Gary, Indiana, August 2023

I’m sure these two photos, above and below, are the classic “ruin porn” photos that most people seek out to take when they visit Gary, Indiana. And I’m not going to pretend that the city doesn’t have serious problems, and no one who lives there, I’m sure, is going pretend there aren’t thousands of acres of vacant lots taking up portions of the steel town.

But the photographs below were also taken in Gary. There are actually dozens of streets full of beautiful, well-kept homes, without a single abandoned house in sight.

There are also dozens more streets where there are maybe only one or two abandoned houses on an otherwise healthy block.

And U.S. Steel’s Gary Works is still very much alive and well, if next to impossible to photograph because it lies behind an elevated train line and heavy security. I hate that people seek out to portray a city as one giant Hiroshima in 1945 wasteland.

I do not know what the future holds, that’s true.

There is some new public housing, built in downtown, close to public transit (I was critical of some public housing in East St. Louis that is horribly isolated). I don’t know how well-built it is, but there is some hope, at least, for the time being in the shadow of the old City Methodist Church, which we’ll check up on in two days.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sean B says:

    I really like how critical, but within a respectful character. Your posts are when describing the more abandoned parts of both urban and small town America. Gary was incorporated as an out of Illinois Provincial State jurisdiction, satellite industrial suburb of Chicago with 1906. While some John Bowman led, real estate, “government employee,” political businessmen factions founded the still existing municipal government of East Saint Louis within a more “in your face,” political safe haven for allot of vice activity among certain common criminals, based on the research of Andrew Theising Every town has it’s story.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      “In your face” is definitely a great way to describe the corruption on the East Side!

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