‘City Church’ State Historical Marker to be dedicated

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Methodist Cathedral

A public dedication ceremony for an Indiana state historical marker commemorating City Church, an ornate, Methodist cathedral in Gary from 1926-1975, is scheduled for Thursday, June 20, 2019. Attendees are encouraged to gather at 504 Broadway at 12:00 p.m. CST. Guests will then walk together to the marker near the site of the abandoned church at 577 Washington St. in Gary for the unveiling at 12:30 p.m. CST.

What follows is the inscription on the state marker which is titled, “City Church.”

“In the early 1900s, immigrants, white migrants, and Black southerners came to Gary for work in the steel industry. Rev. William G. Seaman founded City Church downtown in 1926 to serve as a Christianizing influence on the diverse population. The ornate Methodist cathedral, funded in part by U.S. Steel, housed a gym, theater, music studio, cafeteria, and commercial unit. Open seven days a week, the church served as a meeting space for many events in the city. Although the congregation remained segregated, the church offered programs for African Americans and immigrants. Membership peaked in the 1950s, but fell in the 1960s when white residents fled Gary for the suburbs. The church struggled to adapt to the community and closed in 1975.”

The public is invited to attend the dedication for this marker that examines City Church’s history within Gary and the communities it served. The church followed the rise and decline of the city throughout the twentieth century. This is the eleventh state historical marker to be installed in Lake County. For a listing of other markers in the county, see: https://www.in.gov/history/markers/3819.htm#lake.

State historical markers commemorate significant individuals, organizations, places, and events in Indiana history. These markers help communities throughout the state promote, preserve, and present their history for the education and enjoyment of residents and tourists of all ages. For over 100 years, the Indiana Historical Bureau has been marking Indiana history. Since 1946, the marker format has been the large roadside marker, which has the familiar dark blue background with gold lettering and the outline of the state of Indiana at the top. Over 650 of these markers have been installed over the years.

For more information about the Indiana Historical Marker Program and other resources about Indiana, visit the Indiana Historical Bureau’s website at http://www.IN. gov/history or call (317) 232-2535. To learn more about City Church’s history, see “City Church: Spirituality and Segregation in Gary” via the Indiana History Blog. For more information about the marker dedication ceremony commemorating City Church, contact marker applicant Curtis Whittaker at CWhittaker@cawhittakercpa.com.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I thing this is long overdue. This church has been a focal point in Gary for sometime. You google photographs of Gary, and you will see people have traveled from all over the nation to see the ruins of The City Church. I, myself, went to do some Urban Exploring at this site and bumped in to young women on their way home to Indianapolis from Chicago coming to see the church. Its an artist’s dream. There was some talk of making it into a garden ruins like they do abandoned buildings in other countries. I think that would actually be beneficial and low maintenance. It is a shame to have it just sitting there. I think the state marker is a step in the right direction!

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