'gary-indiana-ghost-town''gary-indiana-ghost-town' Urban exploration: Gary, Indiana, ghost town

Gary, Indiana, ghost town

Type CountryExploration DateOn the MapStatusRating
Public building
Public building
2006-08-12Where is it on the map???Endangered****

No Future City?

Another 2006 exploration. to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the city of Gary, Indiana. The city was artificially founded by the United States Steel Corporation in 1906, on the shore of Lake Michigan. Just to to meet the region's needs for the flourishing steel industry. The city reached up to 200,000 inhabitants.

The White flee from Gary (white flight), unemployment and insecurity set up. The city gets more and more empty, encounters major economic problems, and reaches the highest rate of crime of USA. Today, the beautiful huge buildings are demolished one by one, leaving behind large empty spaces.

More info about Gary? Just check the Wikipedia article.

Note: this page shows only some older, abandoned buildings downtown Gary. It does not show the effort done by the city to re-launch Gary in its 2nd century.


Gary, Indiana, ghost town - Click to enlarge!
Seth Thomas aka dev null



I had the chance to do this exploration guided by Seth Thomas (aka dev null) in August 2006.

He was loving Urban Exploring in general, but Gary was for him more than just another exploration.

Since then, Seth passed away way too early, at the age of 24.

May this page be dedicated to him.

Wherever you are Seth, we are all sure you keep EXPLORING.

1-100 of 2147 Comments
Mr G
April 19, 2014 - 06:14
response to edward

Why would anyone want to move to Chicago? It is overcrowded, overpriced, and made up of many smaller Gary cities. 159th looks like Calumet township, 115th looks like the west side of Gary, 95th looks looks like 25th, 43rd looks like Glen Park, and no one lives downtown Chicago. The north side of Chicago is the gay community, and the west side of Chicago is a mirror of Iraq's war results.

People moved to Gary to obtain cheaper housing, stay close to Chicago, and stay close to family. There has been a large influx of Chicagoans moving to Gary in the past 20 years. This happened when HUD began closing down its housing developments and encouraged single family living. Section 8 housing vouchers are more used for rental units in Gary.

There were comments about getting beat up in school. I don't recall that happening that much. When it did, it was directed to the kids who probably deserved a but whooping. I saw several privilaged kids get their attitudes changed around because they thought they were better.

The arab term is a general term to mean middle easterners who disrespect blacks who bought their products. Hint: Spike Lee's Fight the power movie. The arabs still have an attitude of they are better. They are the same, otherwise they wouldn't be behind the glass window selling roach clips and bootleg movies.

There are many problem people in Gary. There is no hiding place from them. But, other communities have the same issues. Probably not as often, but it does happen.

Nancy – Brooklyn ny
April 17, 2014 - 03:23
Old panoramic photos of Gary, IN

You might enjoy these panoramics photos of industrial sites and residential areas of Gary in the early part of the 20th century. They are posted on a genealogy website, and the people there ask if anyone can add any info to the pictures.


Edward – Chicago
April 13, 2014 - 11:34
Dear Charmaine

My first question is why would anyone move to Gary in the 1980s? To quote the Brother Mister Malcolm X, "that's not intelligent." And as for the Arabs running gas stations in Gary, I've never see an Arab anywhere in Gary. I see Pakistani run gas stations, Indian (dot not feather) owned gas stations but never Arab. Of course you know that neither of these people are "Arabs." Also remember, that Arabs are almost all very wealthy so they don't run gas stations. They don't even hold down jobs in their own countries, they have third county national (TCNs) working in everything they own. There is truth in what the Arab traders did back in the day, so maybe you could take that up with the country of Saudi Arabia and not with the non Arabs you believe work in Gary who you say aren't selling high quality goods to black people from gas stations in Gary. I don't know about anyone else, but gas stations anywhere are not where you go to purchase quality goods. I suppose some of those T/A truck stops might have some nice things to sell so maybe you should advise your readers to go there for a quality shopping experience. Just some thoughts.

Edward (A former Gary resident and an African American)

Charmaine Pearson – Gary Ind
April 03, 2014 - 17:00
I understand why all surrounding towns in northern Indiana are skeptical and fear Gary!

I moved here in early 1980's I was taken back by the appearance of the city's neighborhood's which was run down and marred by many abandoned homes. I remember entering my first few gas stations and being puzzled by the protective shields between myself and the cashier. I didn't know why they were there. I remember whispering to myself, I don't remember seeing these shields in my former hometown. I remember my first time trying to return books to the public library drop box what drop box ? It was locked once again I muttered the drop boxes back home were never locked in fact they had one by the library entrance you could drop books directly into the building 24/7. But not here in Gary. I asked someone why, he answered;Miss they have to keep it locked because people don't just throw library books in they also throw in trash! I didn't understand why people had dogs to protect their property hey, back home people had German Shepards and other big dogs simply for pets. And the steel security doors I never saw one of those either, until I moved here to GARY INDIANA AND DID WE BURN BACK AND FRONT PORCH LIGHTS AT NIGHT FOR PROTECTION? HELL NO. And where was the thriving downtown business and shopping areas Yes I remember shopping and paying bills and stopping off at many cafe's for a bite to eat in my former hometown YOU SEE WE HAD SEVERAL BLOCKS OF A VERY REAL DOWNTOWN. AREAS And who were all these people WHO WEREN'T AND STILL AREN'T BLACK RUNNING ALL THE SERVICE STATIONS AND CORNER GROCERS. WHO SOLD AND STILL SELL A BUNCH OF ROTTEN SHIT TO BLACKS "WHO ARE IN THE MAJORITY IN THIS CITY." Have you checked your history books black people of Gary these people who you turned your city businesses over to are of Arab descent do you know that centuries ago Arab kidnapped and turned african tribes against each other so they could receive the African prisoners of war for use in the ARAB SLAVE TRADE? The Arabs slave trade sometimes made the Europeans look sick From the looks things the way they run their businesses here in Gary you know the crappy shit they sell they haven't changed too much cause if they really cared for American Blacks their services to us would be better! Where is the Black Power good folks? I sure don't see much much of it here! Why do you all let outsiders come in and have the economic power you have the potential to show? It's been a long time since my arrival here and I'm still astounded by all this.No wonder everyone bad mouths this place oh and one more thing why can't we blacks get our act together and try to have more constructive interactions with other look at the crime ! that sticks in my mind and heart here is one incident that occurred a few years ago. A young lady a black young lady walked over and asked her Black male neighbor to lower his music,it was so loud it was vibrating her walls and her son was ill so it probably was ,bothering him. Her neighbor response was when she after she left him she went to the corner gas station she saw her black guy there he didn't say anything but when she returned her neighbor walked over and begin beating her he beat so bad her vision went bad in one of her eyes. Now what if that had been a a white man that that beat the hell out of her! Yeah is this black unity? On boy Gary Indiana my my my.

George Jasso
March 31, 2014 - 09:05
responce to Mr G's comments

When I said that I "walked to school in fear and walked the school hallways in fear, it was because of the black boys that would congregate in multiples of 4 or more seeking a white or latino skinned colored boy and ask him for money. If he didn't have it he'd better run 'cause he's gonna get the crap beat out of him. When Richard Gorgon Hatcher was running for mayor, he promised a "City on the Move" Campaign...where is he now after his money laundering and corruption? I remember being cornered by 3 blacks at the West Side High School gymnasium swimming pool class asking me who I was going to vote for...I had to say Richard G Hatcher or else! Or else get the crap beat out of me. Corruption starts at the top, then trickles down to the city workers...then police force..then school administrators... etc......moving to Houston was the best thing to happen to my life! Stop blaming the white colored folk for Gary's downfall.

Brenda – United States
March 29, 2014 - 20:21

I see lots of comments and opinions, but I'd like to see what people would do different if anything, to have maintained the beautiful and productive city and home to many, that Gary was. It's no trophy for anyone at this date.

Rick – Tampa
March 22, 2014 - 04:46
Zoo like

Zoo like would be putting it nicely. It's a war zone. They film war movies and super hero actions films there; look it up.

I love the city, I always will and I'm proud to be from there. But I'm highly educated, I have common sense and I have two functioning eyes which GOD provided me with, and I can see what is before me. The city is dead, the violent crime rate is outrageous, unemployment is the name of the game in that city, and the number of vacant dilapidated houses and buildings is as bad as I saw in Iraq. In fact, I was safer in Iraq.

Jason M
March 17, 2014 - 01:56
Clarification on Desire to do Urbex in Gary

It was never my intention to depict Gary in a "zoo-like" atmosphere as mentioned below.
I am an unpublished, very much amatuer photographer. As mentioned in a previous post in response to someones desire to photograph Gary, there is nothing that has not been photographed before and I will really bring nothing new to the table. It is, at this point, for my own use.
It saddens me to see the city in its current state, as I have been there before. I am aware of the many fond memories and sadness that many current and ex-residents have towards their once great city. There are almost too many reasons to list how it came to be this way but it seems like a combo of alot of little things.I know that but unfortunately, it is what it is and there is nothing I can do about it. I can say that if I do go there to shoot, if there is some positive I can show, I feel I have an obligation to include that too.

