Gary, Indiana

Gary, IN
Pop.  80,294Swamps and sand dunes discouraged permanent settlement along the southernmost shore of Lake Michigan until 1906, when US Steel created Gary as home for the world’s then largest steel-making plant. Eager to avoid strikes like that a decade earlier in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood, 20 miles to the west, US Steel’s paternalism established municipal infrastructures and civic institutions as it simultaneously initiated patterns and practices of ethnic and racial segregation, the consequences of which continue to plague the city today. Major changes occurred in the mid-20th century as whites left the city and African Americans became the majority and leading working class. Nicknamed “City of the Century,” Gary has lost more than half its population over the past fifty years.

  • Project Dates: Ongoing
  • Collaborating Partners: Samuel Barnett
  • Notes: This is the only version of NPA that is entirely online. Results are compiled through Google maps, taking advantage of the technology that is changing how people relate to maps and geographic information. Started by Samuel Barnett, a core member of AREA Chicago, as a way to engage and better understand the city he grew up next to, the process of collecting research and ideas from residents includes: printing out neighborhood specific regional maps akin to past NPA projects, presentations to local organizations, and extensive secondary research into a rich and substantative body of local social history. The project is currently focused on hidden histories Gary’s neighborhoods and is accessible at peoplesatlasgi.wordpress.com.
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