Anyone who has been to Gary, IN has visited City Methodist, this grey-stone church is the poster child for urban decay that is rampant in Gary. Gary, a steel town that had its heart cut out of it in the steel crash of the 1970s remains an explorer and photographer’s dream.
The Cornerstone of City Methodist was laid in 1925 by Rev. William Seaman. The nearly one million dollar price tag was fronted by US Steel. Constructed in the English Gothic Style the church stands nearly 9 stories tall, with a mixed used building (4 stories) attached which houses an upper floor basketball court, classrooms, parlors, and commercial and office space on the ground floor. By the 1950s the membership roll topped out at 3,000. But by the next decade the steel crash saw a mass exodus of the blue collar population of Gary leave town in search for work. By the time the church’s doors closed in 1975 Sunday mornings were attended by 100 or less. In 1997 a wave of arson through the city caused most of the damage we see today to the church. There have been many efforts to save this old structure, the most recent is to turn it into a European style ruins garden, saving the sanctuary, while demolishing the rest of the structure. The will is there, however the city doesn’t have the money.
By the time I got here on Sunday morning the place was already crawling with other photographers doing some professional shoots. Just had to wait and work around them.
1-6: Nikon D300 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G
7-12: Nikon D300 – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4
13-19: Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Adox CHS 100 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C