Mr G
March 16, 2014 - 15:56
Grew up in Gary 70-80's

I have been reading a this site a few times and wanted to add my 2 cents. There are a lot of reasons why Gary's demise happened - white flight, high unemployment and declining wages, declining property values, etc. But, the biggest issue is the decline of the family structure as a result of all of the other pieces combined. High unemployment, a declining school system, a declining tax base, limited access to quality food (which ultimately leads to poor health), a declining health care structure, and declining new wealth. When you take all of these pieces and add them up, the family structure takes the biggest hit. The divorce rate goes up when families have financial problem. Those who work and get sick as a result of poor health and limited health care access are not able to continue working to support their family. Children are not able to get the quality education because the family structure is broken and thus there is not a replacement of new knowledge. When the neighborhood corner store or the local Walgreens becomes your first choice to buy food because the normal grocery store has closed and moved to Portage, you can't buy the much needed fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, etc. Families end of expecting the school system to feed the kids the proper meals and when you feed your children pizza and chips in the evening, that is what they will eat at lunch.

What you see in those pictures is not only because of white flight. It is not only because Gary elected a black mayor in 1968. It is not only because the steel industry declined or because of the crime rate. All of the issues slowly developed over time, meshed together, and formed a web that can only change with the opposite effect in a slow manner. A certain race does not guarantee that a City will prosper or not.

What I remember growing up in Gary and graduating from a Gary High School in the late 80's was there were a lot of issues that many of us dealt with. I could go to any side of town and if you talked to people as if you can relate to them, treat them the same, and show them that you understand, you would be ok. Those who thought they were better or smarter often had issues that they put out in the forefront. There were 2 Gary's - one for those whose parents taught their kids that Gary is a bad place and that it is a black city that is not for them, and the other Gary that everyone enjoyed and didn't put down. Now we all knew where the areas were that you had to be careful of but we didn't go there with our noses up. But, we also went to the areas that were well off and didn't act like we didn't belong either. I wouldn't go into the Ivanhoe project housing development looking at everyone like they were animals. I wouldn't go along Lakeshore Drive in Miller and look at the white people with an evil look like I wanted to rob them.

But, I had white friends who went to the private schools such as Andrean. Some lived in Miller and went to Portage. Some went to Roosevelt only because their parents wanted them to say they went to Roosevelt. At the end of the day, we played sports together, hung out together, and went to each other's houses. The white parents were ok with us coming over almost every day, but their white friends who didn't live nearby and came over every once in a while were given preferential treatment. They were able to eat dinner together, travel, go to camps together, etc. We knew what the deal was. The white parents wanted to make sure their kids did not develop black habits, did not get too comfortable with being around their black friends, and wanted to make sure their white kids knew that it was ok to be friends, but there was a line. The family structure was divided as many of the white kids knew who their real friends were - those that were there when there was nothing to do, or when times were tough, or when we needed each other. When the white kids wanted to play sports, they knew where to go. The parents knew it as well. That is why we saw the kids from Crown Point, Lowell, Hobart, coming to our open gyms in Gary. They sat with us in between games, of after it was over, and we all talked. Their parents didn't know how much time the suburban kids would spend with the black kids. If they did, they would divide that as much as possible.

Not all was rosy though. There were black families that were cautious too. Their was a lot of anger that black parents delth with. They knew they had to work twice as hard, twice as much, and deal with a lot more than the white workers. Many of our parents worked at the steel mills, as teachers, at Methodist Northlake or Mercy. The Gary workers didn't get the better jobs or working hours. The supervisors at US Steel made sure black workers from Gary only got the midnight shift, or the emergency room night shift at Methodist. The white workers with less experience got the day shift with higher pay. They were able to come home and attend their kid's schools parent night, or teacher appreciation night. Many black parents were at home sleeping getting ready for their shift and thus were not able to support the schools in the same manner. The percentages of this were not that great, but enough to make a difference to affect the family structure.

The Gary police officers were also mostly white in the 70s and 80s. It started to change as time went on. You could see the aging factor kick in. The white supervisors were not able to relate to the younger black officers. Training academies had to adjust, but sergeants and captains on staff for years were not sure how to handle the change. They did everything to assign officers to patrol certain neighborhoods only. City street cleaners were assigned to sweep certain streets more often, snow plow certain streets more often, and pick up garbage on time in certain locations. Hatcher could not keep up with all of the issues. He was doing the same when possible. Barnes came in at the end of the Hatcher term and didn't make it any better. He added more fuel.

I remember the times when we could go to KMart in Miller and buy decent clothes and shoes for school. We could buy a decent car from a dealership on Grant Street. We could buy better food from several of the grocery stores in Gary. Our parents didn't want to drive to the Southlake Mall, or go into Merrillville to Mike's Sporting Goods to get a decent baseball glove. Our family stayed together, doing what we could with what we had, in Gary. Those white families who thought they were better often had kids who wanted to be around us more often. It wasn't about hanging out at the Lure with "certain" families. It was about going to the Lure with our true friends. When those certain families thought they couldn't share time with black Gary families, divisions were created.

It hasn't changed much these days. I still see the white families doing the fishing trips and backyard BBQ's together, but when that doesn't happen, their white kids still find ways to hang out with the black kids. They listen to the same music, watch the same shows, and play the same sports. The white boys still look at the black girls, and the black boys talk to the white girls just as much. The parents don't know what all goes on.

So, when you take pictures and put on display a zoo-like depiction, remember that the development was not only a result of who is still in Gary, but also from those that left and took what they could. If you look at obituaries, you can see the number of white workers from the Hobarts who have many years of steel mill experience with better jobs. Look at the new infrastructure put in at the south lake county hospitals. Look at the super grocery stores being built in areas where it is very difficult for Gary families to get to. Mayors can't build grocery stores. But when developers include Lake Michigan water as part of the radius to calculate spending power for determining where to put the next Walmart at, be hesitant to complain why there are no decent shopping centers to replace what you see in Gary.

Jason M – Chicago
March 14, 2014 - 21:59
Omar - Would Appreciate Joining You

I would really appreciate the opportunity to join you or your group in any Gary urbex.
You being a photojournalist and living in and knowing Gary sounds like an excellent combination that would be hard to beat!

Jason M – Chicago
March 14, 2014 - 21:35
Would Like to Attend a Meet-up for Some Urbex in Gary


I have heard Gary has some amazing places to do urbex photography. What would be ideal is doing it with someone with some past experience with the city, ie: ex-resident, etc. I live in Chicago.
Please feel free to contact me at jasomo@comcast.net.
Thank you,

Rick – Tampa
March 14, 2014 - 03:54
Happy to help Vickie

Vickie, if I can be of any help please feel free to contact me at riccvargas@aol.com. I currently live in Tampa, but I was born and raised in Gary and for some unexplainable reason, I love Gary.

And don't for a minute let your guard down regardless of how pretty some of those neighborhoods might still look, my family has been in Gary since around 1915, and it was dangerous then and it's dangerous now.

Shoot me an E-mail.


Omar – Gary
March 13, 2014 - 08:52
Photo journalist

Alex my name is Omar farag I still live in Gary and would love to show you all the areas of which I know very well, not nearly as dangerous as people say. Just need to know a few of the urban rules.

Vickie M – United States
March 13, 2014 - 06:13
Born in Hammond--looking to do research

Hi. This is my first visit to this website. I was born in Hammond in the '70s and would like to do some research on the "Region" area for a book I'm writing. I'm especially interested in learning about what the area (Gary/Hammond) was like in the early '50s to current time, life as a teenager there in the 60s and 70s, & how life in the area has changed since the Steel Mill industry time period. If anyone would be interested in sharing insight with me or direct me to someone who would be willing to let me ask questions and do research, I would greatly appreciate it.

Wayne H – Portage, IN
March 09, 2014 - 20:22
Rick Vargas

Rick, did you know a James "Jimmy" Martin? I remember him from my cousins neighborhood at 1160 Durbin. Jimmy lived about 11th and Burr and his g'parents lived by my cousin, thats where i know of him. Anyway, i have taken up another bloggers suggestion here and joined NWI Memories on facebook and thats where i bumped into Jimmy Martin. JOIN US! NWI Memories fb

Rick Vargas – Tampa
March 07, 2014 - 04:07
Simillar history

George, I too was born in East Chicago, grew up in Brunswick, 11th and Burr Street, attended Ivanhoe Elementary, and my father worked at Inland for 34 years. We moved to Glen Park in the 70s and it was the greatest thing that ever happened to us. My two older brothers and sister attended Edison and one of my sisters attended West Side. My youngest sister and I were spared Edison and West Side. My sister Gloria is your age and my brother Jorge was born in 57 so you might know them. Your last name sound familiar. Drop me a line at riccvargas@aol.com


George Jasso – Houston,Texas
March 06, 2014 - 16:47
I still think about Gary

I was born in East Chicago, IN back in 1955 and our family moved to Gary around 1960. We lived in Brunswick on Hanley street. My Dad worked at the old Inland Steel company. I attended Ivanhoe Elementary school and Edison High and the newly built West Side High School. Gary's exodus of families from that city got worse when forced attendance and busing to other schools was imposed on families and students. Thank God I wasn't among those who had to attend another school but my younger sister was one of the selected. My memories of attending West Side HS were not good memories. I walked to and from school in fear. I attended classes in fear. I'm glad of my parents decision to leave that city in 1972 and moved us to Houston Texas. I finished my senior year of high school here and boy what a difference! I have since retired from working but I must say my most fondest memories were from about 1961 until 1970.

