“Scary Gary,” as it is sometimes referred to, is one of my favorite places in Indiana. What, you scoff, how can anyone like that place? Well, it is very simple. Its natural beauty is unrivalled in most of the midwest. Yes, that’s what I said.
You see, Gary the city encompasses several small towns within its limits too. One of these is Miller, which is home to Miller Woods and Miller Beach. I consider those two places, along with West Beach, to be the three most beautiful natural places in the Indiana Dunes National Shoreline. The dunes and swales there are unbelievable.
Since Gary is situated on Lake Michigan at its southernmost latitude. Gary enjoys the longest Great Lakes swimming season of any city on the Great Lakes chain. That same southernmost status of all of the Great Lakes also means sand, and plenty of it. So much that when the Gary Steelworks was built they were able to build it on land that was reclaimed from the lake. By pushing sand from the dunes with bulldozers out into the water, permanent land mass was created to support the Steelworks on what had been lake. A similar technique was employed in nearby East Chicago, Indiana for its Inland Steelworks, however the lake fill was not sand alone in that case.
The city of Gary also has some very nice restaurants. Sharks and JJ Fish for fried fare are represented well here. Miller Pizza Station has friendly service and wonderful cuisine. Elios tacos on US20 handles authentic Mexican cuisine.
There is one drawback to this fairy tale place though. It is sinking. Quite literally being reclaimed by marsh. Virtually every building on the East side of town has water waiting to infiltrate its basement walls. Most abandoned properties see their basements fill to the ceiling very shortly after being uninhabited.
On a final note, Gary is the birthplace of aviation. Octave Chanute was the first to make a sustained flight on a heavier-than-air structure in 1896. This flight took place from the sand dunes of Miller beach.
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