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Overview

Introduction to Gary, Indiana

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan in northwestern Indiana is the city of Gary. The largest city in Indiana's Lake County, Gary is situated only 30 miles southeast of Chicago, Illinois, and encompasses the southeastern portion of the Chicago metropolitan area. Known for its large steel mills, Gary has long been known as an industrial city and the economic hub of the Northwest Indiana region which includes the surrounding communities of Merrillville, Hammond, and Hobart. Interstate I-90 runs through Gary, which is also serviced by Interstates I-80, I-94, I-65; U.S. Routes 12 and 20; and Indiana State Highways 312 and 912.

Founded in 1906 by Elbert H. Gary, former Chairman of the United States Steel Corporation, the city originated as the chosen site for the location of what was intended to be the world's largest steel plant. The three year project resulted in the birth of a huge industry and the creation of the city which would be named in honor of the area's great visionary and would instantly become the residence of thousands of steel workers and their families. Throughout the ensuing years, Gary's fortunes have mirrored the ups and downs of its primary industry. Plant layoffs in the 1960s led to a decline in the city's economic and cultural profile, mimicking the fortunes of similar urban centers in the nation. The city today continues to be a major steel producer but still faces economic challenges, which have been somewhat mitigated by the introduction of two casinos which opened along the Gary lakeshore in the 1990s. In 2006, the city celebrated its Centennial. Many notable people call Gary their original home, including well-known entertainers such as Michael Jackson and the Jackson family.

Art, Culture, and Entertainment in Gary

Gary boasts several arts and cultural centers. The West Side Theatre Guild, which originated in 1996, brings a mixture of traditional and contemporary productions to the area. Gary's Genesis Convention Center is an imposing example of modern architecture featuring a large glass wall across its front facade. Historical buildings in Gary include the Gary Bathing Beach Aquatorium. Built in 1921 as an elaborate bathhouse, the facility is one of the world's earliest examples of modular block construction.

Indoor recreation in Gary can be found at Buffington Harbor on the city's lakefront, where casinos are housed on two gaming boats: the Majestic Star I and Majestic Star II. The boats are docked at a spacious pavilion which includes restaurants, stores and offices. For outdoor recreation, Lake Etta Park offers 70 acres of open space which includes a stocked fishing lake, a beach for swimming, picnic shelters, walking trails, and paddle boats. The city also has dozens of other parks, including North Gleason Park, Marquette Park and Beach, and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park which offers fishing, swimming, hiking, picnicking and horseback riding along Lake Michigan's sandy beaches.

The Gary sports scene revolves around two local teams: the Gary SouthShore RailCats and the Gary Steelheads. The RailCats are an independent minor league baseball team playing in the Northern League. The Steelheads are a professional basketball team playing in the United States Basketball League (USBL). The RailCats play their home games at Gary's Steel Yard Stadium, while the Steelheads play in the city's Genesis Convention Center. Thirty minutes away is the city of Chicago, home to several major league sports franchises, including the following:

  • National Basketball Association's Chicago Bulls
  • Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox
  • National Football League's Chicago Bears
  • National Hockey League's Chicago Blackhawks
  • Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire
  • Arena Football League's Chicago Rush
  • American Basketball Association's Chicago Rockstars
  • Major League Lacrosse's Chicago Machine
  • Women's National Basketball Association's Chicago Sky

People

Total Population 78,483
Male Share of the Population 45%
Female Share of the Population 55%
Senior Citizens 15.7%
Employed Population 16+ 24,743
Age of the Population 38

Families

% of people married 27.9%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 13%
Median Earnings25+ $24,416
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $15,807
Median Earnings With High School Degree $21,191

Wealth

Median Family Income $32,887
% Above Poverty Level 62.9%
% Below Poverty Level 37.1%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 25 minutes
% Working from Home 1.9%
% Walking and Biking to Work 2.6%
% Using Public Transportation 3.6%

Housing

People Living Alone 34.9%
Median Gross Rent $728
Median House Value $67,000

Ancestry

Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 81.8%
US/American 0%
English 1.4%
Irish 2.1%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Gary Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 24 miles SE of Chicago, Illinois
County Lake
Standard Zip Codes 46402, 46403, 46404, 46405, 46406, 46407, 46408, 46409, 46410
P.O. Box Zip Codes 46401, 46411
Phone Area Codes 219
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 41.593
Longitude -87.346

Gary Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

Notes:

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station HOBART 2 WNW
Distance 4.4 miles
Jan Temp 14 to 30 F
Apr Temp 38 to 58 F
Jul Temp 63 to 84 F
Oct Temp 42 to 64 F
Annual Precip 38 inches
Station OGDEN DUNES
Distance 8.6 miles
Jan Temp 16 to 32 F
Apr Temp 38 to 60 F
Jul Temp 63 to 84 F
Oct Temp 44 to 65 F
Annual Precip 36.3 inches
Station INDIANA DUNES NAT LKSHR
Distance 13.9 miles
Jan Temp 15 to 30 F
Apr Temp 39 to 57 F
Jul Temp 64 to 82 F
Oct Temp 44 to 62 F
Annual Precip 37.8 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Gary, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Brunswick (46406)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
East Chicago 29,178 $29,384
Griffith 16,643 $68,240
Hobart 28,943 $71,357
Lake Station 12,268 $42,236
New Chicago 2,081 $49,074

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Gary Public Libraries

Library
Gary Pl
220 W 5TH AVE
Gary, Indiana
(219) 886-2484
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Gary Hospitals

METHODIST HOSPITAL, INC,THE
(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
600 GRANT ST
(219) 886-4000
Emergency Service: No

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Gary High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

WEST SIDE HIGH SCHOOL
9TH/GERRY STS
219-977-2100
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 1,210 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18.8

LEW WALLACE HIGH SCHOOL
415 W 45TH AVE
219-980-6305
A Title I School.
Serves 896 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.9

THEODORE ROOSEVELT HIGH SCH
730 W 25TH AVE
219-881-1500
A Title I School.
Serves 856 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 19.7

WILLIAM A WIRT SR HIGH SCH
210 N GRAND BLVD
219-938-1161
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 705 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.2

CALUMET HIGH SCHOOL
3900 CALHOUN ST
219-838-6990
Serves 637 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 20.4

HORACE MANN SCHOOL
524 GARFIELD ST
219-886-1445
A Title I School.
Serves 541 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.4

EMERSON VPA
716 E 7TH AVE
219-886-6555
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 514 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18

THE ENSWEILER ACADEMY
6111 W RIDGE RD
219-838-1819
A Non-traditional School
Serves 81 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 13.5

LINCOLN ACHIEVEMENT CENTER
1988 POLK ST
219-886-6572
A Special Education School
Serves 34 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 3.5

MARTIN LUTHER KING SCHOOL ALT
711 CHASE ST
219-977-2126
A Non-traditional School

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