Jon in Ohio – Ohio
February 26, 2014 - 20:26

Wayne H - Thanks for the memory of Jack Sprat in Miller - we used to stop there a lot for ice cream coming home from the beaches in summer. We also went to the Cloverleaf Dairy Bar in Tolliston for ice cream too. Both were real good. I do remember Darnell Armstrong although I didn't hardly know her at all- we both graduated in 63 from Edison HS at 5th and Burr. Brunswick now still looks fairly similar to my childhood but very run down, unkept and conjested. The worst area that I saw several years ago was from Ambridge , Horace Mann area to downtown Gary.- mostly burned out boarded up slum houses and apartment buildings- a very depressing site indeed ! The Miller area still pretty much looks the same although Marquette Park beach is very run down and unkept- I wonder if it's all piled up with ice now the way it used to get- a lot of good Gary memories from the 50's.

With regards - Jon in Ohio

Wayne H – Portage, IN
February 25, 2014 - 11:31
@ Jon-Ohio

Jon, I also grew up on the west side, living in Gary Heights which was associated with Brunswick. My current next door neighbor graduated from Edison in 1963....... Darnell Armstrong. We moved out of there in 1963, my sis was in the class of 1965 and my brother the class of 1966 and I was the class of 1969. We all graduated from Merrillville tho. Up until several years ago I was still eating Flamingo pizza's. The last stand Flamingo is on Shelby Street in Miller. The last Lure (in Portage) closed its doors Dec. 31 2012.

You forgot one very important place Jon........ Jack Spratt Ice Cream in Miller! LOL

Wayne Hudak

Dan Hand – New York, New York, U.S.A.
February 25, 2014 - 00:20

Congratulations, Rick, on your big promotion!

Jon - Ohio – Ohio
February 24, 2014 - 17:26
Gary Memories

I'm new to this website and what an interesting site this is !
I was born(1945) and raised in Gary (in Brunswick) - my family lived there from 1936 to 1967 when we finally fled (to Highland) because of the crime. Brunswick was a wonderful community as was Gary generally in the 40's and 50's. It wasn't until the mid 60's that things really got bad crimewise.

Some of the pleasant memories from those days - The beaches - Marquette Park, Wells street and the Dunes State Park-in the summer hot months. Edison HS ( I graduated in 63) oootball and basketball games. Chugalugging around Brunswick in my first car - a 1930 Model A Ford coupe. Going to movies at the Palace , State and Tivoli theaters in downtown Gary when it was still safe (1950's). Riding the old orange South Shore train cars to downtown Chicago-what fun. Ice skating on Clark pond and sledding on Burr Hill in the early 50"s. Favorite eateries that I remember - Palm Grove Restaurant ,The Lure hamburger restaurant, Flamingo Pizza on w 5th ave in downtown Gary - great pizza for its day , The Chuck Wagon in Glen Park, YMCA. Tolliston & Miller ice cream /dairy bars. What enjoyable days those were ! I came thru Gary several years ago and drove around- how utterly sad and depressing it was !

Diana – Tennessee
February 22, 2014 - 18:18
Facebook group

There is a Facebook group called Northwest Indiana Memories. There are several photographers posting photos that they've taken around town. There are several of Emerson High School, the Horace Mann area, Glen Park, etc.

Please join us.... www.facebook.com

Rick Vargas
February 22, 2014 - 07:16
Thank you

T.J/ Dan thank you for your well wishes, and I assure you that it is my honor. About 10 hours ago, I stood before a room full of great Americans at the United States Special Operations Command in Tampa and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The presiding officer made a lot of nice comments about me for the crowd, but the one fact that he shared about me which attracted the most attention was that I was from Gary. Even the foreigners in the crowd knew about Gary. They joked that Iraq was probably safer than Gary and how it's the only city that you could drive five miles in any direction and never leave the scene of the crime. Odd as this is going to sound, it offended me. Nothing before has ever offended me but that did. It didn't bother me that they made fun of the city, but it was as if they were making fun of our parents, about us. I was with Marine Corp Sargent Winters when she was killed in 2002. I carried her body to the aircraft that brought her to Dover and ultimately back home to Gary. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is no place like home; there is no place like Gary.

Wayne H – Portage, IN
February 20, 2014 - 06:17
Renaming 5th Ave.

@ Dan Hand..... I read that article and made a comment there. The silly political cronies forgot there is already a Clay Street..... in Aetna. LOL

That man did absolutely nothing for that city.

Then Gary officials are contemplating closing more schools. What a shame, as one time Gary Schools were a model to the rest of the COUNTRY!

T.J. – Extreme SW TN
February 19, 2014 - 22:16
Rick Vargas

Once again Rick.....THANK YOU for your continued service! Go with GOD.

Dan Hand – New York, New York, U.S.A.
February 19, 2014 - 04:30

. . . please, "KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN!" On behalf of our fellow Americans, I am deeply and genuinely sorry that you have been put through this series of deployments on our behalf. I will keep the rest of my (political) feelings about our foreign policy to myself. Thanks and best wishes, Rick!!

Dan Hand – New York, New York, U.S.A.
February 19, 2014 - 04:25

Alex Chronis:

First, consider that Gary has recently passed an ordinance requiring a license to take pictures of that sort in the City of Gary. It is a patently unconstitutional ordinance, mind you; but, that does not mean that the police will not harass you, or even arrest you, if they find you taking such pictures there, without first buying a city license to do so. Is it worth either the cost of the license, or the risk of not getting one?

Second, consider that Gary is now a very dangerous place, and that it only takes one feral resident to decide to kill you in cold blood, whether for profit or pleasure, on an instant's impulse. Your innocence and good intentions will mean nothing to such a miscreant, and neither will your begging for your life. The decaying buildings are also a genuine danger, in and of themselves. Would you willingly risk your life just to add to the body of photographic evidence of Gary's long descent into Third World status?

Perhaps you could prep first for such an undertaking-- say, by trying your luck in Damascus!?!

Dan Hand – New York, New York, U.S.A.
February 19, 2014 - 04:10

My sister just sent me (via e-mail) a Post-Tribune article that says that the Indiana legislature is likely to pass a resolution soon renaming Fifth Avenue after the late Rudy Clay, the former mayor of Gary, who died a few years ago. I grew up at 545 Hovey Street, in Brunswick, half a block from Fifth Avenue. The thought of its being renamed makes me morose; the though of its being renamed after a politician who oversaw its continued decline and degradation makes me want to cry-- for the first time in decades!

Robert Combs – United States
February 17, 2014 - 15:23

Hi Alex,
That is a great profession you are undertaking. I was born in Gary in 1930 and lived there for 40 years. Spent my childhood on the east side and went to Emerson School.
The first bit of advise is do not go alone. There are some really bad parts of Gary, so be on the alert. There are also still some nicer places.
There have been many photos taken of the blighted areas, but maybe with fresh eyes you can show what you see.
Try to mix some of these spots in with the bad. MIller Beach, bath house, pavillion, court house, some of the parks, Emerson school. Do some research on all of these areas then go for it. Google is a good place to start. Just type in "Gary, IN"
Good luck to you.

Alex Chronis
February 16, 2014 - 21:10
exploring gary

I'm nineteen years old and aspiring to becoming a photojournalist. My favorite subject is urban decay and have the perfect opportunity since i live so close to gary. the only thing i feel sketchy about is not knowing which buildings to go to and which areas are sketchy, what situations to avoid and how to avoid and how do the cops feel about urban exploration in gary. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. i plan to start going when the weather gets better.

Rick Vargas – Tampa
January 31, 2014 - 05:39
A great resource

Jerry and anyone else who is interested. On US 30 in Merrillville at the Lake County library, there is a room they call the Indiana Room. In that room are directories containing the names, occupations, and physical addresses of every Gary resident since 1906. You can't check the stuff out but you have full access to everything for free. Also, they have the complete collection of all Union and Confederate veterans regardless of what country they were citizens of. My mother's great uncle was listed as a Mexican soldier serving for the Confederacy in Texas.

Also, the obituaries are really something you need to see. Back in the day, they listed the causes of death along with any comments family members choose to share. I found several from the early 20s listing the cause of death as "killed by the cars," meaning that they were run over. Another one I read involved a 12 year old boy who drowned in a pond in what is now the Lake County Fair Grounds in Crown Point. The child's mother accuses the kids he was with of killing her son in the obituary. Very sad but fascinating reading. I spent nearly five hours in that room and only had time to review four or five books out of the thousands in there.

Jerry, I wish I had read your post two weeks ago, I was just in Gary from the 17th thru the 26th of Jan and would have loved to research that for you. Unfortunately, I was home saying goodbye for the fifth time as I head out for a year long deployment to the Middle East. I'll monitor this site from there and you have my E-mail address riccvargas@aol.com, and if you haven't been able to get the info you want, I'll be back in Gary around March 2015, GOD willing.

Very interesting stuff.

Jerry – Tampa
January 30, 2014 - 19:11
Address now

@ Rick --

I have done that. its a lot different for sure. I also checked out her old house on Carolina Street. I just don't have the exact address for that one. ( I know its on the corner) I was also there in July of 2012 for my Grandmother's funeral.


Rick – Tampa
January 30, 2014 - 06:18
Google Earth

Jerry, you should enter the address 3666 Jefferson Street into Google and see what the house and neighborhood looks like now.


Jerry – Tampa, FL
January 28, 2014 - 04:59
John Rabick

To Wayne H. ,

Yes, John Rabick is my Uncle and my Moms' ( Beverly) younger brother. -- and that's him in Nasville. Small world indeed . Thanks for your post and research.

