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City of Gary, Indiana
—  City  —
City Hall

Nickname(s): City in Motion, City of the Century, GI, Magic City of Steel, The Steel City, The G
Motto: We Are Doing Great Things
Location in the state of Indiana, USA
Coordinates: 41°34′51″N 87°20′44″W / 41.58083°N 87.34556°W / 41.58083; -87.34556
Country United States
State Indiana
County Lake
Founded 1906
 - Type Council-Strong Mayor
 - Mayor Rudolph Clay (D)
 - Total 57.26 sq mi (148.3 km2)
 - Land 50.23 sq mi (130.1 km2)
 - Water 7.03 sq mi (18.2 km2)
Elevation 577 ft – 600+ ft (175.87  m – 180+ m)
Population (2006)
 - Total 99,516
 Density 2,045.6/sq mi (789.8/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 46401-46411
Area code(s) 219
FIPS code 18-27000[1]
GNIS feature ID 0434979[2]

Gary is a city in Lake County, Indiana, United States. The city is in the southeastern portion of the Chicago metropolitan area and is 25 miles from downtown Chicago. The population was 102,746 at the 2000 census, making it the fifth largest city in the state. Gary was once the second largest city in Indiana, behind Indianapolis, a position now held by Fort Wayne. It borders Lake Michigan and has large steel mills.



The city was founded in 1906 by the United States Steel Corporation as the home for its new plant. The city was named after the lawyer and founding chairman of U.S. Steel, Elbert H. Gary.

Among U.S. cities with a population of 100,000 or more, Gary has the highest percentage of African Americans, 84% (as of the 2000 U.S. census). Gary had one of the nation's first African-American mayors, Richard G. Hatcher, and hosted the ground-breaking 1972 National Black Political Convention. At the same time, Gary suffered from many affluent and middle-class residents leaving Gary and relocating to the surrounding towns and cities. Because of the loss of jobs in the city, many people left the area altogether for regions with employment.

Gary's fortunes have risen and fallen with those of the steel industry. In the 1960s, like many other American urban centers, Gary entered a downward spiral of decline. Gary's decline was brought on by the growing overseas competitiveness in the steel industry, which had caused U.S. Steel to layoff many workers from the Gary area. Crime increased, including use and trade in illegal drugs.

U.S. Steel continues to be a major steel producer, but with only a fraction of its former level of employment. While Gary has failed to reestablish a manufacturing base since its population peak, two casinos opened along the Gary lakeshore in the 1990s. Today, Gary faces numerous difficulties, including unemployment, major economic problems, and a high rate of crime, though the city has made some progress in addressing these issues since the 1990s.

Meredith Willson's 1957 Broadway musical The Music Man featured the song, Gary, Indiana, describing Gary Conservatory as the alleged alma mater of lead character Professor Harold Hill ("Gary Music Conservatory, Class of '05!"). The joke in Hill's claim, of course, is that the City of Gary wasn't founded until 1906. Wilson's musical, set in 1912, later was the basis of a film (1962) and a made-for-television film (2003).

Parts of the never-completed Chicago – New York Electric Air Line Railroad were built in the vicinity of Gary and used as interurban transport.

Recent history

Three-term Democratic Mayor Scott King resigned from office in March, 2006, citing a desire to return to private law practice.[3] Then-deputy mayor and former Calumet Township Trustee Dozier T. Allen Jr. became acting mayor, pending a formal election by local Democratic party officials. On April 4, 2006, local officials chose former Lake County Commissioner and King rival Rudolph Clay to fill the remaining 21 months of King's term.

The Gary Chicago International Airport has recently secured nearly 100 million dollars in grants and private donations. The FAA approved GYY's master plan which includes the expansion of runways, land acquistition for a larger terminal, an integrated transportation center, and provision for a third runway. The first part of the plan requires that the EJ&E line, which runs at the end of the runway, be relocated.

