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 losing one city and state legislative race after another, was Charles Kirkland, whose cheaply Xeroxed campaign matter fills most of the basement to this day. This particular box of “Kirkland Bucks” promoted a tax cut he promised to push through if he managed to win a city council seat in 1987.

It’s the upstairs though that really defies expectations, filled with rotting clothing and musical instruments, including two and a half grand, and one upright, pianos.

Anyone have any better guesses what was going on here, besides a politician with a penchant for hoarding?

The exterior has a faded Red Cross banner, but I’m not sure if or how that fits into the late decline of the building, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was before the candidates took it over.

And as soon as we left there, we could see yet another abandoned building not so far away (of course). This one used to be the auditorium for Gary schools, and I suspect also something of a civic space, until most of it collapsed and was demolished in 2005, leaving only the lobby.

The most significant part left are the pair of grand entrance stairways that would have led into the theater, were there still a theater attached.

Instead, it just ends here, a field of bramble brush taking over for the gallery and stage.

From there, after a failed attempt at the newspaper building across the street (which might still be active), we connected the dots one block to the other side, to some clearly burned out church-like buildings.

The number of churches in this town, both active and abandoned, is startling. When people lose all hope in their lives, do they find God? Then to lose faith in Him too, leaving behind ever smaller churches as the flock begins to fly away.

This particular church is close to meeting its benefactor…

It probably won’t be long at all until the sanctuary falls in on itself.

Some of the pews and a piano have even fallen into the basement already. Seeing this was enough to make me leave!

[continued in part 5]

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