Wayne H – Portage, IN
January 19, 2014 - 06:00
To Jerry Allen

Jerry, I grew up in the Gary Heights/Brunswick area, moving from there to Merrillville in 1963. It was at MHS I went to school and graduated with a John Rabick in 1969. According to my MHS alumni directory, that John Rabick lives in Nashville Tennessee. Could he be related to you?

Wayne Hudak

Jerry Allen – Tampa, FL
January 17, 2014 - 21:14
Connection to Gary, IN

Greetings all,

I stumbled up this site and recognize a lot of places from my parents, Dale and Beverly Allen ( Rabick) -- c/o 1960 and 1961 - Lew Wallace. My Grandparents were John Rabick and Betty Rabick ( Fejes) and William and Peal Allen ( Ludtke). They owned Bamford Service on Broadway I'm told they sold it maybe in the 1970's ?. All seemed to have lived in the Glenn Park area too. Only address I have right now is 3666 Jefferson Street where my Mom grew up. I guess I have become more fascinated with the area with my Grandmothers passing in July of 2012. Miss her and the stories she told of Gary and US Steel, etc. **** Any comments are appreciated *****

Jerry Allen,

george elischer – gary, in
January 12, 2014 - 15:03

I to went to St. Mark school, and then to Lew Wallace. Those were the best day of my life

Mark Malayter – Munster, IN
January 01, 2014 - 04:42
Holy Angel's Neighborhood


I grew up at 525 Harrison and 816 Fillmore. Went to Holy Angels and Andrean. Have three older brothers who graduated from Horace Mann.

Favorite memories are walking to 4th avenue to Lincoln's Deli, the Tivoli Theater (between Harrison and Tyler on 5th avenue), Sokit's bakery and Miller beach.

kenneth kolesar – Kenny - Boyonet Point Fl
December 24, 2013 - 22:52
Beach Cafe

My family was good friends with Joe Kovalchik who was part owner of the café so I am sure Joe Hayduk knew my father.
My dad was a bartender at Jakes Bar in Gary Heights on 11th and Whitcomb. Joe and his brother Jake owned that bar.
I have been back into town since the Beach Café reopened but I am sure it's nothing like it was in it's glory days.
Not only the perch but I remember what they called GRANDMA'S SWEET AND SOUR SALAD DRESSING, my personal favorite. I either go across the street to Flamingo or out to Tiebels when I am in town for the perch.

Michael Hayduk – Munster, I(ndiana
December 22, 2013 - 16:38
Ed Shinners

Mr. Combs, Ed is my mom's (Dorothy) little brother. She had an older sister Betty (married Tony Lazar---now there is a region name!)... Uncle Ed has recently relocated to Nashville from Murrey KY as his health is deteriorating------any Emersonians that know Ed might drop a note, email, phone call etc---I can give contact info if anyone thinks this forum is an appropriate place to do so. My Shinners family side lived at 738 Rhode Island((middle house, west side) The house is still standing and occupied!! On a lighter note, the 1940 us census is online and free to look at---interesting to page through the info to see what people did, how much they made, who lived in homes i eventually lived in etc go to US 1940 Census.gov

Robert Combs – United States
December 20, 2013 - 16:14

MIchael Hayduk,
Anyone living in or about would know the Beach Cafe, home of the greatest perch dinners. I went to school (Emerson) with an Ed Shinners. Any relation to Dorothy?

Michael Hayduk – Munster, Indiana
December 19, 2013 - 21:07
Beach Cafe

Anyone have memories of the Beach Cafe on Shelby?, my Uncle Joe Hayduk was an owner 1960's-1980. I grew up on 5th and Pierce, Holy Angels, Elks LL, folks moved us to Chesterton in 1970---a good move but a whole different world. Mom was Dorothy Shinners (Rhode Island/St Lukes/Emerson) dad was Mike(11th avenue/Froebel/Dunes Lodge)

Rick Vargas – Tampa
December 16, 2013 - 05:01
Toy shopping in Gary

Thank you Wayne, yes please do that and let me know if you find anything. I was wrong about the store name, it was RISS not ROSS. And the "Big Toy Store" at Sears wasn't from the commercial, I don't think it was referred as such anywhere else. I do remember the train layouts. I also remember that my father bought us a real live monkey from one of those stores on Broadway one year. Does anyone have any idea which store that monkey might have come from? Does anyone remember a small toy store on Ridge Road? It was an the east side of the Ridge Road Cemetery, which is now part of the cemetery.

December 09, 2013 - 21:26

Does anyone have photos of the life size Nativity scene at Christmas time that was on the hill in front of St. Marks church on Ridge Road? The figures were later replaced with cheap large plastic ones. But I'd like to find photos of the original crib.

Wally – Portage
December 05, 2013 - 18:42

Wow, what memories of Toyland in the Village Shopping Center. As I recall it was next to the Tittles Grocery store right before you got to Montgomery Wards. The smell in that area was incredible because it was also the same location for the Chuck Wheeler hot dog stand right outside Toyland. Toyland was truly a great place to go to purchase plastic models and of course all of the supplies for my chemistry set. And if they didn't have what we wanted we went across the street to Riss Sales. If only those days could return. Great memories!!

Robert Combs – United States
December 04, 2013 - 15:54

Wow, all of you guys bringing up the Village Shopping Center sure does bring back fond memories of my grandfather, L. I Combs (an early settler of Gary, 1910) who built the Center as he called it in 1955. It was an immediate success as being the only center of its kind ever built. He, along with my father, Allen E. Combs and uncle Leslie I Combs, jr were a bunch of proud people when it opened to a full parking lot. Not many of the original stores remain, but the last time I was there, all stores were occupied, some after changing hands many times. Do you remember Santa coming in the helicopter, quite a thing back then and the hot dog guy, best hot dogs ever.

T.J. – extreme SW Tennessee
December 04, 2013 - 02:04

Anyone remember the HUGE Christmas tree at Inland Steel?

Wayne H – Portage, IN
December 03, 2013 - 15:49
To Rick

The store across the street from the Village was Riss Sales. Up until a few years ago i still had a handful of H.O. scale model trains i bought from Riss, Monkey Wards and Toyland too. I sold everything to a co-worker. I still have the original box from my first H.O. trainset bought from Toytown in 1962. Only a flatcar and a tank car survive. Speaking of old things, i have my brothers' BLL All Star hat from 1961 and a Brunswick CClub hat from 1960. I also have many American Flyer trains from 1946 to 1960, some Lionel stuff from the middle 50's.

The Big Toy Box at Sears i do not remember. What i do remember are the train layouts in the basement of Goldblatts at Xmas. They were on the Massachusetts side of Goldblatts. There was a tunnel under the alley that connected both sides.

Rick, since I'm a big Ebayer, maybe IF i remember, I'll check and see if there are any Best Of The West figures listed there.

Rick – Tampa
December 02, 2013 - 02:11
Christmas in Gary

Wayne, Happy Holidays to you and yours. I remember the "Big Toy Box at Sears," The Village but not Toy Land and shopping downtown. If memory serves me, wasn't there a Christmas Parade downtown? I remember that across the street (Grant) from the Village, there was a toy store called ROSS. In the window they had five of the Best of the West action figures on display for a very long time. One day in the late 70s I bought them from the store. They didn't know what to charge me for them because they had been up there so long that they forgot they were there and they didn't sell them anymore. I got Johnny West, Jane West, Janie West, Geronimo, and two horses for $15.00. I still have them.

Wayne H – Portage, IN
November 29, 2013 - 06:12

Hope this message finds all in good health and everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving.

Now that the Christmas Season moves in on us, does anyone remember the Christmas Countdown in the Post Tribune? (50's-60's) Correct me if i'm wrong but it seems to me there was an accompanying picture to color and you could send it in to win something.

The U.S. Steel carolers that went from school to school, boy were they colorful!

The window shopping downtown on Broadway.

Toytown! (only 1 word needed)

Even Bramm's in Glen Park.

ToyLAND in the Village Shopping Center.

Sorry kids, my mind is still stuck on those Lionel and American Flyer trains. LOL (at 62 I still play with them to this day!).

George Dickinson – Las Vegas, Nv
November 24, 2013 - 19:11


Al B – TN
November 10, 2013 - 14:57
Shopping center

Tri City Plaza

George Dickinson – Las Vegas, Nv
November 10, 2013 - 13:55

Does anyone remember the name of the shopping center in Brunswick, on 5th and Clark, I'm embarrassed because my mother worked at the Jewel Food store there, but I'm having one of those brain farts that comes with age.

George Dickinson – Las Vegas, Nv
November 10, 2013 - 13:43
Rick in Tampa

Vargas rings a name with me, Andy Vargas sounds familiar, if I remember correctly, and I may be wrong after all these years, Andy was the pitcher and Home Run hitter on the same Cloverleaf Dairy team I played on at Brunswick Little League. If I am correct please respond, I have a funny story about Andy, and one of our games.

Robert Combs – United States
October 22, 2013 - 15:36

Mike B,
I sponsored a team at Junedale in the 60'S "Robert Combs Remodeling" Did you ever play against them?

Robert Combs – United States
October 21, 2013 - 14:50

Mike b.

Thanks for the info. I sponsored a team at Junedale in the 60's. "Combs Remodeling"

Mike B – Rancho Cordova Ca.
October 20, 2013 - 09:42

Jeffries Firestone(yellow hats) in1964. We won Indiana State championship at Junedale and lost to Oklahoma in the regionals at Indianapolis. Gary was loaded with good players back then.