Gary was rated the 17th most dangerous city in the United States according to Morgan Quitno's 2007 analysis of crime rates (City Crime Rankings, 14th Edition), down from 10th highest in the 2006 edition. This is indicative of the progress Gary has made in reducing crime since the 1990s.[citation needed] The city recorded 51 homicides in 2006, a 13.5 percent decrease from the previous year. In 2007, Gary had 71 homicides — almost a 40 percent increase over 2006.

Dallas-based HomeVestors of America released their "Top 10 Markets for Real Estate Investing" list on December 9, 2006. Gary earned the number one position on this list, which represents activity of investors who purchase homes below market and then sell.[4] Also, Forbes Magazine recently listed Gary 39th on their Top 100 Best Cities for Jobs in 2008. The ranking was up from 89th in 2006 and 84th in 2007.[5]

In March, 2008 the Chief of Police, Deputy Chief and a police sergeant were all indicted by the federal court for violating the civil rights of a Gary resident.[citation needed]

After celebrating its 100th year in 2006, the city of Gary finally shows evidence of rebound from years of economic depression. Many buildings that have been left vacant for years are now finally slated for demolition and development.[6] Many new homes have been built through the HOPE VI grant from HUD. In 2009, the old town section of the city, still littered with deteriorating buildings and roads which have not been occupied or used for three decades, was featured in episode 2 of The History Channel's series Life After People, as an example of how quickly Chicago might deteriorate after human beings had vanished off of Earth, thanks largely to the effects of Lake Michigan on steel and reinforced concrete structures.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 57.2 square miles (148.3 km²), of which, 50.2 square miles (130.1 km²) of it is land and 7.0 square miles (18.2 km²) of it (12.25%) is water. The city sits on the southern end of the former lake bed of the prehistoric Lake Chicago, and the current Lake Michigan. Most of the city's soil nearly one foot below the surface is pure sand. The sand beneath Gary, and on its beaches, is of such high quality that in years past it was mined for the manufacture of glass.

Gary is "T" shaped, with its northern border on Lake Michigan. At the Northwesternmost section Gary borders Hammond and East Chicago. Miller Beach, its easternmost neighborhood, borders Lake Station and Portage. Gary's southernmost section borders Hobart and Merrillville.


Aetna is located on Gary's far east side along the Dunes Highway. Aetna predates the city of Gary. It was a company town founded in 1881 by the Aetna Powder Works, an explosives company, which closed with the end of World War I. The Town of Aetna was annexed in 1928 around the same time Gary annexed the Town of Miller. A building boom happened shortly afterward in the late 1920s and early 1930s making Aetna home to an impressive collection of art deco architecture. The rest of the community was built through out the 1950s after the Korean War in a series of phases. The eastern edge of Aetna is marked by wilderness and borders Miller Beach and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Ambridge is located on Gary's near west side along 5th Avenue. Ambridge was developed for workers at the nearby steel plant in the 1910s and 1920s, and is named after the American Bridge Works, which was a subsidiary of U.S. Steel. The neighborhood is home to a huge stock of prairie style and art deco homes. The Gary Masonic Temple is located in the neighborhood along with the Ambassador Apartment building. Located just south of Interstate 90, the neighborhood can be seen while passing Buchanan Street.

Black Oak is located on the far southwest side of Gary, in the vicinity of the Burr Street exit to the Borman Expressway. It was annexed in the 1970s. Prior to that, Black Oak was associated with Hammond, and the area has Hammond telephone numbers. The community was convinced by Mayor Hatcher that its residents would benefit from better services, provided by the city, than those provided by the county.

Brunswick is located on Gary's far west side. The neighborhood is located just south of Interstate 90 and can be seen from the expressway. The Brunswick area includes the old Tri-City Plaza shopping center on West 5th Avenue (U.S. 20). The area is south of the Gary Chicago International Airport.

Concord is located on westside of Gary located between Burr St. and Clark Road. It's one of the smaller neighborhoods in the city.

