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Gary: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Manufacturing, especially of steel, has been the heart of Gary and northwest Indiana. Although hard hit by decline of employment in the steel mills, part of that decline was due to automation, and the steel industry is still an integral part of Gary's economy. The factory scene has expanded to more light manufacturing, such as paper products, plastics, chemicals, rubber, and even food processing. The newest industry to jolt the local economy is tourism, with casino boats, restaurants, and entertainment venues available at the newly renovated Buffington Harbor at the lakefront. Gary and Lake County are becoming increasingly popular for people from Chicago and other urban centers who seek weekend recreational getaways. A 20 percent gaming tax is levied on the casino boats.

Items and goods produced: steel and steel finished products including sheet metal, tin plate, tubing, and bridges; hardware, springs, windshield wipers, light fixtures, apparel and bed linens, processed foods.

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The Gary Department of Planning and Development assists businesses in several ways: through commercial development and redevelopment; infrastructure planning and development; job training initiatives' image promotion and public relations; land, buildings, and community tours; liaison between businesses and individuals; information on available sites; tax abatement; and research.

State Programs

Business incentive programs in Gary revolve around the Gary Urban Enterprise Association (GUEA) which manages Gary's Urban Enterprise Zone program. Urban Enterprise Zones are low income neighborhoods which are designated for special state tax credits to businesses who employ people in the zones. Businesses in the Zones are encouraged in several ways: companies may receive full forgiveness of personal property taxes paid for raw materials or finished products; employers can get up to $1,500 per employee for "employment expense credit" when they live in the zone; a loan interest credit lowers the taxes that lending institutions pay on interest earned on loans to businesses in the zone; and an equity investment credit for individual investors who pay into job training programs.

Another state business incentive program is EDGEEconomic Development for a Growing Economy. Intended for larger businesses that create 100 or more jobs and have a payroll equaling at least the county average, EDGE has many smaller programs under its huge umbrella, including credits for state tax liability; and Job Service Matching System, wherein employers can use the state employment system's service to find ideal applicants for specific needs. There is also an Infrastructure Assistance Grants and Loans program, which helps new and expanding companies to finance infrastructure needs such as new roads, water and sewer lines, railroad access, and utilities. Indiana boasts very low costs for Worker's Compensation and Unemployment. Indiana Strategic Development Fund encourages cooperative projects of two or more Indiana businesses.

Job Training Programs

Jobs 2020 job training program exists under the Urban Enterprise Zone program. Lakeshore Employment Training Partnership (LETP) works with Urban Enterprise Zone programs. Services available to area businesses all focus on providing a well trained work force, including pre-screening of potential new hires, occupational and educational testing, writing training manuals for companies to use on job sites or at various local educational facilities, and analyzing job skills in order to improve performance and productivity on specific tasks. The state of Indiana also offers a program calls Skills 2016, which was initiated in 2001. Skills has five components: the Skills Enhancement Fund helps with costs of training workers of Indiana companies undertaking large capital investment projects; Advance Indiana encompasses many smaller programs which specialize in various types and sizes of businesses that wish to train people in what are termed "transferable skills"; Community Development Block Grants provide federal funding to train people from lower and middle income families; Technology Enhancement for Hoosiers provides $1 million a year for thousands of workers to get technology certification; Training for the Individual Student gives financial aid to students in Indiana universities, colleges, and technological training centers.

More than 16,000 Hoosiers made use of the federal Work-force Investment Act, whose purpose is to improve the quality of the American work force, reduce welfare dependency, and improve the nation's productivity and competitiveness in the world markets. Trade Adjustment Assistance programs focus on workers who have been displaced by increased imports. Building Trades and Indiana Plan programs train people for careers in construction.