Robert Combs – United States
October 07, 2013 - 02:54

Mike b.

What year and what team did you play on at LL at East Glenn Park?

Mike B – Rancho Cordova Ca.
October 02, 2013 - 11:09

Jerry G. I also went to St. Marks and Lew Wallace. I also used to go to Tommie's and play the pinball machine for 10 cents. I got my gas at the Clark station on 50th and Broadway. I went to the Ridge theater because I was afraid to go downtown. My father was mugged at the bus depot on 5th and Madison. Good to hear from you. Keep the memories coming. I played little league at East Glen Park.

Jerry G. – Elkhart In.
September 23, 2013 - 04:07

I grew up in Glen Park. Went to St.mark School then Lew Wallace. Wallace from 1960 to 1963. I hated school all my life. I managed to get my GED and two years of college much later .Glen Park was a beautiful neighbor hood . We walked to Gilroy stadium for 4TH of July fire works . Often settled on the grass at the golf course with hundreds of other people and enjoyed the air display's. I remember the Bathhouse at the beach , what a neat building .And Palace theater and State theater. At the Palace all I wanted to do was look up at the ceiling. It was made to look like the night sky with twinkling light resembling stars. Then there was the Tolliston dairy . One could get a tub of malt for one buck. That was about a quart ,no less. Gasoline was anywhere from 18 cents to 29 cents a gallon. Usually 3 or 4 bucks would fill the tank in dad's car. A 1956 red and white Chevy bel-aire hard top That was our family car for a long time. I worked part time a Deep Rock gas station on 41 ST. and broadway and I remember diesel fuel was around 6 cents a gallon.My friends and I hung out at Tommies confectionary at 39Th and Broadway . What a great place. In those days we had respect for Tommy and his wife. They were like our Ma and dad away from home . You got smart you were told to leave . We never had any problems . In those days the other race never came past 25th.. and Broadway .Not saying that was right but that's how it was. They even always sat at the back of a gary bus. I never thought that was right either. In Glen park everyone kept things nice,. The economy was good. The Mills thrived. I worked there for a while and my dad for 33 years.Then things started to change slowly . For the worst. People that moved in some of the homes on 37Th and Monroe started to park on their lawns. Pretty soon lawns were transformed to mud. Houses we not being kept up and so it was like a bad desease that kept spreading. It was about 2011 I drove down 39Th Ave. then down Broadway to ridge road then to I65 . It was very sad. It was like driving through the worst area in Detroit Mi. Being a truck driver I have seen some very bad area's all over the country .What a shame .That's all I can say. At one time I use to fly planes and once I landed at Gary Airport. What a nice airport it is,but it was like a ghost town because people are afraid to go there. Well that's it. I often think about those good ole times and surely miss them.

Rick – Tampa
September 18, 2013 - 04:55

Greg, those days are gone for ever and there is little to nothing left of the great city. I used to dream that one day the city would come back, but every day there is less and less left of Gary. Did you know that the American Bald Eagle has actually returned to Downtown? And as far as Joe Jackson goes, I personally don't care for him, he looks demonic if you ask me.

Greg Manwaring – Munich, Germany
September 13, 2013 - 10:46
"Gary... ...a great place.... ...to be away from"

Those were the words out of Joe Jackson's mouth when I met hiim here in Munich (at a book signing of the story of his family's fame). I had just told him I was from Gary, and after a moment of disbelief (from running into someone from Gary all the way over here in Germany) that is what he said to me and the crowd. Just wanted to share that anecdote!

I'm from Glen Park and went to Pittman Square from '67 until '72. My Father was a teacher at Lew Wallace during that same time, so maybe someone will recognize the name.

I visited Gary a few years ago and was SHOCKED at the neighborhoods that I grew up in. They were mostly derelict. Sad, sad, sad. The photos on these pages really drive home just how bad off Gary has become.

What are the reasons? Is it only the closure of the steel mills, or can it be the long history of racism within Gary? There is certainly no denying that this could have been a major factor in its decline. No matter what, it's a shame that our once great city is simply the butt of jokes by Hoosiers statewide and even worldwide. Can this change? I don't know. I see Detroit, which seems even worse off than Gary, and still has the Auto Industry, and yet they are unable to reverse the tide of dereliction.

I certainly hope that Gary can get back up on it's feet. But it's going to take more than just the elder generation to make that happen. Our youth will have to take the reigns with a pride and passion which may not exist at the moment.

Anyhow, much love to all of you here. We remember a great city, which was very diverse in it's ethnicity and who's residents were proud - working hard and playing hard! Those memories cannot be erased by what I see in the photographs on these pages.

Best regards,


Rick – Tampa
September 05, 2013 - 05:01
$1 Houses

Dan, this isn't something new, back in the 70's they tried selling houses for $1.00 and it didn't pay off then and it won't pay off now. If they want to clean the city up, they need to drop off huge dumpsters at the end of each street for about three days and let people clean out their properties for free.

Dan Hand – New York, New York, U.S.A.
August 25, 2013 - 03:00

For those who have missed the recent news about Gary, here it is, straight from the donkey's (as in Democrat's) mouth, as it were:


We also have a lightly used bridge, in New York City, that you folks might be interested in purchasing . . . !?!

Kevin B – Phoenix, AZ
August 08, 2013 - 03:08
Johhnies Gyros

Jon in Minnesota-
I believe it was Johnnies Gyros for a while before it became a parking lot. As a kid I remember it was Box-O-Chicken or something close to that. Rocket Car Wash was on the east corner of US 12 and Lake Street and Box-O-Chicken/Johnnies was on the west corner.

T.J. – Xtreme SW Tennessee
July 31, 2013 - 17:50
@ Melinda

May GOD bless you, Ms. Harris & others in your efforts in Gary. Glad to hear of something positive going on there.

Melinda – Chicago
July 31, 2013 - 02:01
New to Gary, Indiana

This may seem wired to some of you, but I have been living in Chicago, Illinois all of my life. What i knew of Gary , indiana while growing up was " Michael Jackson .....going back to Indiana. Recently, I have had the honor of working in Ministry with Dr. Mildred C. Harris, who herself was an educator in the Gary School System for thirty-six years. Although she lives in Chicago , her heart has always been and still is with Gary and the people of Gary. Traveling back and forth from Chicago to Gary has been an wonderful experience, Gary has great potentials. Dr. Mildred C. Harris and God First Ministries Gary indiana within one year rehabbed two houses thereby providing affordable housing to the residents of Gary and the work continues.

i truly believe within my heart that God has great things in store for Gary!!!! I would like to extend an invitation to all of you who believe that Gary is on the way back stronger and better than ever. We gather together every second and third Friday of every month at ; God First Ministries, Gary located at 1119 Grant Street from 7pm to 900 pm. Dr. Harris ministered on the third Friday,although she is present and takes part in the second Friday service. Come a out and hear what God is saying about Gary !!!!!!

Wayne H – Portage, IN
July 29, 2013 - 20:07
WOW! What a surprise!

WOW! TJ....... my father helped pave US 190 from Hammond, LA to Baton Rouge with the public works projects during THE Depression. I also have family in both Hammond, LA and Baton Rouge, (mainly Denham Springs). and everywhere in between. One of my cousins used to own a bar in Hammond (The Den later changed to Augustines). Streetview still shows the building on Cate Street. My Aunt Mary also had a sandwich shop in the building.

Tonya.... welcome! I talked to your dad about 2 weeks ago. Been trying to get him to use the computer for some communication, like sending photos and other info. What brought you to this website? Tell your dad i'm still miffed at him for trashing his American Flyer trainset in the late 50's.

T.J. – Xtreme SW Tennessee
July 29, 2013 - 04:57
@ Wayne H - Louisiana

Too, too weird. I also have family in Louisiana. Not Albany, but not too far away in Hammond, LA & Baton Rouge.

Tonya Hudak – United States
July 28, 2013 - 16:05
This is neat history

I am the daughter of the Stephen Hudak, my Grandfather was the Stephen Hudak who passed in the 1960's. I found these convos to be very interesting as I just got back in May from visiting my Aunt Marilyn in Lutz,FL.

Wayne H – Portage, IN
July 28, 2013 - 04:52
Thanks TJ

TJ, it's really interesting to read other's memories of Gary, and then discover, in some instances, how lives have crossed. My father (Mike Hudak) worked for American Bridge from 1946 to 1978. My uncle Steve Hudak also worked there until 1964 when he unexpectedly passed away. My Uncle Joe Hudak lived in the apartments at 5th and Chase in the middle 60's right across from Budd Co. (he worked there), Waverly Road is close by.

I grew up at 4414 W 11th Avenue, about 2 blocks east of Clark Road, from there we moved to Merrillville in 1963. Where we lived on W 11th was considered Tolleston Post Office wise, but Gary Heights to us "locals" and we were more associated with Brunswick. Do you remember the Tastee Freeze on 11th and Chase? You mentioned THIS IS IT..... it's still in business at 25th and Burr and wasn't too far from where i grew up, mom always bought our blue jeans from there. The only way i will visit my childhood home is via Google Streetview. Same as you, i and my son ride the South Shore (NICTD) to Chicago once in a while to just "get away".

As for the "Patch", it was an early Gary area where the common laborers from US Steel and such lived. About Broadway on the east, Grant St on the west, the Wabash/Michigan Central RRd's (9th ave area) on the north and 25th Ave on the south. It encompassed the Gary Roosevelt and Froebel High School districts.