Lake County, Indiana Superior Court Building

Interstate 90 divides downtown Gary from the United States Steel Plant. Downtown Gary was developed in the 1920s and houses several pieces of impressive architecture, including several structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. A new office building was constructed in the downtown in recent years, as was a new baseball stadium for the Gary SouthShore RailCats. A significant number of older structures have been demolished in recent years, but a number of abandoned buildings remain in the downtown area, including historic structures like Gary's Union Station and City Methodist Church.

Glen Park is located on Gary's south side, made up mostly of mid-twentieth century houses. Glen Park is divided from the remainder of the city by the Borman Expressway. The northern portion of Glen Park is home to Gary's Gleason Park Golf Course and the campus of Indiana University Northwest. The far western portion of Glen Park is home to the Village Shopping Center.

Glen Ryan is a subdivision located on Gary's far east side along the Dunes Highway north of the South Shore Rail Road. The subdivision was built in phases between the late 1950s to the mid 1960's. The eastern edge of Glen Ryan is bordered by Miller Beach and the southern edge is bordered by Aetna.

Ivanhoe was a housing project located on Gary's west side along 11th Avenue west of Chase Street. Closed in the summer of 1965, the facility was "sealed off" by a chain link fence.

Marshalltown is a subdivision located on Gary's east side along Central Avenue and 21st Avenue to the east of Martin Luther King Drive. It was developed in the mid 1950's.

Midtown is located to the south of Downtown Gary, along Broadway. This was, traditionally, the original "black" neighborhood in the pre-1960's days of segregation.

Old Miller School, District #8

Miller Beach also known through the years as Miller Station or just simply as Miller, is on Gary's far east side. The Town of Miller predated the city of Gary by more than half a century, however Miller was forcibly annexed by the city of Gary in the early 1920s. Miller developed around the old stagecoach stop and train station known, as early as the 1840s, as Miller's Junction. Miller Town Hall stands on the corner of Grand Boulevard and Miller Avenue at Old Hobart Road. The Historic Miller Schoolhouse is now the South Shore Center for the Performing Arts and it stands in Miller on Lake Street near the Miller South Shore train station.

Tarrytown is a subdivision located on Gary's west side between Whitcomb Street and Clark Road.

Tolleston is one of Gary's oldest neighborhoods, predating much of the rest of the city. It was plated out by George Tolle in 1857, when the railroads came to the area. The area is to the west of downtown Gary and south of the Ambridge area.

Westbrook is an apartment complex on the west side of the city between Taft and Chase Streets, adjacent to the old Pennsylvania Railroad tracks, and the neighborhood surrounding that complex. It lies to the north of Tolleston.


Although Gary is located on similar latitudes as New York City, the climate is colder in the winter because of a more continental influence. In July and August, the warmest months, high temperatures average 84 °F (29 °C) and peak just above 100 °F (38 °C) and low temperatures average 63 °F (17 °C). In January and February, the coldest months, high temperatures average around 29 °F (-2 °C) and low temperatures average 13 °F (-11 °C), with at least a few days of temperatures dipping below 0 °F (-18 °C). The weather of Gary is greatly regulated by its proximity to Lake Michigan, as it sits at the lake's southernmost point. Weather varies yearly. Tornadoes strike annually, though the city has generally avoided major damage. In summer months Gary is humid. The city's yearly precipitation averages about 40 inches. Summer is the rainiest season, with rainfall of short duration and very loud, drawn-out thunderstorms. Winters vary but are predominantly snowy with regular blizzards. Snowfall in Gary can average 24 to 36 inches per winter, but sometimes large blizzards hit because of "lake effect snow," a phenomenon wherein large amounts of water evaporated from the lake deposits onto the shoreline areas inordinate amounts of snow.

