 million records between them!

The year 2000 was the year that Gary was home to the largest proportion in African-Americans among cities that had greater than 100,000 within the United States. African-Americans comprised 84 % of the city’s Gary’s population.

In the years since, this number of African-Americans has been declining steadily to a point that it is estimated to be about 70,000. Gary is, as with the other Rust Belt towns, has been plagued with poverty, crime and social issues as well as an aging infrastructure.

gary indiana abandoned
In Gary, there is an abandoned house. Approximately 30% of the city’s residential properties are vacant.
gary indiana magic city
abandoned gary indiana
gary indiana magic city
Squatters have taken up residence in some of Gary’s abandoned properties.

Ghost Town Gary Indiana

Abandoned Gary Indiana has effectively become a ghost town. Schools have been closed, stores have closed, and houses have become derelict. It is second only to Detroit in terms of the percentage of population lost in the Rust Belt since the turn of the century.

The consequences of mergers and plant closures rippled through in the region of the “rust belt, decimating businesses that were ancillary to them and towns that depended on these industries.

Gary was dubbed”the “murder capital of the United States” in 1993 in a rate of 91 deaths per 100,000 residents – which is three times the rate of Chicago. Serial murderer Darren Deon Vann was arrested in 2014 for the murder of local women and the bodies of their victims were hidden in abandoned homes throughout the city in a true-life horror story that is a shocker to anyone who has a look around abandoned homes.

Though 7 bodies were found however, there is a chance that there are more missing. Because of the number of abandoned homes and buildings, there are plenty of locations to investigate.

However, in my personal experience, I never met one person within the town that wasn’t warm and friendly. This isn’t to say that statistics on crime shouldn’t be considered however, I think that, as with any other American city most citizens there would be happy to wish someone a good day or help them in need. This is an important fact that can’t be disregarded or overlooked.

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