Oh, and when i mentioned Louisiana was a whole different world, i was speaking of when i was a kid in Gary in the 50's and early 60's. The little town where my mother grew up (Albany, LA) has really changed now. Population has went from a steady 600 in the 50's, 60's and 70's to a whopping 800-900 now and heavily commercialized! LOL

T.J. – Xtreme SW TN
July 27, 2013 - 19:23

Yes, Wayne H, my parents were from Tennessee. My Dad's 2 brothers & several of his cousins came north looking for job opportunities. One of my uncles started out in South Bend/Mishawaka working for Studebaker, then ended up at Inland Steel. My Dad started out & stayed at Inland until he retired on disability (after 28 years). Another Uncle worked for American Bridge. Only one of Dad's cousins stayed, and he retired from Inland. The first 2 places we lived were on Waverly Drive in Tolleston. I think these apartments are now called Westbrook Gardens??? Along about 1958 or '59, we removed to Glen Park. That is where the family was living when I finished school & left home. When we lived there,, it was called Indiana St., I think it goes by ML King Dr. now. We were only one street removed from Hobart city limits. I attended 1st grade at Horace Mann because John H. Vohr was not complete, elementary grades went in the morning & high school in the afternoons. Then to Vohr upon it's opening. After moving to GP I attended James Whitcomb Riley Elementary. Jr. High was supposed to be started at Bailey, but again, it was not finished, so started Jr. High at Lew Wallace. Jr. High in the mornings, Sr. High in afternoons. Eventually got into the building at Bailey. Then on to HS at Lew Wallace. Interesting that you are from Portage. I still have one sister left "up there" and she lives in Portage. I also have 3 cousins in the Crown Point area. My other sister & I just were there visiting about a month ago. We eat & shop some in Hobart & Portage, but when we want to "do" anything, we get on the South Shore (NW Indiana Transit or whatever it is called now!!) and head for the Loop & museums, etc. This last time we took one of those double decker bus tours of the Loop area & Navy Pier. We have re-visited the GP neighborhood (it is sad), but have been advised not to try going to the apartments in Tolleston, so have never been back there. This time we braved trying to revisit the Black Oak area. I am the only one of us who remembers that area. And all I remember of it is that there were what seemed like lots of other people with southern accents congregated there & I remember Dad going some plaace called "This Is IT!" I am not familiar with the term/area the "Patch." Must have been before my time or just someplace we never made it to. Thanks for responding & YES!!, I'll bet Louisiana is a different & whole other world from Portage! Most likely a whole other world from us here in my little corner of SW Tennessee also!

Wayne H – Portage, IN
July 27, 2013 - 03:17
memories @TJ

TJ, I assume you meant your parents came from the south. Aside from that the same was for my parents. They were both born in Louisiana. Dad ended up in Flint Michigan in the middle/late '30's and when the war ended he moved to Gary (about 13th & Delaware, an area known as the "Patch") in late '45 and married mom in early '46, then moved to 7th and Jefferson. I and my sister & brother were born in Gary. I spent quite a bit of time in southeastern Louisiana as a child and down south was a whole other world!

T.J. – Xreme SW TN
July 26, 2013 - 22:03
P.J./Lew Wallace/Glen Park

I have not read OR posted in awhile either. @P.J....I am Lew Wallace-class of 1968. Parents came south to what they perceived to be the "promised land" in the middle '50's. They landed in Tolleston. Later removed to Glen Park. Upon graduation I came back "home." As a mother of 3 & grandmother to 5, I feel I made the right decision as to where to live & raise family. I have never looked back Saw the pix you posted...So Sad. Even though I did not like being there, I CAN REMEMBER a time when it was a thriving, prosperous, safe, interesting, diverse and somewhat fun place to live & grow up. (my formative years having been spent in the south, I was simply a fish out of water & never assimilated, I guess). I still have a very few family members still there, so have reason to visit from time to time. YOUR PIX reminded me of the last class reunion I went to...maybe our 35th (was a multi-class affair in Merrillville several + years ago). The folks in charge of entertainment projected (?) images of Gary onto the wall behind the "oldies" band as they performed. These were images of Gary as it was THEN, 2002 or 2003?...not as it was when we were in school. Cannot imagine why they showed them! Was NOT good PR for Gary for anyone who had been away for any length of time. The images shown were of falling down, burned out, abandoned looking buildings, lots & streets. Looked like a war zone. It was so weird, sad & a very real reminder of why I am glad to be in Dixie. BUT, something that is really weird is that some 40 years later, a former 1968 classmate (whom I did not know in school, our classes were so huge) found me...right here in the very small town that I live in. He has been around these parts for some 25 years+! My children have only seen the Gary as it is now & cannot imagine being free & safe enough to travel on foot, bicycle or city bus to the business section of Glen Park or the downtown area & safely enjoying a day of window shopping, eating, going to the movies, the beauty school (hair cut or styled for .50 cents!), etc. Could entertain myself for a whole Saturday... for $5! @ all you other good folks, I DO enjoy reading YOUR memories of another place, another time. Ya'll Be Blessed!!

Kenny – Jacksonville Fl
July 26, 2013 - 18:38
Chips and a movie

Chuck Wheeler

I am not familiar with the background, I just remember the one on 5th just past the original Lure.

When I got home last night there was a package at my door. It was from my cousin who lives in Crown Point.
3 bags of PEERLESS CHIPS!! I am in potato chip heaven right now.
He does this every so often and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Since I have been posting it has brought back many memories of the foods I grew up with and can no longer get.

I go to Bayonet Point, a small town also close to Tampa. I looked on the map to see how close it was to Lutz. Not far at all.
In fact, I go to Fresh Market almost every time I am down there and it is very close to Lutz. Best meat around and never disappoints.
I am sure your cousin is familiar with the place.

BTW, your reminiscing was interesting. I would like to see that movie.

Robert Combs – Arden. NC
July 26, 2013 - 15:11

Hi P.J. Missed your informational posts. You talk about seeing the streetcar tracks being torn up. I remember as a kid (born on the east side in 1930) riding these rails. A quarter would get you an all day ride with transfers to any of the other lines that went from 5th and Broadway "all the way" to Glen Park. The driver went so fast past blocks and blocks of empty lots that the car shook violently from side to side. When we got to the "end" of the line we all got out and reversed the trolley and the driver would take the crank off the pedestal and put it on the other end. What fun.
P.J> When I got married we move to 4680 Harrison St. Maybe you remember Kathy or Barbara Combs?

Wayne H – Portage, IN
July 26, 2013 - 00:18
To PJ and Kenny

@PJ..... thanks for the interesting info on the streetcar tracks on 5th Ave. Did you get any photos of them being removed? I am a big time rail historian and with your mention of streetcar tracks brought back my memories of them. In the middle 60's i remember seeing them bleed through the pavement in many locations. There were some in the Tolleston area on 11th Avenue, 61st and Taft/Cleveland in M'ville, Cleveland Street and 47th, and 45th. The line that ran along Cleveland/Taft Street to Crown Point was abandoned in 1931.

If you ever see a movie called "Appointment With Danger", it was filmed in Gary, East Chicago, and Hammond. Alan Ladd, Harry Morgan (of MASH and Dragnet fame) among others appeared. There is one quick scene of streetcars, the scene looks south toward Gary City Hall on Broadway. I was confused as to why streetcars appeared when the movie was dated 1951. Then Lo and Behold i found out the movie was shot in 1948, the year the streetcars shut down, then released in 1951. To me, it's a very interesting movie because Alan Ladd was a Postal Inspector chasing after US Mail robbers and murderers. I worked in the old downtown USPS facility from 1969 to 1974 (MLK facility 1974-2008) and even recognized scenes filmed in the Old PO! (Prominently featured on this web site which brought me here). Even Goldblatt's appeared. Another reason why the film interests me is the many railroad scenes, with the robbers planning a heist of the CHI-LOG-CIN mail train. That RPO (Railway Post Office) actually existed and was still operating when i hired on in 1969. That rail line ran out of Chicago thru the area of River Oaks, then through Munster, Schererville, Crown Point and Hebron..... to Cincinnati. The movie writers sure did their homework! Personally, i remember local banks in this area would send full mailbags of CASH money to NY banks via the RPO. I remember armed guards on both sides of the RPO door with guns drawn and two that would jump down on the platform while we loaded (5th and Chase Pennsy station). A lot of good that did us.... we waited on the station platform with NO guards until the train arrived! Am i getting boring? LOL

P.S. PJ did you know a Lisa Mott at Lew Wallace? She might have been in the class of '73-'74. She had an older brother named Gayle and they lived around 49th and Georgia.

@Kenny..... Mike Berta retired from Portage as the Superintendent last year. He has been hired out temporarily as the Valparaiso School Super, going into his 2nd year there this fall.

I used to pick up pizza's at Flamingo in Miller until about 5 years ago, some of the best pizza around. They used to deliver where i live in Portage but the delivery guy was almost killed one day delivering to an abandoned house in Miller, so they stopped ALL deliveries. The delivery guy was a Bravo, from Glen Park. I played baseball at Junedale Senior League with his brother Jessie.