Climate data for Gary, IN
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 30.4
Average low °F (°C) 13.9
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.9
Source: [7] 2008-07-28


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1910 15,802
1920 55,378 250.4%
1930 100,666 81.8%
1940 111,719 11.0%
1950 133,911 19.9%
1960 178,320 33.2%
1970 175,415 −1.6%
1980 144,953 −17.4%
1990 116,646 −19.5%
2000 102,746 −11.9%
Est. 2007 96,429 −6.1%
U.S. Census Bureau[8]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 102,746 people, 38,244 households, and 25,623 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,045.5 people per square mile (789.8/km²). There were 43,630 housing units at an average density of 868.6/sq mi (335.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.03% African American, 11.92% White, 0.21% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.97% from other races, and 1.71% from two or more races. 4.93% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 38,244 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.2% were married couples living together, 30.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.28.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.9% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 84.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,195, and the median income for a family was $32,205. Males had a median income of $34,992 versus $24,432 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,383. About 22.2% of families and 25.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.9% of those under age 18 and 14.1% of those age 65 or over.


  • Newspapers — Gary is served by two major newspapers based outside the city, as well as a Gary-based, largely African-American interest paper. These papers provide regional topics, and cover events in Gary. Offices and facilities for the Post-Tribune are now based in Merrillville, a suburb of Gary.
  • Broadcast — Gary is served by five local broadcasters plus government access and numerous Chicago area radio and TV stations, and by other nearby stations in Illinois and Indiana.
    • W18AT (Channel 18) a repeater of LeSEA's WHME in South Bend.
    • WPWR (Channel 50) is the Chicago My Network TV affiliate, but is licensed to Gary. Studios and transmitters are co-located with WFLD's in Chicago, and like WFLD, WPWR is owned by Fox Television Stations.
    • WYIN (Channel 56) is a PBS affiliate licensed to Gary. Their studios are in Merrillville.
    • WGVE (FM 88.7) is owned by the Gary Community School Corporation, and is used primarily as a teaching facility. Programming is maintained by students in the broadcast program at the Gary Career Center. WGVE also carries limited NPR programming.
    • WLTH (AM 1370) carries syndicated talk programming, and is owned by Pluria Marshall Jr.
    • WWCA (AM 1270) is presently a Relevant Radio owned-and-operated radio station, carrying programming from the Catholic-oriented Relevant Radio network.

Financial difficulties

Property tax limitations implemented for the entire state of Indiana have left Gary in a financially difficult situation [1]. The city is one of the few in the US that uses cash based accounting, a system usually limited to use in very small businesses and not municipalities with budgets greater than 80 million dollars [2]. Gary currently is under temporary reprieve from full implementation of the state tax caps, an implementation that is scheduled to be applied to Gary in 2012. At that point Gary's property tax revenue of approximately $60M is projected to be cut to approximately $30M. The budget changes necessary at that point are widely viewed to be devastating [3].

Due to its cash accounting system, there is difficulty determining what Gary's one time liabilities are. In late 2009, they are at least $34M in debts and unpaid judgments by the city to various parties in addition to the upcoming projected structural deficit due to mandatory tax caps.

Movie locations

In 2009 scenes for the remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street were filmed in Gary.[9]


The following sports franchises are based in Gary:

  • On August 3, 1956, Willie J. Williams broke Jesse Owens' 20-year-old World's Record in the 100 meter dash. This feat was accomplished after Williams was injured in the 1956 Olympic Trials while participating in an International World Military Track competition. In addition to breaking Jesse Owens' record, Williams did so on the same track and on the same date. Jesse Owens won four gold medals in 1936 while defying Hitler in Berlin's stadium. In the process of breaking the World's Record, Williams also defeated another gold medal Olympian, Ira Murchison.

This information is documented in the 1958 World Book Encyclopedia.



Primary and secondary schools

There are three school districts serving the city as well as multiple charter schools located within the city.

Most public schools in Gary are administered by the Gary Community School Corporation. The other public schools within the city are administered by Lake Ridge Schools Corporation. Some Gary residents in the outskirts attend schools administered by the River Forest Community School Corporation.