Development Projects

The major redevelopment project in Gary since its beginning in 1906 is the Buffington Harbor Lakeshore Redevelopment. The marinas for the casino boats are there, and much of the surrounding 25 square miles needed to be revamped to make it more attractive to the new tourist trade. Neighborhood housing and public services and facilities are being renewed, but natural open spaces, restored brownfields (former industrial sites common in America's Rust Belt) improved marinas and waterways are also underway. Other plans include a health spa, resort, and commercial shopping centers and restaurants, a theater complex, amusement park/water park, museums, golf courses and a golf academy, and new parks and playgrounds. A new arena is being considered for sports, concerts, and conventions. Street improvements and railroad track realignment will be needed to fit in with the new image as well. Downtown redevelopment has three major ongoing projects: street improvements, such as sidewalk resurfacing and lighting; a planned Media Center at 5th and Broadway; and a $45 million baseball park which will be home to the minor league Gary Southshore Railcats. Gary's Housing Authority has several projects underway, most notably the Horace Mann Home ownership project in the heart of downtown Gary, and Duneland. Both are part of the Housing Authority's HOPE VI program. Duneland is a mixed income, mixed finance rental development in the Miller community, which is next to State and Federal Dunes' parks.

Economic Development Information: Department of Planning and Economic Development, 504 Broadway, Suite 625, Gary, IN 46402; telephone (219)881-5235; fax (219)881-1092

Commercial Shipping

Gary Regional Airport, part of the Chicago/Gary Regional Airport Authority, is expanding to become a more major midwest cargo carrier, taking some of the congestion out of Chicago Midway. In addition to the airport, Gary has six truck terminals serving more than 100 trucking firms, most of which can provide overnight shipping within a 300-mile radius. Eight railways have service into Gary. Greyhound Trailways, Vancom, Indiana, and Tri-State provide intercity bus service, and Gary Public Transportation corporation runs buses within the city.

Four major interstate highways offer easy connections to both coasts, the Gulf of Mexico, and Canada.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

The following is a summary of the Gary metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual average.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 323,633

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 18,700

manufacturing: 38,100

trade, transportation and utilities: 59,100

information: 2,500

financial activities: 10,000

professional and business services: 22,800

educational and health services: 39,600

leisure and hospitality: 30,800

other services: 12,300

government: 40,200

Average hourly wage of production workers employed in manufacturing: $16.40

Unemployment rate: 6.6% (March 2005)

Largest county employers Number of employees
U.S. Steel/Gary Works 6,800
Gary Public School System 3,163
Methodist Hospital Northlake 3,081
City of Gary 2,319
Trump Indiana 1,300
Majestic Star Casino 1,050
U.S. Postal Service 730
Indiana University Northwest 400
Post-Tribune 300
Northwest Indiana Water Company 182
Gary Steel Products 150
Industrial Steel Construction 150
Indiana Vocational Tech College 140

Cost of Living

The cost of housing in northwest Indiana tends to be lower than many other parts of the country, with property taxes as much as 25 percent lower.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Gary area.

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

State income tax rate: 3.4%

State sales tax rate: 6.0% (food, prescription drugs, and items used in manufacturing exempt)

Local income tax rate: none

Local sales tax rate: none

Property tax rate: $23.42 per $100 of assessed value, assessment ratio = 33.33% for residential (2005)

Economic Information: Gary Chamber of Commerce, 504 Broadway, Suite 328, Gary, IN 46402; telephone (219)885-7407

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Gary: History

Early History

Prehistoric studies indicate that the swamps and sand dunes of the Calumet region presented hostile conditions which discouraged any permanent settlers. Migrant tribes of Miami, Ottawa, Wea, and Potawatomi hunted, fished, trapped, and sometimes farmed the area. Even these indigenous people didn't build permanent villages until the 1600's. (There were perhaps 50 Potawatomi villages left in northwest Indiana by the early 1800s, most of whom were moved to reservations by the 1850s.) Father Jacques Marquette, great French explorer of the Mississippi River Valley, led a group of fur traders and missionaries through the area using the Calumet River. The story goes that Marquette camped near the mouth of the Grand Calumet, the present site of Gary's Marquette Park. Joseph Bailly, in 1822, was the first European to settle in these Indiana Dunes, which would later become southeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana.