Chuck Wheeler.... I think the Chuck Wheeler family still owns KFC's in the area and they have an office/training center in a former home on Center Street in Portage, near US 20. Didn't Chuck Wheeler start out with a hotdog cart in downtown Gary and then had one at the Village Shopping Center? Oh, and the Lure in Portage....... the LAST one of two, closed it's doors on Dec 31, 2012. The LURE b.1957 d.2012 R.I.P. I miss their Hot Ham & Cheese.

PJ – Valparaiso, IN
July 25, 2013 - 17:40

I'm going to try to post a couple of photos here; not sure it will work, so bear with me. I took these pix about a week ago, from my car as I was stopped in traffic on 5th Avenue. These buildings, what's left of them, are several blocks west of Broadway.



PJ – Valparaiso, IN
July 25, 2013 - 17:30
It's been a while....

Hi, everyone. I used to post here frequently, but became busy with other things and haven't visited here in quite some time. Looks as though I have a LOT of catching up to do. Lots of new posters here and great memories shared.

I grew up in East Glen Park; Wallace '72. I have so many happy memories of growing up in Gary when it was a beautiful, thriving, safe city. Presently, I work in Gary (on 4th Ave, not far from the airport), and am saddened every day as I drive past burned, dilapidated, boarded up buildings downtown. It's a real heartbreaker.

An interesting note. This summer they are reconstructing 5th Avenue from just west of I-65 all the way west to Bridge Street. Tearing up the center lane was a monumental task, as they had to remove a few miles' worth of streetcar rails. All these years, 4 rails have been hidden beneath the pavement on 5th Avenue. It was interesting to watch the progress each day. I remember as a kid seeing some rails that were visible through the pavement farther south, at Broadway and 43rd.

Kenny – Jacksonville Fl
July 25, 2013 - 15:54
Holy Rosary

Yes, I was in the territory for Holy Rosary but my family had a long history with Holy Trinity and I am sure that was the reason I went there.
My grandparents lived on Jackson St and had a 2 flat where my mom and dad lived when I was born. After moving to G.H. they never changed churches.
I went to grade school and high school with the Mandula’s and Mike Berta. I lost contact with both family’s after high school but a buddy of mine still stays in touch with Mike Berta.
I but at some time in my life that your cousin Marilyn and my paths crossed at one time or another since she graduated in ’67.

As I am sure you know he is the superintendent of Portage schools.
You talk about Bon Aire, to me that was THE place to live in our area. I thought it was a beautiful community.
The last time I was in the area I was in Hammond and took 5th ave all the way down to County Line Road. I was headed to the Flamingo in Miller for pizza.
That was a real eye opener.

Wayne H – Portage, IN
July 24, 2013 - 05:13
Back to the Heights

Kenny, i'll be 62 in October, the 1st to be exact. We moved to the Meadowdale subdivision in August of 1963. I graduated in 1969 from Merrillville HS. My sister Sue graduated in 1965 and brother Tim (Hudak) graduated in 1966. Kathy Rattay, whom my brother married, graduated from Andrean in 1968. I knew the Mandula kids, (Margie '65 or '66, Mike '69, and Bobby '72), they went to Andrean. Mike Berta '66 or '67, lived a couple houses from the Mandula's, rode our bus and attended Andrean.

Back to The Heights. Kenny, you said you went to grade school at Holy Trinity. Living on Wright Street, were you in the territory for Holy Rosary? If you had attended Holy Rosary grade school you probably would have known my cousin Marilyn Hudak. She lived on 1160 Durbin, eventually moving to Bon Aire subdivision in M'ville and graduating from MHS in '67. She now lives in Lutz Florida, north of Tampa.

Kenny – Jacksonville Fl
July 23, 2013 - 17:48
Back to the Heights

Teddy, Judy and Kenny were cousins of Terry. I knew them but I don’t remember when they moved from Baker St.
My family moved to Turkey Creek in ‘64.
I remember the name Rattay but I cannot for the life of me put a face with the name.

I am not sure how old you are but I will be 64 in October. I was part of the class of ’67 at Andrean

You mentioned Mr Stack and the beer. Bob was one of my dad’s beer buddies at Jake’s bar.
I make it a point to get back to the region at least once a year. A couple bags of Peerless are always part of my carry on going home.

Wayne H – Portage, IN
July 18, 2013 - 02:43

@ Kenny

I went to kindergarten with a Teddy (Theo) Bronowski, never saw him again till we all moved to M'ville. His sister Judy was a year younger than me and then there was Kenny. Kenny tagged along with us when i was in High School, with me having a drivers license, i was his "ride". At that time the Bronowski's lived at 53rd and Johnson and I lived at 54th and Lincoln Ct. All the Bronowski kids went to Andrean. According to Kenny, Mr Bronowski had some kind of job that took them to Cocoa Beach Florida for awhile. I think he was working for NASA.

Did you know the Rattay's from Holy Trinity? They had moved to M'ville where my brother met Kathy. They were married at Holy Trinity in 1969. I think to other 2 siblings were named Suzy and Bob.

Ah, the Stacks...... Ann was really nice to us kids. She lived just around the corner from us on Baker Street. Mr Stack used to have fits when he found us kids raiding his garbage cans for beer cans to use for cricket. He didn't want the neighborhood to know how much beer he drank! LOL

And last but not least...... does anyone remember a "Brenda" that lived about 13th and Williams? I can't remember her last name but her father drove a tractor/trailer for ReaLemon. I wanted to run away with her and get married...... !

Wayne H – Portage, IN
July 16, 2013 - 21:54
Burr Street

Do you ever read the NWI Times? It's just so sad what has happened to a once great place. Two shootings/killings along Burr St this past week, one at 10th and Burr, the other at 15th and Burr, with about 5 or 6 killings overall in the past week.

On another note we lost another of our old Brunswick LL friends, Charlie Boteler (age 60). Charlie lived next door to my cousins Steve and Marilyn Hudak at about 1150 Durbin St. He was currently residing in Valparaiso, Indiana.

@Pam (Fezcko) Peerless Chips are still alive and well. They are goooo......oood! They even have saltless for us high blood pressure guys. And what could be better than the Beach and Jack Spratt Ice Cream?

@Ardishir, yes "Wally" (as i always knew him) was quite well laid back, always a cool kid to hang around with. I couldn't have had a better friend to grow up with. P.S.: I played at Junedale 1964-67.

Correction: In my previous post i mentioned last names of people i knew who lived near Washington Elementary. I did not proof read!!! ah! It was VESPO not Vespocv.

Kenny – Jacksonville Fl
July 16, 2013 - 15:47
Edison and Gary Heights

Even though I lived on Wright St my family belonged to the Holy Trinity parish on 13t and Madison. I went To Washington for Kindergarten and Holy Trinity for grade school and then on to Andrean. The only other person in our neighborhood to go to Holy Trinity with me was Terry Bronowski, he lived at 13th and Baker. You mentioned many names but the only ones that stands out are the Reed family and Sheely’s . I think his name was Bob.
By any chance do you know the Erdelac family?

Many a penny was spent in the corner store on Sputniks, jaw breakers, ect. Your neighbor, Ann Stack worked at that store.

My brother and I helped clean Jake’s bar every Sunday wiping down everything, restocking coolers, cleaning mirrors, mopping floors and I got a $2 bill every week for my efforts. It did buy a lot of penny candy and 15 cent Lure hamburgers.

Rick, I hardly ever went past Clark Road, but as I said the name Vargas does stand out in mind. Maybe it was a relative of yours. I keep thinking Willard St between 10th and 11th.

Rick Vargas – Tampa
July 16, 2013 - 04:35
Edison High School

Kenny, my brother Rigo and my sister Rosemary went to Edison. He graduated in 68 and my sister in 1969. We used to live on the corner of 11th and Burr.

Wayne H – Portage, IN
July 16, 2013 - 04:05
Gary Heights

Good to see some folks comment here who lived in the Gary Heights area...... i've felt so alone! LOL I'm a little behind on comments..... ugly health issues! Golden Years????? yea, right!
I recently received my 2013 M'ville High School Alumni Directory and from memory, i located about 33 students that attended MHS who had previously lived in Gary Heights the same time i did. Add on others i knew from Brunswick LL who lived in Brunswick and moved to M'ville and the total is well over 40. My current next door neighbor graduated from Edison in 1963 and grew up on 10th and Mount!

Kenny, you stated the "boundaries" of Gary Heights spot on! Ah, that mom n pop store on 11th.... the 1st place i ever bought a "Sputnik" gumball! ('57 or '58). Jakes Bar... i forgot all about that place till you mentioned it. If i remember it was a very small bar. Did you know Connie or Tom Reed? They lived on the north side of 11th between Wright and Baker, closer to Wright St i believe. South of 11th Ave near Wright, Lane etc. i knew Henik, Gerbick, Zak, Foddrill, Sheely, Maddock, Vespocv etc.

Rick, as you questioned before, my cousin Marilyn who lived at 1160 Durbin and now resides in Lutz, FL was born in 1949. As far as i know she attended Holy Rosary School and at least one year at Bishop Knoll. She graduated from M'ville HS in 1967. She spent her entire career in nursing, she is now retired.

