Sunday, May 10, 2009

Gary Indiana, Gary Indiana, Gary Indiana

I apologize for not touching this blog all week, except to feed you some sentimental trip about ANTM. I've had the flu, and I've been in hiding, since everyone in public areas looks at me like I'm Patient Zero. Also, last weekend was very....tumultuous. I've just been hanging out in normalcy for a minute. Oh, but I took some great pictures.

It is the highlight of every trip to Chicago for me when the Megabus goes through Gary, IN. It is NOT the highlight of every trip when the inevitable drunk halfwit starts singing the Music Man. Let me enjoy my industrial destruction in peace please. I particularly like the landscape at night, when all the steel mills are lit up like a human baby battery farm.

Sadly, I've been told I'm not allowed to go into Gary at night without body armor and a gun. However, my sister and I are certainly not going to be told we can't wander Gary by ourselves in the daylight. Cause we're not ridiculous. So last Sunday we took a 3 hour cruise through the Little Town that Couldn't.

By lucky coincidence, the episode of Life After People I saw a few days before the trip featured Gary! As an example of what a city would look like 30 years after everyone disappeared. Wah wah. But it gave me some great landmarks to look for. Quite frankly, I don't know why everyone is so scared of Gary. It looks pretty much like some of the worser parts of Cleveland's East Side, apocalyptic sure, but not Mad Maxian. And we didn't see even one roving dog gang. Which quite frankly was disappointing.

First stop was Union Station, the old Gary train station. It's nestled in between City Hall and the Steel Mill. The train runs right beside it, which is awesome until you remember the roof is falling down.

Next we found the Palace Theater. This one was unfortunately pretty well sealed, and while I'm sure we could have broken in somehow, I don't relish going into large squatter friendly buildings that have no windows without a flashlight.

I'm convinced someone planted those letters on the Marquee for a photo op. Or someone has since glued them into place.

My favorite too scary for words building was the old Methodist church. It had a fence around it, which had been completely torn down by the entrance. And sure it was right next to the police station, but that doesn't seem to have stopped anyone. If I had been in there with a group of people, I could have stayed forever. It was beautiful. But also the whole place was cellars and dark corners and tiny unseen rooms, which was actually terrifying. Plus there was there was this scary scene from The Warriors:

We looked for the Frank Lloyd Wright house that was discovered here in 1995...but all we found was a missing address.

And finally, we found the Gary Aquatorium in Marquette Park. This whole park was beautiful, sand dunes and art deco on the lake. You could really see what Gary used to be when you stood there. And off in the distance you could see the blue shadows of the steel mills and Chicago, in another world completely. Gary reminded me of the Deep South, in the winter. Isolated, empty, preserved.

As we drove out of the park though, we passed the new renovated Bathing House in which someone was having a wedding. Seeing the Sunday hats and shiny cars was a shock, reminding us that normal people actually lived here. In those fairly nice houses all around the park. Because Gary is not actually dead, it's just rotten at its downtown core.

The rest of my Gary pictures can be found here.


  1. Jealous! Especially of the church, though it does look terrifying. I am also obsessed with going here someday:

  2. Absolutely. I want to hit up Vegas period. I think its an interesting place because it's really our most recent large city, like it's grown up into a major metropolitan just in the last few decades. So it would be cool to go look at the traffic patterns and the development. And then the sequins.

  3. You and your sister are two very brave souls!

    Admittedly, I became slightly nervous just reading your post and viewing the pictures. That town creeps me out. . .

    However, you somehow managed to capture a beauty in its desolation and deterioration*


  4. Just started watching Life After People, which has sent me on a virtual Gary Indiana trip this evening.
    Now I'm in a vortex looking for places here in Cleveland, Ohio to explore!
    Great blog post, great pics.


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