Creation of City as Major Steel Center

Still, there were not many settlers until the 1900s, although post-Civil War homesteaders flocked to the more fertile farmlands in the southern part of the state. However, as the country's industrial economy grew, land once deemed inhospitable for farming was eyed for factory use. In the late 1880s large amounts of sand were removed from the dunes and shipped to Chicago for building and industrial uses. Swamps, woodlands, and dunes were leveled in order to support enormous factory structures. Gary finally became Gary when, in 1906, work was begun on a site envisioned by its namesake, Elbert H. Gary. Gary had been a judge from 1882 to 1890 and became chairman of U.S. Steel. Realizing that economic growth was moving to the Midwest, he chose the spot for its proximity to Chicago, Great Lakes shipping, and railroad access to bring in ore from Minnesota and coal from the south and east. The enormity of this undertaking necessitated U.S. Steel's forming of two new companies, the Gary Land Company to build housing, and the Indiana Steel Company to construct the plant, which would contain 12 blast furnaces and 47 steel furnaces. In addition, the harbor had to be excavated to accommodate the largest steam ships of the day, and an enormous breakwater and lighthouse were built as well. Three and a half years later a mill opened. Immigrants attracted by thousands of new jobs poured in, both from eastern and southern Europe and from other parts of the United States, filling Gary with more than 16,000 inhabitants for its official designation as a city in 1909.

In one of the few historical footnotes about Gary that isn't directly involved with steel, Octave Chanute first took flight in a glider in 1896, off the windswept dunes that in a decade would become Gary. It was the world's first sustained flight in a heavier than air structure. The Wright brothers later credited Chanute's design with helping them build their first plane.

City Attracts Workers; Growth Continues

In the next 10 years Gary more than tripled its population, with more than 55,000 residents by 1920. The city became a great ethnic melting pot as jobs in the mills continued to attract immigrants from various foreign countries, especially from eastern Europe. Prior to World War I, organized labor failed to gain a foothold among the area's steel workers. Although Judge Gary held the same anti-labor sentiments as his contemporary and rival, Andrew Carnegie, he was somewhat less heavy handed in his approach, seeking to avoid strikes through employee relations programs and an emphasis on job safety. U.S. Steel actually pioneered job safety programs and originated the phrase "Safety First." The corporation adopted a sort of old fashioned, paternalistic relationship with its laborers similar to that of coal or textile mill "company towns." Social events and much of life outside the workplace revolved around the company, while on the downside this meant blacklists kept track of any employee with the wrong political affiliations.

The post WWI period was one of growth for Gary, which had almost instantly become the largest city in the Calumet region. Construction included many apartment buildings and houses, three 10-story buildings, the Hotel Gary, The Gary State Bank, the imposing Knights of Columbus hall, and the massive City Methodist Church. Public structures included Gary City Hall, the courthouse, a 10 acre esplanade (Gateway Park), as well as Marquette Park and Gleason Park. Gary became known as "Magic City" and "City of the Century" because of its rapid growth. Although large numbers of African Americans were drawn to the city in search of unskilled labor jobs, a quota system kept their work force at no more than 15 percent. Most of the region had segregated public facilities, and housing was racially segregated as well. African Americans were relegated to live in "the Patch", the most undesirable housing in the city. Later, Mexican workers, who ironically were brought in as strike breakers, were also forced to reside in the Patch.

City Becomes Model for Public Education

Gary was the center of pivotal early twentieth century development in public education when William A. Wirth established a work/study/play school, popularly known as the "platoon school." It was designed to attract underprivileged children, many of whom were from non-English speaking immigrant families. The curriculum focused on preparing them to function in American society. By 1913 the school had enrolled 4,000 children.

The Great Depression, World War II, and Beyond

Until only very recently, the history of Gary remained intertwined with the fortune or folly of the steel industry. The Great Depression of the 1930s had a devastating effect on Gary's economy, with U.S. Steel dropping from 100 percent capacity in 1929 to 15 percent in 1932. The depression also brought unionization of Gary's industries, with U. S. Steel recognizing the Steelworkers Organizing Committee as the bargaining agent for its workers in 1937. Between 1935 and 1939 the steel worker's wages rose nationally 27 percent, benefitting Gary's workers as well.

