The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
The western end of the National Lakeshore is behind Union Station. It extends eastward between railroad tracks into the Miller neighborhood of Gary, where the Marquette Hike/Bike trail follows the old train right-of-ways for 2 1/2 miles to West Beach.
On Lake Street in Miller is the Paul Douglas Center for Environmental Education. Here the Marquette Trail will begin (starts a block east on Grand Ave), traveling eastward. Today, the Center is home of the Lakeshores education staff, where school groups come to learn about the natural world around them.
Meanwhile, down at County Line Road at the east edge of the Miller neighborhood is the Lakeshore's West Beach facility. Here is a bathhouse, beach access, a picnic area and several trails through the dunes.
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park
Gary City Hall
Located in the heart of downtown Gary, City Hall is one of a pair of matching buildings. To it's west is the Lake County Courthouse. Both were to be the backdrop for a central park area and the highlight of the City of Gary. Just to the north is Union Station, once the scene of trains coming and going.
HABS Statement: The current City Hall structure was erected in 1927 as an integral element of the Gateway Plan. The Gateway Plan, proposed by the Gary Commerce Club in 1924, was to be designed in such a manner as to create a balanced integration of landscaping and structures providing an aesthetically pleasing "front door" to the city. The Gateway Plan was designed to consist of a park, a court building, and the City Hall at a cost of three million dollars.
- Historical Travel
Gary Air show
The Gary Air show, although not quite as large as the Chicago Air and Water show was almost as good, the only notable omission was the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angels, one of which always appears in Chicago. This year it was held on July 17 and 18th, 2004.
Acts included the Lima Lima flight team, the B-1B Lancer, B-2 Spirit, Golden Knights U.S. Army Parachute Team, Red Baron Stearman Squadron and F-117A.
I thought access was easier to the Gary show than to Chicago's (less people, traffic) and you can easily get seats right on the beach where the show is going on.
We parked at Wirt High School and rode our bikes to the beach, easy in, easy out. Friends of ours easily walked to Wirt from the air show.
I took a few more photos in 2004 which you can see in my travelogue.
- Budget Travel
In 1919, after thirteen years of saying it wasn’t in the business of recreation, US Steel presented the 120 acre Marquette Park to the city of Gary. Ironically, this represented one of the first attempt at conservation of the Lake Michigan shoreline from industry interests.
Father Marquette, the Jesuit priest who explored and did missionary work in the Great Lakes region during the late seventeenth century, is believed to have camped near the Grand Calumet River, located in the park.
Please visit my "Marquette Park" travelogue at my "Miller, IN" page.
2300 Jackson St: The Jackson Home
In the shadow of Gary Roosevelt High School, this is where it all began for Janet, LaToya, Tito and of course Michael. The street name is coincidental; in Gary, streets west of Broadway have presidential names. Note, the house is under private ownership.
Step on the gas!!!!!!
If you are doing a documentary on how to destroy a city, bring plenty of video. This city is a clinic on the subject. Take the tour to downtown, Broadway. That should be enough. Whatever you do, don't get out of your car.
Gary State Bank Building
This 10-story skyscraper is a remaining highlight of Gary's "Augustan Age", a time of rapid growth and development during the mid and late 1920s. Built in 1929, this neo-classical edifice hides an interesting fact. Although only 10-stories high, the elevators run to the fifteenth floor! So sure that this building, like the rest of the city, would grow, the architect made the allowance. Anticipated growth probably also explains the lack of facade ornamentation on the top seven floors.
Father Marquette - setting
This is a pleasant setting - though perhaps he would have liked to be closer to the water. (For comparison with a more modern representation, see the Depression-era Father Marquette mural from my own Marquette MI page.)
- Historical Travel
Marquette Park - Father Marquette
Jacques Marquette (1637-1675) Jesuit missionary and explorer of "New France". Traversed the Great Lakes and founded a mission at "St. Ignace" in what is now the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. May have been the first European to have successfully traveled from the St. Lawrence seaway to the headwaters of the Mississippi. Accompanied Louis Joliet on am expedition to find the shortest route between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. Since I live in a community that bears his name, I've very interested in the various representations of Pere Marquette.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Gary Bathing Beach Aquatorium
This beautiful structure has been undergoing renovation for over ten years, thanks to a citizen group, The Society for the Restoration of the Gary Bathing Beach Aquatorium and Octave Chanute's Place in History.
The structure was built in 1921 by George Washington Maher on the sight where Octave Chanute conducted notable flight experiments in 1896 that had a big impact on the Wright Brothers' own attempts and successes.
Besides the spectacular lake and Chicago skyline views and interesting architecture the east wing contains a small museum dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen and the west wing will (hopefully) soon contain a museum dedicated to Chanute. The Aquatorium is quickly becoming a popular spot for weddings and social events. Please check out the Aquatorium travelogue located at my "Miller, IN" page.
This 2.1 mile linear trail runs between County Line Road and Grand Blvd in Miller, traversing a very pretty, diverse series of dunes, wetlands and forests, the Dunes in all their glory. The compacted gravel path is passable by bike and foot and is a great way to see a part of the Indiana Dunes usually unseen by most visitors.
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
The reason why Gary exists. US Steel does not host public tours and unless you work there you won't be getting in. But I list this under "must see activities" because if you are anywhere near the city of Gary you won't miss the sight of this rusting behemoth or it's smoke stacks on the lakeshore.
Pictured here is just a small bit of the complex. The best views are from the Gary Metro Center train platform, the I-90 toll road or from a downtown parking garage roof.
669 Van Buren Street
Constructed between 1909 - 1910, the stucco prairie style house at 669 Van Buren is an example of Frank Lloyd Wright's American-System Built design. The original resident, Ingwald Moe, owned a Chicago-based construction firm that held many contracts in the city of Gary. A similiar house is located in Evanston, IL.
The Moe Residence is part of a westside historic district, a planned "company town" where many US Steel supervisors and officials lived. Residential architectural style vary, but not to the degree as the condition of the houses, which range from delapidated to well kept.
Note the house is under private ownership. Another Frank Lloyd Wright design, this one not as lovingly well tended to, stands at 600 Fillmore (see the Wynant House under "Off The Beaten Path").
Gary Land Company building
The oldest building in Gary, dating from the city's birth in 1906. Originally located near 3rd and Broadway, this wood framed building housed the Gary Land Company (the wing of US Steel responsible for overseeing town affairs), the town hall (Gary wasn't a city until 1909) and Gary's first post office. The house has been moved around a bit over the years but now resides in Gateway Park, between Massachusetts and Pennsylvania Streets.
City Hall and County Courthouse
Designed as part of the Gateway Improvement Plan, City Hall (foreground, built in 1927) and the County Courthouse could be mistaken as twins, the differences are subtle. Philip Maher, son of noted Prairie Style architect George, took over the project when his father commited suicide in 1926.
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