Gary Charter Schools operates several charter schools.

Higher education

Gary is home to two regional state college campuses:

Public libraries

Downtown Library

The Gary Public Library System consists of the main library at 220 West 5th Avenue and several branches: Brunswick Branch, W. E. B. DuBois Branch, J. F. Kennedy Branch, Tolleston Branch, and Ora L. Wildermuth Branch.[10] Lake County Public Library operates the Black Oak Branch at 5921 West 25th Avenue in the Gary city limits.[11] In addition Indiana University Northwest operates the Indiana University Northwest Library on its campus.[12]


  • GPTC (Gary Public Transportation Corporation) a commuter bus system that offers service to numerous stops throughout the city and neighboring suburbs. GPTC also has express service to locations outside of the city including connections to Chicago transit. Front door pickup is available for disabled citizens at no extra cost.
  • GYY (Gary/Chicago International Airport) is operating as the "third airport" for the Chicago area. It is currently undergoing much federally funded expansion, and the administration is courting airlines aggressively. Boeing already bases their corporate fleets here.[citation needed] The National Guard is intending to base their Chicago area air operation there as well,[4] which would add much needed security to the airport, taking away some of the stigma of an airport in Gary.

Sister city

Notable people

Michael Jackson's childhood home in in Gary, Indiana

Gary is the hometown of The Jackson Family, a family of musicians who influenced and shaped the sound of popular music. Joe and Katherine Jackson originally moved into their two-room house of 2300 Jackson St. in Gary, Indiana, after they got married on November 5, 1949.

Other notable people

See also


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Gary, still waiting for the good days to return
Gary, still waiting for the good days to return

Gary [1] is a city in Lake County, Indiana.

Founded in 1906 as a company town for U.S. Steel, it once had the nickname "The Magic City". More recently, it has been described by writer Jessica Hopper as "the Pompeii of the Midwest, a city of ruins where life can seem to have just suddenly stopped".


Gary is both famous and infamous. It's the "just one place that can light my face" and "home sweet home" effusively described in the song of the same name from the 1957 musical The Music Man. It's the childhood home of Michael, Tito, Jermaine, and the rest of the Jackson family. It's also home to an unattractive and often industrial-smelling stretch of highway east of Chicago, and has repeatedly ranked first in the nation among large cities for homicides per capita.

When designing the city, the U.S. Steel Corporation bragged that its engineers "took for their guidance the motto that hangs in the office of the big company's chief executive, "It can be done," and made Gary at least an attractive, if not a beautiful, residential town," and posited Gary as evidence that "management has always shown its realization of the fact that "not by bread alone does man live"; that the mere paying of employees a living wage is not sufficient, and that even the least educated worker has an aesthetic sense, even though often uncultivated, that should be developed and pandered to within reasonable limits if the best good of the worker and the employer is to be achieved." As U.S. Steel began to struggle in the late 1960s, the city's economy followed, and it has yet to recover.

Two casinos, legalized in Gary out of sheer desperation, make it a destination for gamblers on short trips and locals on pay-day . Its crumbling architectural heritage also makes it a favorite — and dangerous — destination for urban exploration.

City hall
City hall

By plane

The Gary/Chicago International Airport [2] is located at the northwest corner of the city. Alas, there's no commercial air service at present, but the casinos run occasional charter flights.

  • The Chicago/South Shore line [3] has two stops in Gary, with departures every two hours. Tickets are $5.
  • The nearest Amtrak stations are both 10 miles away in Dyer and Hammond.

By car

Take the Indiana Toll Road from Illinois ($3 from Chicago) or Ohio to exit 14A (Gary West) or exit 17 (Gary East). Exit 17 intersects with Interstate 65 and U.S. Routes 12 & 20.

By bus

Greyhound Buses stop in Gary. Their offices are at 100 W 4th Ave, Ste. 106 in Gary; tel. 219-886-3041.