During World War II, steel production soared and the tide of prosperity continued for the next two decades. U.S. Steel production peaked in 1953 at more than 35 million tons. The Steelworkers Union held a series of long strikes in 1946 and 1952. These strikes were mostly nonviolent conflicts over wages and benefits rather than the bloody struggles over union recognition that happened elsewhere, but a 116-day long strike in 1959 had the world-changing effect of shutting down 90 percent of production of not only U.S. Steel, but also its competitors. This opened the door to competition from foreign steel, which had had negligible effect before. The long decline of American steel thus began.

Manufacturing in general declined in the region and in the whole country. Between 1979 and 1986 northwest Indiana's loss in manufacturing totaled 42.5 percent, largely in the areas of oil and steel. The world market changed again and the American steel industry rebounded a bit from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. The steel industry is still important to the local economy in Gary, although it is not the world leader it once was.

Changing Demographics Brings African American Majority

Beginning in the 1960s, Gary's population decreased through "white flight" to the suburbs. By 1990 the population was made up of 80 percent African Americans. Voters elected Gary's first African American mayor, Richard G. Hatcher, in 1967 and for four subsequent terms. Hatcher's administration improved housing conditions in the city and helped obtain federal job training programs. In 1982 the Genesis Convention Center was built in the heart of Gary's downtown to help in the revitalization of the business district.

Gary made great progress during the 1960s and 1970s in reducing its air pollution caused by smoke from factories and steel mills. The amount of impurities in the air dropped nearly 60 percent from 1966 to 1976. The city issued nearly $180 million in revenue bonds to help U.S. Steel reduce its pollution at local facilities.

The loss of population in Gary during the 1980s, almost 25 percent, was larger than that of any other U.S. city. By 1995, the city's population was 85 percent African American. That year, Scott L. King, who is white, confounded observers when he won an upset victory in the mayoral election. Apparently King's energy and vision for Gary has transcended racial bounds, as he is still at its helm as the city reaches its Centennial.

Still battling poverty, unemployment, a shrinking population, and a less-than-stellar reputation, in the dawn of the twenty-first century the focus of community leaders and businesses in Gary has been to revitalize Gary's downtown and make the city attractive to visitors.

Historical Information: Indiana University Northwest Library, Calumet Regional Archives, 3400 Broadway, Gary, IN 46408; telephone (219)980-6628

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Gary: Recreation


For those interested in architecture, there is plenty to see in Gary, including two Frank Lloyd Wright houses. The Genesis Convention Center, a modern structure featuring rounded corners and an imposing glass wall across the front, is well worth a viewing. Built in 1921, the Gary Bathing Beach Aquatorium, one of the first examples of modular block construction in the world, underwent restoration in the early 1990s. Other notable buildings include the City Methodist Church, a massive Gothic structure of limestone completed in 1926, and the old west side historic district neighborhood, part of the original company town built by U. S. Steel in 1906, which reflects a variety of architectural styles.

Tours of the Gary Works, one of the largest steel plants in the world, are available by appointment. The Chanute Glider, which made the first sustained flight off the Indiana dunes in 1896, is on display at Gary Regional Airport. Orville Wright credited Octave Chanute with building the prototype of the plane that the Wright Brothers flew four years later, under power for the first time at Kitty Hawk, NC.

The Indiana Dunes pop up intermittently along the shore of Lake Michigan from Gary to Michigan City, IN. Poet Carl Sandberg described the dunes as being "to the Midwest what the Grand Canyon is to Arizona and Yosemite is to California. They constitute a signature of time and eternity." The dunes, refuge for woodland hikers with miles of trails believed to be left from indigenous peoples before the white pioneers, have been recognized as a national treasure by the U.S. Congress. The Paul H. Douglas Environmental Center at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore educates people in the fields of ecology and environmental science. Also at the Dunes are the Bailly Homestead, which offers a look at pioneer and Native American life, and the Chellberg Farm, where visitors may catch a glimpse into early 1900's farming. The Brunswick Park Savanna, a 49-acre park on Gary's west side, features rare plants such as black oak, bluejoint grass, and prairie sunflowers that have been safeguarded in the preserve. Brunswick Park also has tennis courts and picnic areas.

