Gary Preservation Tour

Tour our past. Invest in our future.

Gary, IN Education Community Placemaking Other


This campaign was reached its goal on {{createDate('Thu, 16 Mar 2017 03:45:00 +0000') | date:'MMM d, y h:mm a'}}.

Tax Deductible

City of Gary is a tax-exempt government organization, Tax ID 0003120708.

Stretch Goal

All contributions beyond our $7,500 threshold will be invested in more board-ups and a fund for art installations downtown!

"The best thing you can do for Gary is to go home and say four nice things about it." -- Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson

Discover the "Miracle City"

Calling all history buffs, architecture geeks, and urban explorers! This summer we want to invite you on a tour of the downtown of one of America’s most enigmatic cities: Gary, Indiana. 

In order to pull off this brand new event, we need your help to raise $7,500, which IHCDA will match dollar-for-dollar. These funds will allow us to brand and beautify Broadway, clear out and secure abandoned sites, lead tours and host public discussions that showcase our downtown through a historical lens

What is the Gary Preservation Tour?

We plan to host FREE tours of eight historic sites, on three separate days, over the summer of 2017. The tours will take two forms:

  • Walking Tour (2 dates): guides will take 10 to 15 participants on a two-hour walking tour to every site, providing a history of Gary through its built environment. Participants will sign up on a first-come basis, unless you donate $100 or more to this campaign, which will automatically secure two tour spots.
  • Open House (1 date): this will be an all-day event where everyone is invited. Participants can come to Gary and visit sites at their leisure. Volunteers and wayfinding signage will be in place to guide the experience.

Our tour, like our city, will be unique: not only will we open the doors to active-use historic buildings, but also, for the first time, to Union Station and a New Deal-era Post Office. 

To increase the impact of these tours, we are programming the dates to coincide with other events happening downtown. We encourage you to come to the tour and stay for a RailCats baseball game, an arts festival in Gateway Park, or a dining experience at ArtHouse.

Help us salvage our historic downtown

We have been working hard to shape downtown as an attractive, walkable environment connected to the rest of the city and to the greater Chicagoland area. But blight is threatening some of our most prized buildings--places that, if redeveloped, would greatly enhance the downtown experience.

The time to act is now! If we do not save our buildings, we will lose a part of our history. With your generosity we will beautify Broadway, and invite people to explore our past as well as our present progress in adaptive reuse.

Remember, every dollar you donate will be matched by IHCDA, which we will invest in the following: 

  • lining Broadway with new vertical street banners that recognize downtown as a nationally registered historic district;
  • securing two abandoned buildings, which includes boarding up windows, removing rubble, and installing protective canopies on the ceilings--this is the most important step, as we must first preserve our damaged historic sites before we can repurpose them;
  • event day costs, including hard hats, reserve police escorts, and tour guide compensation.

Why Gary?

Gary's story is an American story. It was built from scratch, lauded as a promising experiment that attracted people from all over the world. As thousands of newcomers sought employment in the steel mills, star architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and George Washington Maher came to Gary to tinker with new designs. Gorgeous civic structures, theatres, and bank buildings were built seemingly overnight, transforming downtown from a gritty mill town into a decadent commercial district. This dynamic, fast-paced environment cultivated the best of American culture; at Memorial Auditorium in 1967, a promising group called the Jackson 5 won first place at an amateur talent show. The rest is history.

How you can contribute

  • Donate to our campaign! It can be $1 or $1,000--we appreciate donations of any amount. Your contributions are tax-deductible, and IHCDA will match you dollar-for-dollar.
  • Share this page on social media.
  • Follow us on Instagram or Facebook where we'll post timeless historic photos of downtown and keep you updated on the tours.
  • Volunteer to help with the tours.
  • Come to our tours! If you're in the Chicagoland area this summer, hop on the South Shore Line to the Gary Metro Station.

You can also donate by sending a check to the Gary Redevelopment Commission, care of the Gary Preservation Tour, at 504 Broadway, Gary, IN, 46402.

If you have any questions about the project or how to participate, don't hesitate to reach out to us. You can call at 219-886-1531 or send us an email at

We would like to thank the Calumet Regional Archives at Indiana University Northwest for permitting us to use their historic photos.

Campaign by:
Alex Koerner
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Give $25 or more

16 claimed


We will send you a personal thank you.

Give $50 or more

13 claimed


We will send you a personal thank you and put your name in our tour brochure.

Give $100 or more

47 claimed


We will send you a personal thank you, put your name in our brochure, reserve two tickets for the walking tour, and give you two tickets to a Gary South Shore Railcats baseball game.

Give $250 or more

1 claimed


We will send a personal thank you, have your name included in our brochure, reserve two tickets for the walking tour, and give you four tickets to a Railcats game.

Give $1000 or more

2 of 3 claimed

Key to the City

In addition to a personal thank you, your name in our program, two tickets to the walking tour, and four Railcats tickets, you will get to throw the first pitch at a Railcats home game.


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