By boat

Lake Michigan and the Grand Calumet River are nearby.

Get around

There is a limited local bus service. The depot is two blocks west of the baseball stadium, and it's quite easy to walk around the four-five blocks of downtown Gary (including the City Methodist Church ruins). However, while visiting Gary, use of a car is strongly advised, both due to limited transport, and relatively high levels of violent crime, (even downtown, at night).

Modern ruins at the City Methodist Church
Modern ruins at the City Methodist Church


Gary was once a thriving city, and it has the architecture to prove it — intact or otherwise.

  • The Ingwald Moe House (669 Van Buren) and The Wilbur Wynant House (600 Fillmore) were designed by master architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1910 and 1916, respectively. The Wynant House is in rough shape, with several years of start-and-stop restoration work and changes in ownership.
  • For more Prairie-school action, head to Marquette Park for the Marquette Park Pavilion (tours Mon-Fri, 9AM-5PM) and The Gary/Chanute Aquatorium (tel. 219-938-8081) [4], designed by George Maher in 1922 as The Gary Beach & Bathing House. An aquatorium is, evidently, a place where one can view — not swim in — water, so don't show up in your bathing suit. There's a major display dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen.
  • The old Gary Post Office (Sixth and Massachusetts) is missing a few things, most notably the US Postal Service and a roof, but it's still there; built in 1936, the interior is now off-limits, but fans of tree-in-building shots who can't make it all the way to Angkor can catch a glimpse of several saplings behind the teller windows.
  • The Gary Memorial Auditorium (Seventh and Massachusetts) and the City Methodist Church (Sixth and Washington) are former city landmarks, in ruins after the Great Gary Arson of 1997. The latter is something of an Urbex mecca, and well worth a visit if you're willing to brave it. Don't let the barbed wire fence fool you, there are two wide open entrances on Washington, no no trespassing signs, and, happily, a parking lot opposite the building! The stairs are well-tested and safe enough, although the upper levels are not interesting compared to the amazing theater & main room on the first. Be sure to look for the last of the church's grand fireplaces in between the theater and main church — it's the last, as the rest have been stolen by enterprising, and quite undoubtedly strong, thieves.
  • The Gary Mural Project redecorates boarded-up storefronts along Broadway.
  • The Gary Children's Museum (273 Cleveland St; tel 219-882-7061) is in town.
  • The West Side Theater
  • The Morning Bishop Theater Playhouse
The Gary "Aquatorium"
The Gary "Aquatorium"
  • Gary Steelheads, One Genesis Center Plaza (Genesis Convention Center), +1 219 883-3000 (, fax: +1 219 883-3543), [5]. Minor league basketball team. Tickets: $5-50.  edit
  • Gary SouthShore RailCats, U.S. SteelYard Stadium, +1 219 882-2255. Home games are played between mid-May and early September. Northern league (minor league) baseball team. $10 per ticket, parking free.  edit
  • Marquette Park is a beloved outdoors area, and is really quite beautiful (especially Marquette Aquatorium listed above). The beach is by far the nicest west of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore's West Beach, and is a fine place for a dip during the day. A stroll through around the lagoon and its pretty bridges west of the Aquatorium is also a nice way to kill some time.


There are two casinos along the lakeshore, both of which have plenty of fake-Vegas glitz and few traces of the city outside.

  • Majestic Star Casino and Hotel, 1 Buffington Harbor Drive, +1 219 977-7932 (fax: +1 219 977-7811), [6].  edit
  • Trump Casino, 6012 Industrial Highway, +1 219 977-7000.  edit
  • Indiana University Northwest [7] has a campus in Gary, with about 5,000 students.
  • Ivy Tech Community College [8] is also in the area.


