Another icon of Gary is the majestic Palace Theater, opened in 1925. One of the finer examples of Atmospheric theater design, it was the crown jewel of a northwest Indiana theater conglomerate. The theater would be the longest-running in Gary, and served residents for nearly 50 years before succumbing to crime and financial difficulties.
It has been abandoned for nearly 40 years, and today the Palace is one of five remaining Atmospheric theaters in Indiana. But without financial support, how much longer will it cast a shadow on Broadway?
Perhaps one of the most iconic abandoned structures in Gary, City United Methodist Church was once the pride of the community. Built in 1925, the classic Gothic edifice was the result of an ambitious priest backed by U.S. Steel dollars. But the huge structure would burden the church with enormous maintenance costs for decades, and when Gary’s population declined in the 1960s and 70s the church struggled to make ends meet.
When the parishioners left town, so too did the dollars. Now one of the most photographed churches in Indiana, City United Methodist sits exposed and crumbling since it was abandoned nearly forty years ago.
There is no shortage of abandoned schools in Gary, Indiana; the declining population over the decades has left the school district scrambling to close and reorganize schools. Annually decreasing budgets complicate attempts to maintain or repair the crumbling structures.
The Emerson School was Gary’s first high school, built in 1908. It was the proud work of a confident new superintendent and would be at the forefront of racial integration decades later. When depopulation starved the school of students in the early 1980s, the district re-organized Emerson into a Visual & Performing Arts magnet school to keep it open.
The school would last another quarter-century before mother nature would close it in 2008, on its 100th birthday.
Sometimes Interesting has teamed up with the Idiot Photographer to bring the reader a unique insight to the history of Gary, Indiana. Over the coming weeks we will feature various structures and tell their history.
Today we detail the life of the 85 year-old building known at various times as The Mahencha, Mahencia, and Hatcher Apartments. Despite being a favorite of photographers and urban explorers in Gary, there is little compiled anywhere about Mahencha; we wanted to fix that.
It is one of the most recognizable structures in town and like most abandoned buildings, it reminds of Gary’s better days. Can the beautiful architecture be preserved before demolition?
Genevieve “Gennie” Pilarski quietly passed away in her nursing home room one September day in 1998 at the age of 79. Few noticed or cared as she had been a prisoner of Illinois state mental institutions for over 50 years.
Gennie’s parents had her committed to Manteno State Hospital in 1944 when she was only 25. But after being committed to Manteno, Gennie would never be the same. The state would take her freedom, and the doctors would take her sanity. Read more…
On the Maryland side of the Potomac River just west of Chesapeake Bay, the largest shipwreck fleet in the Western Hemisphere sits half-sunk and decomposing. In the early 20th century, hundreds of U.S. vessels were scuttled to Mallows Bay to be destroyed and scrapped – and to this day the remains of dozens of them can still be seen in the shallow water.
How did the ships end up here and why were they abandoned?