City United Methodist Church of Gary, Indiana

{ April 2017 }

Article #1 on the history of City United Methodist Church ( Click Here )

Article #2 (2014) , Building Status and Decisions on Demolition

Article #3 Archive of original 1926 photos B&W

This abandon church was an experience I wasn’t expecting.  The city clearly is ok with tourists and photographers entering the building as The gates are open to enter. The interior is littered with garbage and graffiti tagged walls as squatters have taken over and use the space as a hangout and maybe even a temp place to sleep or hide. Tarps hang from the ceilings to catch the portions  of ceiling beams that are literally dangling from the holes in the once stable roof. Talk about waiting for a pin to drop. It was a strategy or move fast or risk the potential of the slightest breeze to trigger an avalanche of crumbling wall to rain down. The first trip in was to check it out and make I wanted to drag my thousands of dollars in equipment into the space. Spending a little bit of time exploring gave me the courage to eventually bring in my gear. Before shooting I spent a minute kind of imagining what those walls had seen over the course of the past 91 years ( built in 1926, and after initial abandonment suffered a fire in 1997). On a perfect spring day of 80 degree weather with blue skies. There were overgrown plants that were growing up the side of this not forgotten but abandon church. I can’t quite put into words all the feelings I had while standing in the middle of it. Single beams of light came through the giant busted out holes in the very elaborate stained glass windows. Pigeons scattered through the absent rooftop and I could hear kids playing at the school just feet away. The life of plants growing through the cracks of a place that has lost all of its own life is an interesting contrast. When you are on the outside of the church it is literally a church in ruins fenced off  with other buildings completely occupied with people, schools and businesses all around it. The city life continues to operate just feet away . Its kind of mind blowing. Its like seeing someone’s yard well maintained and kept up except for a shed that been rusting and falling apart for eternity, such an odd and rare thing to see. You would instantly wonder why anyone would keep up their yard and mow around it for 91 yrs without touching it.

Those walls have seen so much diversity in the guests that have walked through its doors and now broken openings of all kinds.  From citizens worshiping its walls to trespassers destroying the worth of the walls with their graffiti tags. This church has experienced the extreme opposites of what it was built for and what it is now used for. I think one thing that has never left this church is the presence of a higher power. Its intended purpose was to attract society to gather for God and I think that its most likely still witnessing people entering its doors today for the same reason just in a very different landscape. It still provides a very quiet and serene place for one to be alone with their thoughts and connect on a spiritual level. It also has by no means lost its beauty even if it is in a completely different light.


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