The city is not widely renowned as a shopping destination, and with good reason. There's little to buy here that you couldn't buy elsewhere, and most (budget) shops are located in strip malls outside the city center. Gary is, however, perhaps ground zero for Michael Jackson and Jackson Five memorabilia. An easy (and, it must be said, cheesy) spot to pick up the goods is the small indoor marketplace at 487 Broadway, which also boasts a good collection of over the top celebratory Obama tees.

  • The Market City Flea Market (4121 Cleveland St., tel. 219.887.3522) is open Friday Saturday and Sunday, 9AM-5PM. Look for the annual "Taste of Market City & Carnival" in June.
5th Ave near downtown, one of the main streets
5th Ave near downtown, one of the main streets

Gary is extremely short on sit-down eateries. Take out is much easier to find if you have a car—look in and around the run down strip malls along 5th Ave outside of the city center. Lake St, on the way from the city proper to Marquette Park, has about two blocks that look incongruously charming, and there you'll have no trouble getting a slice of pizza. Otherwise, turn to Bennigans!

  • Arman's Dog House, 5875 Melton, 219-939-1000. M-Sa 10AM-10PM. Also known as Dawg Fish Grill, has plenty of meat and no qualms about frying it up for you.
  • Italian Sandwich Shop, 487 Broadway; tel. 219-880-2636. M-Sa until 5PM. Sadly, the appetizing soul food cafe at this location has been replaced by a less interesting sandwich shop. It is, however, an easy place to stop in when downtown—it's less than a block from City Hall, friendly, and welcoming. And there is at least one local sandwich—try the "U.S. Steel."
  • Bennigan's. Two blocks west of the baseball stadium, is a bland pub-chain with outlets all over the country. The one in Gary, however, is a lot of fun. It's one of the very few sit-down restaurants anywhere near downtown, and it gets a lot of business accordingly. Weekends see live music (with some really impressive jazz musicians!), and the bar is hopping with Gary's small yuppie population. The daily deals are astounding—show up on Monday for a $3 chicken and waffles platter!. Politely ignore patently false claims to be the World's Largest Bennigan's. The restaurant is additionally useful in that it actually stays open after the downtown workforce goes home.  edit
  • Juice Garden, 2700 Fifth, tel. 219-881-0212. M-Sa 8AM-6PM, with breakfast until 11AM. A grocery store and health-food restaurant that serves organic grub because they believe God wants it that way. It's run by a local minister and his family. It's vegan-friendly (but not exclusively).
  • Miller Bakery Cafe, 555 S. Lake, tel. 219-938-2229. Lunch Tu-F, dinner Tu-Su. This is as upscale as dining gets in Gary, with contemporary American, Asian, French and Italian dishes, a nice location, and a sizable wine list. Call to confirm hours and for reservations.


There are bars and lounges all over Gary. The trouble is, they're all shuttered, having closed or burned down in years gone by.

  • Chops Lounge, 3100 W 5th Ave, +1 219 949-1810. Notable for being open, and it may offer live musical performances.  edit
  • The Palace on 5th, 529 E 5th Ave, +1 219 886-9346‎. Music usually starts after 9:30PM. Conveniently across the street from the Bennigan's, the Palace is the place to go for live music in downtown Gary. Music is near and dear to Gary locals, and their blues and jazz acts are of a quality very rare in small cities. (And, as you might imagine, Gary is a natural incubator for the blues.) Since there are so few real venues for musicians, the caliber of local performances here can be really high. Other acts include the occasional (Chicago-style) steppers dance night, as well as regular R&B karaoke on Wednesdays.  edit


You'll probably want to day-trip from Chicago, which is about 45 minutes away; Hammond (about 20 minutes) has some reasonably non-decrepit discount options.

