Gary, Ind.: From Bustling City to Ghost Town (PHOTOS)

gary indiana ghost town
gary indiana ghost town

By Dina Spector

Gary, Ind., was once the center of American steel production. Movie theaters, department stores and restaurants were part of the fabric of a bustling industrial city. Now Gary is a ghost town.

Broadway Avenue in downtown Gary, formerly a commercial hub of the community, is a strip of vacant buildings and empty sidewalks. The city is plagued by high unemployment, crime and a shrinking population.

Gary was founded in 1906 for the workers of the United States Steel Corporation. The population peaked at around 180,000 in 1960. Eventually, overseas competition led to massive layoffs. White flight to the suburbs further depressed the city.

Today, there are about 80,000 people living in Gary. The city lost around 25 percent of inhabitants in the last decade alone.

Photographer Sylvain Margaine documented the decay of Gary in 2006. The pictures are featured on his site, Forbidden Places. Although recently there has been some effort to revive Gary, including economic incentives for technology companies, the photographs depict the struggles of a city on the edge of collapse.

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