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Category: politics

Gary Indiana – City Of The Century

Elbert H. Gary was the chairman of the board of U.S Steel is the architect of Gary Indiana, in Lake County on the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Thirty miles south of the Loop of Chicago. Gary Indiana was founded in 1906, several years before Henry Ford began production of automobiles at his Highland Park Ford Plant in Detroit. Gary was an inexpensive location for a massive new steel production center, the site of rampant land speculation it was billed as, “The Magic City”, “Steel City”, and “The City of the Century.”

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The poor planning led Gary to develop burgeoning slums fueled by waves of Southern blacks and Mexican immigrants in the 1920s and 30s, with Blacks constituting as much as 20% of the population in 1930. Unskilled immigrant steelworkers flooded the city from Southern and Eastern Europe until Federal restrictions limited their settlement; Mexican’s were the encouraged heavily to settle, and as many as ten thousand called East Chicago and Gary their home by 1920.

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The Great Depression which crippled the city with it’s over reliance on industry, as well as several steel strikes, segregation, and labor problems gave Gary a national spotlight as being a troubled mixing pot. Revived by the WWII boom in steel production the city continued to grow with a dramatically changing composition. By 1950, 30% of the population identified as Black. This was around the time my Grandfather movied to Gary from Natchitoches ParishLouisiana for an opportunity to work in the Steel Mills.

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