Where it All Started
Sited prominently at 401 Broadway in Gateway Park, the Gary Land Company Building is a highly visible landmark to people traveling by road or rail through the city, but most don’t know its significant provenance. Built in 1906, the unassuming frame building was the first permanent structure constructed in the fledgling city of Gary.
A subsidiary of U.S. Steel, the Gary Land Company directed real estate, city planning, and engineering services that guided development of the city. From the building, company officials oversaw construction of homes, infrastructure, and sanitary facilities.
The building is most notable for functioning as the first Town Hall, where residents voted to incorporate the city of Gary and elected the city’s first local government. In later years, the building laid claim to more “firsts,” functioning as the city’s first post office and as a classroom for its first high school students.
In June the building collected one more accolade when Gary’s Common Council voted to designate the Gary Land Company Building as the city’s first locally designated landmark, a move that will protect the property in the future.
The designation marks the first recommendation by Gary’s Historic Preservation Commission, which will continue to promote landmark buildings and historic districts in a city where many structures suffer from years of neglect and decay.
Thanks to a grant from the Legacy Foundation and efforts by the Decay Devils, a local affiliate of Indiana Landmarks, the Land Company Building just received a fresh coat of paint, new lighting, and much needed landscaping. The city believes the structure, most recently used by the Gary Historical Society, has potential as a welcome center or small museum showcasing the area’s storied past.
For more information about the project, contact Brad Miller in Indiana Landmarks’ Northwest Field Office, 219-947-2657, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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