City StoriesIndiana

Gary, Indiana

The Gary Indiana Ghetto Story

The streets of the Gary Indiana ghetto changed during the crack era of the 1980s and 1990s, but the city of Gary has been rough long before the introduction of drugs.

Once a segregated city, with black people only being allowed to live in the Midtown section, Gary Indiana became famous as the US Steel factory employed thousands of people.

This helped the city of Gary to grow, but when the factories closed the opposite happened as the population and the city began to decline.

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Streets of Gangsta Island

The streets of the Gary Indiana ghetto were some of the roughest in the country, especially during the 1990s when the city was labeled the Murder Capital.

gary indiana ghetto gary indiana crime

Being part of the Chicagoland area, the city did have some gang influenced as far as Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples, and others.

Most importantly, most parts of Gary were more neighborhood influenced than being impacted by Chicago gang affiliations.

gary indiana ghetto

Dorie Miller

Many people heard about CCA out of Concord area, the Bronx off Clark Road, the notorious Ivanhoe Projects, 5th Avenue, or 21st Street from the East to West side with communities like Tarrytown, Dorie Miller and Marshalltown.

Communities of Gary Indiana

A small city about thirty minutes from Chicago is divided into three sides of the Gary Indiana ghetto, West, East, and South.

The South Side is mostly made up of the Glen Park neighborhood, based around Broadway from 35th to 49th Avenue.

gary indiana ghetto

Ironwood

Gary’s West Side stretches from the Tolleston neighborhood to pass Burr Street.

The East Side, which is east of Broadway, is the smaller with neighborhoods like the Valley, Aetna and others off of 21st.

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Gary Indiana History

The city’s population began to increase during the early part of the 1900s, together with the building of businesses and communities.

World War I gave job opportunities to many southern African-Americans who moved to Gary Indiana.

Not only were black families newcomers to the city of Gary Indiana, but so were European immigrants.

With the new residents, many felt anger that would later lead to the growing movement of the Klu Klux Klan, which helped with the mistreatment of many of the black citizens.

Gary Indiana was once one of the most wealthiest and popular towns in the country.

With the downtown area thriving, while having a number of businesses and entertainment along Broadway, Gary was the heart of northern Indiana.

Like other cities, Gary Indiana was very segregated for many African-Americans as many would constantly have confrontations simply because of their race.

gary indiana ghetto gary indiana history

Midtown

In the beginning, African-Americans lived in a small section of Gary’s Midtown area.

Starting in the 1950s and 1960s, the city began to integrate the two racial groups of Gary with one another.

Around this time blacks still felt racial tension when attempting to move into certain neighborhoods as they made about 1/3 of the workers in the US Steel factory.

Not until the city received its first black mayor, did change begin to happen.

Decline of Gary Indiana Ghetto

Unfortunately, by the time blacks began to take control of the city many white families and businesses left for other towns in Lake County, starting during the 1960s.

gary indiana ghetto

The exit out of Gary was during the time that thousands of jobs were being lost in the local steel factories, which helped transformed the city into the Gary Indiana ghetto.

These factors were the main reasons for the city of Gary to become what it is today, a place that lacks the proper resources that most cities need to function.

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Check out more on Gary and other Indiana communities.

Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research.  Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.

Gary Indiana History Sources:

*Lane, James. “City of the Century: A History of Gary, Indiana”. Indiana University Press. 1978

^ Davich, Jerry. “Lost Gary, Indiana”. History Press. 2015