School of Fail

After our legendary Gary winning streak, the only thing left we were looking for was a school. We tried a few on the east side on the first day, but not with very much luck. It seemed like the boarding crew were there not too long ago, and the only people in since were climbers who made entrances that would probably last a while, but also excluded less athletic explorers. We did some research into why the schools might be so tough, and found that the district and state still somewhat maintain them, even though almost half the schools in…

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God Is Not Dead, Nor Doth He Sleep

...but then, what exactly was this place? God's Rest Home, I must say, seemed like an absolutely dismal place to live out one's last years, in a rotting brick building in the midst of a decaying city battered by the bleak Midwestern climate. After that place, our fifteenth successful explore of the day, we finally lost our daylight and got up to a roof for a few last shots of the city ...and eventually returned to our parking space from which we could wander around to all of this, right next to the church where it all began I decided…

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Where The Stores Are All Closed

[continued from part 5] Just like everywhere else in Gary, all it took was a quick look around the block to find yet more places to explore. Above and next to the theater there were more storefront-type places that weren't all that interesting on their own, but did still have a few products left, and this idyllic mural -- could this have been Gary in its early days? There isn't much of a village left here, but who knows, maybe Gary will rise again someday... I didn't have to go far to find still more abandonment, this time an entire…

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It’s A Cold And It’s A Broken Hallelujah

After lunch and a few more failed attempts at hospitals and schools, our wanderings brought us to another unassuming church, the "Miracle Faith Word Center". Judging just from the name, it seemed to be of the charismatic, if not Pentecostal, type: the kind of church that began with one minister and his flock and with the right combination of generous donations, fire, brimstone and praise the Lord Hallelujah AMEN! could have joined the ranks of televised megachurches. This one, though, followed the opposite trajectory, disappearing altogether and leaving its building behind not for a sparkling new tabernacle, but for first…

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Politics and Religion

...seem to be the biggest business left in this town, other than the rotting, but still partially operational, US steel mill fouling up the lakeshore. That being said, it hasn't exactly been the best territory for the Republicans, who seem to have closed up shop and left sometime in the 90s, leaving behind an incongruously cluttered headquarters between the post office and the state office building. Half campaign office and half hoarder den, the place avoided having its windows smashed in long enough to develop an oppressive odor of mildew wafting off the soaking, rotting contents. The main candidate, eternally…

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The Aristocrats

The environment for exploring here is truly unlike anything I've ever seen... we saw this building from the roof of the Methodist Church and thought it looked interesting, so we walked down 6th street toward it. A local saw us and our cameras and, instead of being suspicious or avaricious, asked us if we were going to see "the Aristocrats". I said, maybe -- we didn't know where they were -- and he told us that it was the abandoned hotel we saw, and that it was once the residence of U.S. Steel executives when they spent time in Gary,…

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