Gary, Indiana was once of the centre of American steel production, where movie theatres, department stores, and restaurants were part of the fabric of a bustling industrial city.
Now Gary is a ghost town.
Conditions have deteriorated to a point that city officials are thinking about cutting off services to about 40% of the city’s land and condensing residents into a smaller area.
Even Broadway Avenue in downtown Gary — formerly a commercial hub for the town — has become a strip of vacant buildings and empty sidewalks. The city is plagued by high unemployment, crime, and a shrinking population.
Gary was founded in 1906 for the workers of the United States Steel Corporation. The population peaked at around 180,000 in 1960. Eventually overseas competition led to massive layoffs. White flight to the suburbs further depressed the city.
Today there are about 80,000 people living in Gary. The city lost around 25% of inhabitants in the last decade alone.
Photographer Sylvain Margaine documented the decay of Gary in 2006. The pictures are featured on his site Forbidden Places. The photographs depict the struggles of a city on the edge of collapse.
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