Abandoned Gary, Indiana
Gary is a city in Lake County, Indiana, United States. The city is in the southeastern portion of the Chicago metropolitan area and is 25 miles from downtown Chicago. The population was 102,746 at the 2000 census, making it the fifth largest city in the state. Gary was once the second largest city in Indiana, behind Indianapolis, a position now held by Fort Wayne. It borders Lake Michigan and is best known for its large steel mills.

The city was founded in 1906 by the United States Steel Corporation as the home for its new plant. The city was named after the lawyer and founding chairman of U.S. Steel, Elbert H. Gary.

Among U.S. cities with a population of 100,000 or more, Gary has the highest percentage of African Americans, 84% (as of the 2000 U.S. census). Gary had one of the nation's first African-American mayors, Richard G. Hatcher, and hosted the ground-breaking 1972 National Black Political Convention. At the same time, Gary suffered from many affluent and middle-class residents leaving Gary and relocating to the surrounding towns and cities. Because of the loss of jobs in the city, many people left the area altogether for regions with employment.

Gary's fortunes have risen and fallen with those of the steel industry. In the 1960s, like many other American urban centers, Gary entered a downward spiral of decline. Gary's decline was brought on by the growing overseas competitiveness in the steel industry, which had caused U.S. Steel to layoff many workers from the Gary area. Crime increased, including use and trade in illegal drugs.

U.S. Steel continues to be a major steel producer, but with only a fraction of its former level of employment. While Gary has failed to reestablish a manufacturing base since its population peak, two casinos opened along the Gary lakeshore in the 1990s although this has been aggravated by the state closing of Rt.912 (Cline Ave.), an important access to the area. Today, Gary faces numerous difficulties, including unemployment, major economic problems, and a high rate of crime, though the city has made some progress in addressing these issues since the 1990s.

Meredith Willson's 1957 Broadway musical The Music Man featured the song, Gary, Indiana, describing Gary Conservatory as the alleged alma mater of lead character Professor Harold Hill ("Gary Music Conservatory, Class of '05!"). The joke in Hill's claim, of course, is that the City of Gary wasn't founded until 1906. Wilson's musical, set in 1912, later was the basis of a film (1962) and a made-for-television film (2003).

Parts of the never-completed Chicago - New York Electric Air Line Railroad were built in the vicinity of Gary and used as interurban transport.

Three-term Democratic Mayor Scott King resigned from office in March, 2006, citing a desire to return to private law practice. Then-deputy mayor and former Calumet Township Trustee Dozier T. Allen Jr. became acting mayor, pending a formal election by local Democratic party officials. On April 4, 2006, local officials chose former Lake County Commissioner and King rival Rudolph Clay to fill the remaining 21 months of King's term.

The Gary Chicago International Airport has recently secured nearly 100 million dollars in grants and private donations. The FAA approved GYY's master plan which includes the expansion of runways, land acquistition for a larger terminal, an integrated transportation center, and provision for a third runway. The first part of the plan requires that the EJ&E line, which runs at the end of the runway, be relocated.

Gary was rated the 17th most dangerous city in the United States according to Morgan Quitno's 2007 analysis of crime rates (City Crime Rankings, 14th Edition), down from 10th highest in the 2006 edition. This is indicative of the progress Gary has made in reducing crime since the 1990s.[citation needed] The city recorded 51 homicides in 2006, a 13.5 percent decrease from the previous year. In 2007, Gary had 71 homicides - almost a 40 percent increase over 2006.

Dallas-based HomeVestors of America released their "Top 10 Markets for Real Estate Investing" list on December 9, 2006. Gary earned the number one position on this list, which represents activity of investors who purchase homes below market and then sell. Also, Forbes Magazine recently listed Gary 39th on their Top 100 Best Cities for Jobs in 2008. The ranking was up from 89th in 2006 and 84th in 2007.

In March, 2008 the Chief of Police, Deputy Chief and a police sergeant were all indicted by the federal court for violating the civil rights of a Gary resident.

After celebrating its 100th year in 2006, the city of Gary finally shows evidence of rebound from years of economic depression. Many buildings that have been left vacant for years are now finally slated for demolition and development. Many new homes have been built through the HOPE VI grant from HUD. In 2009, the old town section of the city, still littered with deteriorating buildings and roads which have not been occupied or used for three decades, was featured in episode 2 of The History Channel's series Life After People, as an example of how quickly Chicago might deteriorate after human beings had vanished off of Earth, thanks largely to the effects of Lake Michigan on steel and reinforced concrete structures.

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