Festivals and Holidays

In June the U.S. Steelyard Stadium hosts a gospel festival with plenty of food, activities for children, and top gospel singers and groups. The Fourth of July is one of the biggest festivities of the year in Gary, with an Independence Day parade, fireworks in most parks, and a two day Independence Day Music Festival which always features a nationally known recording artist. In mid-July everyone is treated to the Gary Air Show. The free show is held in Marquette Park, where about 20 acts including every branch of the military plus civilians perform acrobatics in the air. In August there's a Jazz Festival and in September the Labor Day Blues Festival is held.

Sports for the Spectator

Minor league/semi-pro teams have recently come to Gary. The Continental Basketball Association includes a team in Gary as of 2000, named the Gary Steelheads, who play in the revamped Genesis Center. The Gary Southshore Railcats are a Northern League of Professional Baseball expansion team who began playing in 2002. The following year the Railcats' home stadium was completed, dubbed the U.S. Steel Yard. The Steel Yard seats about 6,000 and is used for concerts and conventions in the off season.

Sports for the Participant

There are 57 parks in Gary, plus Lake Etta, which is a Lake County park whose waters are stocked with a variety of fish. Opportunities abound for swimming, hiking, biking, tennis, hayrides, basketball, horseback riding, running, cross country skiing, softball, and golf. Lake County also offers 20 public golf courses. For those who wish to enjoy 12,000 acres of carefully preserved nature, there is the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park, which stretches across both Lake and Porter counties.

Shopping and Dining

Gary and Lake County offer a wide variety of shopping venues, from quaint antique shops and specialty stores particular to the Miller beach neighborhood, to strip malls with national chain stores.

Restaurants abound, from casual "soul food" places and fast food chains to new upscale establishments popping up all around the gaming and marina spots at Buffington Harbor.

Visitor Information: Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 5800 Broadway, Suite S, Merrillville, IN 46410; telephone (219)980-1617; toll-free (800)ALL-LAKE

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Gary: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Indiana's public school standards were retooled in 2000 after an education group criticized the state for not challenging its youth. The standards are applied in Gary by the Gary Community School Corporation, which offers two special education facilities: Norton Park Academy and Lincoln Achievement Center; one career center, Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy; Emerson Visual and Performing Arts Center; and Chase Alternative Middle School. The Benjamin Banneker Elementary School has been repeatedly singled out by the state Department of Education for meeting high standards of attendance and aptitude scores.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Gary Community School Corporation as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 17,381

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 20 (plus one preschool)

middle schools: 3

high schools: 7

Student teacher ratio: 18:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $34,738

maximum: $56,982

Funding per pupil: $10,800

Public Schools Information: Gary Community School Corporation, Public Information, 620 East 10th Place, Gary, IN 46402

Colleges and Universities

Indiana University (IU) Northwest, one of eight IU campuses in the state, had 5,138 students enrolled for the fall of 2004. Students can choose from more than 90 programs of study to earn certificates, associate degrees, bachelor's and master's degrees; popular majors are business administration and accounting. The university houses a nursing school and a medical research center. Faculty consists of 160 full-time and 160 part-time staff, 83 percent of whom have a doctorate or the highest degree available in their fields, and their expertise is concentrated into small class sizes with a student-teacher ratio of 14 to one. Full-time and part-time students are roughly half and half, and off campus sites "bring the college to you." Financial assistance is almost equally flexible. Career support programs help the alumni succeed beyond the classroom.

