Driving Down Broadway in Gary, Indiana, 2006

Driving Down Broadway in Gary, Indiana, 2006


Gary, Indiana, a 30 minute drive from downtown Chicago, was founded in 1906 as the home of U.S. Steel. The town's fate has closely paralleled that of the steel industry. After severe layoffs in the 1960s, Gary was left in economic turmoil, resulting in high rates of unemployment, "white flight," and crime.

Though the city has been on the upswing since the 1990s, Broadway, the main downtown strip in Gary, is a testament to decades of economic struggle, racial turmoil and devastating poverty. The majority of businesses have left Broadway; theaters and department stores are abandoned, 60s facades are decaying and vandalized. Amidst burnt out storefronts and abandoned strip malls, one is struck by the few types of businesses that still populate the urban ghost town – payday loan lenders, pawn shops, and rent-to-own stores make up a particularly high percentage of operating businesses.

The photographs in this exhibit were taken over several days in December, 2006.

Photos by David Blankenhorn

Subject: Thrift


Institute for American Values, 420 Lexington Avenue, Room 300, New York, NY 10170-0399