Forgotten Cities | Gary, Indiana

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David Tribby, of David Tribby Photography has spent the past few years documenting the abandoned and decaying architecture of , Indiana and has shared his collection of work with us. Considering his work, ’s past and ’s present allows us to discuss a broader topic, the possible outcomes for abandoned architecture and their role in today’s urban centers. More of David Tribby’s photographs and a brief narrative after the break.

© David Tribby Photography

Urban disinvestment and subsequent urban renewal is an unfortunate American reality that many rust belt cities have struggled with over the last fifty years. The current state of Gary, Indiana is an all too familiar one, sharing a fate similar to much of its larger neighbors. Tying themselves too closely to specific industries sealed their regression, with only the varying levels of devastation left behind for those who attempt to rebuild. David Tribby , has built a volume of work from his photography of Gary, Indiana’s historic (and abandoned) architecture.

© David Tribby Photography

Much like many individuals with strong ties to Gary, David comes from a family of steel workers whose profession has been the city’s economic driver since its inception as a company town over one hundred years ago. During the height of steel production in Northwest Indiana, Gary reached a peak population exceeding 200,000 and was a bustling urban center just twenty five miles from downtown Chicago.

© David Tribby Photography

However, as international competitiveness in the steel market raised in the 1960s, the manufacturing sector of Gary began to down size and force much of its blue collar workforce to search elsewhere for jobs. The result was a 50% population loss within thirty years and a density loss that dis joined many neighborhoods, underfunded city services and forced the shuttering of many prominent destinations within Gary.

© David Tribby Photography

While the attraction of many of David’s subjects is caused by his family’s relationships with the now abandoned structures, he has developed a connection between the historic decaying architecture littering Gary with the city’s current identity loss.

“I believe architecture is a strong way a community identifies itself. Other countries use their buildings for hundreds of years, they seem to care more for their history. Simple preservation techniques could of kept these buildings viable, but now most are too far gone to renovate or too expensive to tear down.  …I believe if preserved several of these buildings could still play a key role in Gary’s revitalization.”

© David Tribby Photography

This connection leads us to an interesting set of questions to ponder. What role should abandoned architecture play in the reinvestment and rebuilding of today’s decaying urban centers? Should these pieces of architecture be preserved in their current state as monuments to the past? Modern day ruins? Or does the future of urban environments such as Gary necessitate the costly restoration of these community icons to their former glories? Such an image would surely do wonders for the community, but how can cities with so many pressing concerns viably place costly preservation and restoration projects ahead of basic infrastructure or basic city services? Or are abandoned works of architecture like these in Gary too damaging to the rebuilding efforts to warrant their protection? Would demolishing them and starting with a clean slate allow the city to move on and rewrite its own history?

From: Gary Indiana | A City’s Ruins, David Tribby PhotographyFULL GALLERY HERE

© David Tribby Photography
Cite: Jarz, Hank. "Forgotten Cities | Gary, Indiana" 09 Feb 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 Aug 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=109891>

10 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I have seen David’s work before. Excellent capture of the sadness of once great buildings in a town struggling against many problems.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Pictures look like CGI because of the terrible over-processing… If you want to show hard reality, don’t make it look like a fantasy blockbuster.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    I filed information about each building photographed under “description”, but unfortunately that is not accessible once published, I apologize. For all of those interested here is the break down of the buildings listed.

    1. City Methodist Church, 575 Washington St.

    architect: Lowe & Bollenbacher
    style: Gothic
    built: 1925-6
    closed: 1975

    2. U.S. Post Office, 109 East 6th Ave.

    architect: Howard Cheney
    style: Art Deco
    built: 1936
    closed: late-1970s

    3. Ambassador Apartments, 574 Monroe St.

    architect: William Stern
    style: Renaissance Revival
    built: 1928
    closed: mid-1980s

    4. Paintball

    5. Industrial Warehouse

    6. Gary Depot, 301 Broadway Ave.

    a.k.a.:
    Union Station
    Lake Shore and Baltimore & Ohio Depot

    architect: M.A. Lang
    style: Neoclassical
    built: 1908-10
    closed: 1950s

    7. Gary Depot, 301 Broadway Ave.

    a.k.a.:
    Union Station
    Lake Shore and Baltimore & Ohio Depot

    architect: M.A. Lang
    style: Neoclassical
    built: 1908-10
    closed: 1950s

    8. Gary Public Schools Memorial Auditorium, E. 7th Ave. & Massachusetts St.

    architect: Joseph Wildermuth
    masonry: John Largura
    style: Mission / Spanish Revival
    built: 1925-7
    closed: late-1970s

    9. Gary Bathing House, Miller Beach, 1 Marquette Dr., Marquette Park

    architect: George W. Maher & Son
    style: Prairie / Classical Revival
    built: 1921
    closed: 1971
    reopened: 1991

    10. City Methodist Church, 575 Washington St.

    architect: Lowe & Bollenbacher
    style: Gothic
    built: 1925-6
    closed: 1975

    11. City Methodist Church, 575 Washington St.

    architect: Lowe & Bollenbacher
    style: Gothic
    built: 1925-6
    closed: 1975

    12. City Methodist Church, 575 Washington St.

    architect: Lowe & Bollenbacher
    style: Gothic
    built: 1925-6
    closed: 1975

    13. Ambassador Apartments, 574 Monroe St.

    architect: William Stern
    style: Renaissance Revival
    built: 1928
    closed: mid-1980s

    Once again, sorry for the inconvenience.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      I have visited abandoned cities in other parts of the world without fear. However, I am afraid of going to Gary,Indiana. While I want to see the architecture while it is still there, the town’s reputation & what I might encounter is preventing me from going.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It’s truly a great and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Awesome Pics!! Thanks to Richard Hatcher, thats why Gary now looks like that!! Obama is about to do the same thing to America!! If not, Ask your Parents.. They know!

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