Ivy Tech State College's Gary campus focuses on business education, health and human services, and technical training Nearby Hammond is home to prestigious Purdue University Calumet. Purdue Calumet has more than 9,000 students enrolled and over 100 fields of study in which one can earn a variety of degrees from quick certifications to master's. Ivy Tech is a large commuter campus with over 165 acres, is three miles from downtown Gary, three miles from the Illinois border, and 25 miles from Chicago.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Gary Public Library has about 570,000 volumes plus CDs, nearly 15,000 items of graphic materials, more than 3,600 films and audiovisuals, and is a U.S. government depository. The library has five branches and one book-mobile. Its special collections focus on city and state history. The system also features free internet access, programs for children and seniors, and an African American history month program. Lake County has its own library system with seven branches, one in the heart of downtown Gary. It provides home service, programs for children and adults, special service to businesses, the Carol A. Derner Art Gallery, and literacy programs, among other services.

Indiana University Northwest Library contains a collection of more than 200,000 books and periodicals and as many government publications. Special purpose areas include the Calumet Regional Archives, the Northwest Indiana Center for Data and Analysis, Lake County Central Law Library, the Educational Resources Room, and services for the visually impaired. The library is backed by 7 million bound volumes and 26 million other materials in the systemwide Indiana University Libraries. Special Collections include an acclaimed series of photographs of U.S. Steel. At the University's Laboratories for Environmental Research, focus is on recycling of byproduct materials for basic industries.

Public Library Information: Gary Public Library, 220 West Fifth Avenue, Gary, IN 46402-1270; telephone (219)886-2484; fax (219)886-6829

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Gary: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents (PMSA)

1980: 643,000

1990: 604,526

2000: 484,564

Percent change, 19902000: -19.8%

U.S. rank in 1990: 3rd (CMSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 3rd (CMSA)

City Residents

1980: 151,968

1990: 116,646

2000: 102,746

2003 estimate: 99,961

Percent change, 19902000: -11.9

U.S. rank in 1980: 104th

U.S. rank in 1990: 163rd

U.S. rank in 2000: 251st

Density: 1,795 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 12,245

Black or African American; 86,340

American Indian and Alaska Native: 213

Asian: 140

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 24

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 5,065

Other: 2,023

Percent of residents born in state: 63.0% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 8,620

Population 5 to 9 years old: 8,792

Population 10 to 14 years old: 8,297

Population 15 to 19 years old: 8,211

Population 20 to 24 years old: 7,151

Population 25 to 34 years old: 11,851

Population 35 to 44 years old: 13,887

Population 45 to 54 years old: 13,503

Population 54 to 59 years old: 5,080

Population 60 to 64 years old: 4,211

Population 65 to 74 years old: 7,716

Population 75 to 84 years old: 4,177

Population 85 years and older: 1,250

Median age: 33.6

Births: (2002) Total number: 8,621

Deaths: (2002) Total number: 5,890 (of which, 72 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $14,383

Median household income: $27,195

Total households: 38,244

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 7,899

$10,000 to $14,999: 3,574

$15,000 to $24,999: 6,223

$25,000 to $34,999: 5,153

$35,000 to $49,999: 5,433

$50,000 to $74,999: 5,407

$75,000 to $99,999: 2,547

$100,000 to $149,999: 1,501

$150,000 to $199,999: 225

$200,000 or more: 319

Percent of families below poverty level: 22.2% (38.2% of which were female householder families with children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 5,812

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Gary: Introduction
Gary: Geography and Climate
Gary: History
Gary: Population Profile
Gary: Municipal Government
Gary: Economy
Gary: Education and Research
Gary: Health Care
Gary: Recreation
Gary: Convention Facilities
Gary: Transportation
Gary: Communications

The City In Brief

Founded: 1906. Designated a city in 1909

Head Official: Mayor Scott L. King (D) (since 1996)

City Population

1980: 151,968

1990: 116,646

2000: 102,746

2003 estimate: 99,961

Percent change, 19902000: -11.9%

U.S. rank in 1980: 104th

U.S. rank in 1990: 163rd

U.S. rank in 2000: 251st

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 643,000

1990: 604,526

2000: 484,564

Percent change, 19902000: -19.8

U.S. rank in 1990: 3rd (CMSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 3rd (CMSA)

Area: 50 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 590 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 48.9° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 34.66 inches of rain, 39.2 inches of snowfall

Major Economic Sectors: Trade, services, manufacturing, and tourism

Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (March 2005)