  • Majestic Star Casino, 1 Buffington Harbor Dr (in the eponymous Casino listed above), [9]. This is not a good hotel—seedy lodgings in a seedy casino. But it's the nicest in Gary, and it's not so bad that you must avoid it if at the casino, or on a business trip. $90-150.  edit

Stay safe

As above, Gary has repeatedly ranked first in the United States for murder rates per capita, so take care. Due to the economic depression, many businesses close in the evening, so call ahead to confirm that wherever you're going is still open, and don't set out at night without a destination in mind. If you're tempted to do some urban exploration, bear in mind that the poverty of the city means that much more potential danger from people squatting in abandoned properties. Make sure someone knows where you're going, and check in with them as you go.

  • Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus, 600 Grant St, tel. 219-886-4000.
ChicagoHammond  W noframenoframe E  Lake Station
ChicagoHammond  W noframe E  Lake StationSouth Bend
END  N noframe S  HobartLafayette
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GARY, a city of Lake county, Indiana, U.S.A., at the southern end of Lake Michigan, about 25 m. S.E. of Chicago, Ill. Pop. (1910 census) 16,802. Gary is served by the Baltimore & Ohio, the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, the Michigan Central, the Pennsylvania, the Wabash, and (for freight only) the Chicago, Lake Shore & Eastern, and the Indiana Harbor Belt railways, and by several steamship lines plying the Great Lakes. There are about 21 sq. m. within the municipal limits, but the city lies chiefly within a tract of about 8000 acres composed at the time of its settlement mainly of sand dunes and swamps intersected from east to west by tha Grand Calumet and the Little Calumet rivers, small streams respectively about and 3 m. S. of the lake shore. In 1906 the United States Steel Corporation bought this tract to establish on it a great industrial community, as direct water connexion with the Lake Superior ore region was possible, and it was comparatively accessible to West Virginia coal and Michigan limestone, with unusual railroad facilities. The Steel Corporation began the actual building of the town in June 1906, the first step being the installation of an elaborate system of sewers, and of mains and conduits, for the distribution of water, gas and electricity. The water-supply is taken from the lake at a point 2 m. offshore by means of a tunnel. These public utilities the Steel Corporation controls, and it has built about 500 dwellings, two hotels, a bank, and its own plant. A small patch of land, now within the limits of the city, has been from the beginning in the hands of private owners, but the remainder of the lots (except those already sold) are owned by the Steel Corporation, and are sold under certain restrictions intended to prevent real estate speculation, to guarantee bona fide improvement of the property, and to restrict the sale of intoxicating drinks. Between the Grand Calumet river (which has been dredged out into a canal) and the lake lies the plant of the Steel Corporation, covering about 1200 acres. All the machinery in this great plant is driven by electricity from generators whose motive power is supplied by the combustion of gases from the blast furnaces. From the same sources is also supplied the electricity for lighting the city. The rail mill is operated by three-phase induction motors of from 2000 to 6000 horse-power capacity. The city was chartered in 1906 and was named in honour of Elbert Henry Gary (b. 1846), chairman of the board of directors and chairman of the finance committee of the United States Steel Corporation.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Medieval short form of Germanic compound names beginning with gari (spear)/geri (spear), such as Gerard, Gerald, or Gerbert. Cognate with the Scottish and Irish Gaelic name Garaidh.

  • The last-century popularity of the given name is due to the American actor Gary Cooper (1901-1961), whose stage name was invented by his agent, a native of Gary, Indiana.

Proper noun




  1. A patronymic surname.
  2. A town in Indiana, and other U.S. places named for persons with the surname Gary.
  3. A male given name, popular from the 1940s to the 1970s.


  • 1957 Meredith Willson: The Music Man: Gary, Indiana ( a song) :
    Gary, Indiana!
    What a wonderful name!
    Named for Elbert Gary of judiciary fame.
    Gary, Indiana, as Shakespeare would say,
    Trips along softly on the tongue this way
  • 1964 Anne Tyler: If Morning Ever Comes. Severn House 1983. page 52:
    "Gary's an awful name. Whatever he's like. It reminds me of a G.I. man with a crew cut, and 'Mom' tattooed on his chest, and lots of pin-up pictures on his wall."


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