Kenny – Jacksonville Fl
July 15, 2013 - 14:21
Normandy Cafe

Sorry Rick, I just don't remember it unless it was the old Sunny Spot Cafe at the corner of 15th and Clark.
I remember riding my bike to the Sunny Spot to get to-go orders for something they made that I really liked
Pam, I'm sure more names ring a bell since you went to Edison but like you, it's fun reading the comments.
For some reason the last name of Vargas sounds very familiar.
To the people who are posting from the Horace Mann are, Una, the owner of the PANTRY, was my next door neighbor

Pam (Feczko) – Greenwood, IN
July 15, 2013 - 00:38

Thanks Kenny for the heads up on this web site. So fun to read all the comments. It was a great place to grow up in. For me, going to the beach was always fun. Then we would stop at Jack Sprats for an ice cream cone. Most of the time, the top scoop would land on Lake St. before I could get to the car. Then, of course the Chapel was the place to be in high school on the weekend. Still miss those Peerless potato chips too!!!!

Rick – Tampa
July 13, 2013 - 04:39
Normandy Cafe

I know the area well. My uncle owned the old Normandy Café on Clark Road if you know where that is. He bought the property and the café after it had burned down, so he never ran the place. Do you know anyone who ever ate there?

Kenny – Jacksonville Fl
July 12, 2013 - 13:45

I could be a little off but it started at Whitcomb and ended at Clark Road with it starting at the tracks and ending at 15th ave. Its been many years since I left the neighborhood but it was a great place to grow up.

Rick Vargas – Tampa
July 12, 2013 - 02:38
Gary Heights

Kenny, were exactly was Gary Heights? I spent the first 12 years of my life on 11th in Burr in Brunswick, and the next seven in Glen Park before I joined the Army.

Kenny – Jacksonville Fl
July 11, 2013 - 16:13
Gary Heights

I just discovered this site and Wayne from Portage brought back a flood of memories.
I remember the root beer stand being on 15 and Whitcomb and it was B & K Root Beer. Could be wrong
The mom and pop store on 11th was owned by the Glumac family. My dad worked part time at Jake's bar across the street.
Just hopping a bus and going to the Palace or transfering at 5th and Broadway and going to Miller Beach or to Wells St pool, what great memories of a simpler time.
I was friends with Omar and I see where Bob Dulla's name was mentioned. What a great guy.
I grew up on Wright St just North of 11TH Ave. To this day I have a hard time refering to KFC and not calling it Chuck Wheelers.

Ardashir – Indiana
June 26, 2013 - 01:56
Bakeries and Walt Kankowski

Had to throw out a comment or two on a couple of your great topics. Grew up in Glen Park (St. marks). I never knew about the great bakery "issue". My dad was serb but we always bought at GP bakery. I guess cuz it was close and also awesome! We certainly knew Mike Mandich and family (my sis played in youth tambura w Marcia @ St Sava. ). We were raised Catholic (Mom). Ate at Markos every Friday night fish when little. (He was Croat). How cool to eat in a bar at 8 yrs. old! My Dads store was next door on corner. I asked pop one day what's with this big Serb/Croat deal. He basically said he doesn't he doesn't play that deal cuz he's Serb and he has many more Croat customers than Serbs so he's fine with it, whatever.
And yes I was classmates with Walt K when he came to Boone Grove. (I beat him there by a few years). I liked him immediately. I started varsity baseball there as a freshman and fielding a full field of serious ball players was a challenge at Boone at that time (43 kids in whole class). Walt showed up-they put him on third base and I thought OMG! A real ball player. As a first baseman your gonna love a guy on third who can actually get the ball to you in the air. I'd been digging them outa the dirt for two years. But I was Junedale so I knew what was supposed to take place on a ball diamond and so did Walt, even if he was from Brunswick! (Haha just a joke). He was first rate. He could be the hippest cat in the schoolhouse but even the teachers/admin had to like him because his personality and temperament was so laid back and mellow. A fine, fine young man. I loved when he would tell me about the cool clubs in Gary he'd "visited". I followed up on a few o those, mostly mid town and west side and he was right! They had an open door policy for serving adult beverages, even if you we're only 16. No trouble either, even though I didn't exactly blend in with the locals. (I did mention Boone Grove right?). Walt was as cool as the center seed of a cucumber and I really liked him.

Alb – Wtn
June 03, 2013 - 13:01
Porter st memories

George, I'm having some health issues but all in all I'm ok. Our lives rotated around sports. We had the greatest outdoor BB goal at Samson's, we had Ortiz's for dunking. Porter street was the greatest rugby field ever and it served as a fabulous rubber ball baseball field. Do you remember the summer Biff spent in a cast and we played board games on his grandmother's porch? Actually Biff spent quite a bit of time in a cast. Gleason Park golf-you and Donald Beddome really outclassed the rest of us. You went on to stardom at MHS. In today's world you would have won a scholarship for your game. Cloverleaf Dairy may have been the greatest LL team ever. I can't remember a more powerful LL hitter than Andy Pazak. His HRs would often land in the outfield of the minor league field. I can't remember the pitching for that team,however. We really had a great time and place to grow up in. Great hearing from you.

Rick – Tampa
June 01, 2013 - 02:46
What a memory

George, what a great post, what a memory. I guess it's easy to remember things that meant so much in your life. My memories of Gary didn't begin until 1962. I have to admit that I am envious of anyone who grow up in Gary before that time. I love that place, I don't know why, but I do.

Dan Hand – New York, New York
May 30, 2013 - 16:00

On this, the date on which we traditionally commemorated our war dead, prior to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968, which went into effect at the beginning of 1971, I want to thank George Dickinson of Las Vegas, formerly of Third and Porter, in Brunswick, for that wonderful and extensive recollection of our old way of life, in the old neighborhoods of Brunswick. As mentioned before, I grew up at 545 Hovey Street, a few blocks from Mr. Dickinson, who probably knew some of my older siblings, from the neighborhood itself, or from Edison, or Brunswick Little League, etc.

George Dickinson – Las Vegas, Nevada
May 30, 2013 - 12:07

First how have you been Al b, yes I remember the 50 lap bicycle races around the block, every Memorial Day, we would even skip the Cubs game on TV to race our Schwinns. Brunswick Little League, I think I played on the greatest Cloverleaf Dairy team ever assembled Mr. home run Andy Pazak, Paul Ozug who later went on to coach basketball at SW Missouri St., the Dainton brothers who went on to Notre Dame football fame. their dad, and our coach, Mr. Dainton I wish I could remember everyone's name it was a great team. I remember getting a free Chocolate Malt at the Dairy Queen for every home run. George Stokes, what can I say about this great innovator, my fondest memories of Mr. Stokes are after my father passed away, Mr. Stokes adopted me and my brother and treated us like we were brothers of Charles, it really helped us get through a hard time.

Mr. Grillo, and Toy Town was a great help also, my mother worked next door at the Jewel store and Mr. Grillo would give us discounts. My fondest memory of Mr. Grillo is a classic, one day he had Ernie Banks at the store and invited us to come meet him, after shaking Ernie's hand I just started staring at my hand in awe, hell I had just shaken the hand of the great Ernie Banks--Ernie, always the joker looked at me, with that great smile on his, said "what ya doin son, looking to see if the chocolate wore off" that was the start of a still till today lifelong friendship, with what I feel is the greatest shortstop to ever play the game. The bowling alley brings back memories also, one Sunday my brother and me ditched Sunday School, at Holy Rosary, to play pinball at the bowling alley, our mother found out and made us kneel on rice and read the Bible for one hour==oh the days of corporal punishment.

The Dairy Queen, Lure, Smiley's Taco House, American Legion, where I drank my first beer with my dad, the pharmacy across from Edison, Ace, the Sinclair Station, Doc Fadul, First National Bank, who could forget 5th Avenue. I grew up at 381 Porter St., Ah Porter St. the Bradford's, Pedone's, Woodward's, Torres', Spinks', and a few others that slip my mind, we were quite the gang of hooligans. There was the Swiss couple who always had the most beautiful flowers every spring, and finest trimmed lawn in the neighborhood, Al Thirtle-and the infamous Jacoby's wall, where we learned the facts of life, our parents would not teach us, the 1st sex education classes ever, Jacoby's wall where every prank we pulled on the neighborhood was hatched, and who could forget the beautiful Julie K. Then there was Clark Pond, and woods, the home of many an ice hockey game, Tuttle's log where we all smoked our 1st cigarette and the sand path to Shoppers Fair.

Edison School where I made hundreds of friends, Mr. Swingley the Principal, Ms Perino everyone's 1st love. My mother was a hall monitor, my Aunt Mary was cafeteria manager, the crowded halls, I got involved in sports just to get away from those halls, basketball, track, cross country, and golf were my games. We left Brunswick and Edison H.S. in 1965, and like many Brunswickite, moved to Merrillville, sadly at first, but made many lifetime friends there Gregg Popovich, coach of the San Antonio Spurs, among them.

I am glad I found this site, I am on Facebook, send me a friend request, and I will keep posting here as time and memory allows, glad to read everyone else's posts as well those were the days my friend's.

Dennis McGuire – Austin TX
May 28, 2013 - 22:18

You guys are all getting me chocked up. I was born in Gary went to Kindergarden at Horse Mann and had a great time on 3rd and Garfield. My parents moved to Merrillville and I went to SS Peter & Paul and Andrean. But really it was a very cool city at one time, the Palace, the State, Gordans . It was the best of times.

Melinda McNiece Howard – SE Ohio
May 18, 2013 - 23:50
George G

Just read about George's passing. I pulled out my 1966 yearbook & found what he wrote to me. We were in orchestra together. Good times & memories. I graduated from EHS in 1967, the last class to graduate from there. Was one of the 13-yr group(at EHS from K-12). We lived at 3rd & Hovey, and 3rd & Porter, then moved to Valparaiso August 1967.