Gary is located in the NW
corner of Indiana, on the sourthern tip of Lake Michigan.
While Gary is the largest city in Lake County, Indiana, it is
not the county seat. That honor falls to Crown Point.
Gary is the 3rd or 4th largest city in the state of Indiana,
depending on who is counting, and when. At one time, Gary was
the 2d largest city in the state. In its heyday, the
population numbered close to 200,000. Sadly, those days are
long past. The last census resulted in a population count
Gary was once
known known as the "City of the Century." However,
that century has now passed into the pages
of history. Today, Gary is probably best and deservedly
known as the "Murder Capital of the U.S."
That being so, the
focus here shall be on the Gary, Indiana that
was. The Gary that was is where I was
born, (Mercy Hospital), raised (Glen Park-Eastside)
and educated (St. Joseph School, Riley School and Lew Wallace
H.S.). The environs of the Gary that was formed
the crucible in which my very being was
Gary has been known by a variety of
names. Perhaps the most universally recognized nickname is
"The Region." This appellation derives from Gary's location in
the Calumet River basin.
There are actually two Calumet rivers in
the area, the Grand and the Little. Both waterways played
major roles in the development of the area. They permitted the
drainage and subsequent use of marshland by industry. They
also function as a means of transferring inland the goods
transported on Lake Michigan.
Gary is also, rightfully known as the "Steel
City." The rationale for this name needs little
explanation. Over 100 years ago, U.S. Steel
invested millions and millions to construct not only
the largest integrated steel making facility in the country, but
also the community where its employees would live. In a
concerted effort to realize a return on its investiment, U.S.
Steel hyped Gary to the world as the "City of the Century," and/or
the "Magic City." Other appellations have been used
to reference Gary, IN. The most common
ones are City in
Motion and GI.
tons and tons of steel are still produced annually at the
U.S.S.-Gary Works facilities, the process no
longer employs thousands of folk to do it. Technology has
replaced labor. As a consequence, Gary's magic has wore
off and its only motion now is one of a downward
That the velocity of that downward spiral is
increasing is evident from the attitude and actions of the city's
current political leader.
As recently as 16 Jan 2008 Gary Mayor, Rudy Clay, was quoted by
the Northwest Indiana Times as telling anyone who will
listen that, "America will not be what it needs to be until Gary is
what it ought to be." Now I ask you, how is that for
accepting responsibility for reversing the city's plight,
exercising compelling leadership and simply grabbing the bull by the
horns in a sincere, concentrated effort to turn things
The year 2012 represents a milestone of
sorts for the "Steel City." For the first time a female, Karen
Freeman-Wilson, will be the chief executive officer of the
city. Yes, she is a Democrat. Yes, she is the
hand-picked successor to Rudy. That she is both does
raise a question of just how significant a milestone her assumption
of office shall be. What is known is that her work is cut
out for her. Even though she declared on election night that
"Gary is on the come up," that remains to be
seen. Her challenges are immense. We wish her
luck, as Gary deserves a better fate than what it is currently
Through word and pictures it is hoped one
will find the Gary that was, develop an appreciation for its
uniqueness and maybe even learn a new thing or two about da'
Region. With such an appreciation, maybe inspiration to turn
things around shall be generated?
The excursion begins by picking one of
the paths awaiting in the Highlights box on the upper left side
of this page. The option of avoiding the streets of Gary
altogether is also available, and may be exercised at every turn in
the road by clicking on the Return to: HOME/DIRECTORY
link at the bottom of every page.
Indiana - The "Steel
Copyright 2008-2014, G. David Yaros.
All rights reserved.