Per Capita Income: $14,383 (1999)

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 5,812

Major Colleges and Universities: Indiana University Northwest, Indiana Vocational Technical College

Daily Newspaper: Post-Tribune

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Gary: Geography and Climate

The city of Gary is located at the southern tip of Lake Michigan approximately 28 miles southeast of Chicago in an area known as the Calumet region, which includes the northern portions of Lake and Porter counties. Toledo is 210 miles east, Indianapolis is 153 miles southeast, Detroit is 237 miles northeast, and St. Louis is 287 miles southwest of Gary. Gary is in a region of frequently changing weather. The climate is predominantly temperate, ranging from relatively warm in the summer to relatively cold in the winter. However, this is partly modified by Lake Michigan, mostly in the winter. Very low temperatures usually develop in air that flows southward to the west of Lake Superior before reaching Gary. In summer the higher temperatures result from a south or southwest flow and therefore are not modified by the lake.

Area: 50 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 590 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 20.1° F; July, 72.9° F; annual average, 48.9° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 34.66 inches of rain, 39.2 inches of snowfall

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GARY , "The Steel City," founded in 1906 by the United States Steel Corporation; situated on the southern tip of Lake Michigan; the second largest city in Indiana. Gary has a population of approximately 120,000, less than 1,000 of them Jewish. Jewish families made their way into Gary's sand dunes and swamps along with the earliest pioneers, and in September 1908 the first Orthodox Jewish house of worship was dedicated. Subsequent years brought a series of ever larger structures, and in 1955 the modern Temple Israel was completed. The Reform Congregation was incorporated in 1910, and services are now conducted in the large, fifty-year-old Temple Israel in the Miller Section of Gary.

Gary's Jewish community is active in government, business, civic, and philanthropic circles. During most of the time from 1964 to 1968 the mayor, city attorney, superintendent of schools, health commissioner, and municipal judge were Jewish. There was little overt antisemitism, but Jews were excluded from the all-white Gary Country Club and the University Club. The Gary Jewish community continues to be involved in social justice issues but with the change in demographics it is not as involved politically as it once was. The Gary Jewish Welfare Federation was formed in 1941. Enlarged in 1958–59 to include East Chicago and Hammond, the name was changed to the Northwest Indiana Jewish Welfare Federation. This Federation possesses archives which include historical material on the Jewish communities in the area.

[Ida Kay Sacks /

Stanley Halpern (2nd ed.)]

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Gary: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Published in Gary are the general daily paper the Post-Tribune and the community newspapers Gary American and Gary Crusader.

Television and Radio

There are four TV stations in and near Gary. With six AM and three FM radio stations in the area, plus proximity to Chicago, listeners can enjoy virtually any style of music or talk radio.

Media Information: Post-Tribune, 1065 Broadway, Gary, IN 46402; telephone (800)753-5533

Gary Online

Calumet Regional Archives. Available

City of Gary home page. Available

Empowerment Zone home page. Available

Indiana University Northwest Library. Available

Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Available

Post-Tribune. Available

Selected Bibliography

Catlin, Robert A., Racial Politics and Urban Planning: Gary Indiana 1981-1989 (University of Kentucky, 1993)

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Gary: Transportation

Approaching the City

Located about 28 miles southeast of Chicago, Gary is accessible from Interstate 65 which runs north and south, and I-94/80, which runs east and west. The Indiana Toll Road I-90 connects to the Chicago Skyway to the west and the Ohio Turnpike to the east. Greyhound Trailways, Indiana, TriState, and Vancom bus lines go into Gary. The South Shore Line is a 90 mile electric railway that can speed commuters to and from Gary and Chicago.

Gary Regional Airport, four miles east of the city on U.S. Route 12, houses Direct Air, which provides passenger service to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, and Fort Wayne. Gary Regional Airport advertises itself as an alternative to the congestion of Chicago's Midway and O'Hare airports; it is only 30 minutes from downtown Chicago.

Traveling in the City

Local bus transportation is provided by Gary Public Transit Corporation.