Forty years of abandonment have made the ruins of Gary’s City United Methodist one of the most popular destinations for explorers in the region. Forty years is a long time for a building, when you consider the fates of some local schools that closed in like, 2012. Frankly, it’s kind of amazing how much is left to see. There are still pieces of furniture and doors on their hinges, after forty years of vandalism and exposure.
It was was built with abundant U.S. Steel money in 1925 and plagued by financial difficulty throughout its lifespan due to the cost of maintenance. The church was too large for the city’s population, and didn’t do itself any favors by initially not welcoming people of color. The enormity and decadence of the elaborate structure proved to be the church’s undoing as the population of Gary began to drop in the late ’60s, early ’70s, and no other congregations would ever be willing to take on the massive responsibility. [ x ]
Its unique slow decay makes it popular for both explorers and filmmakers. A handful of movies have been filmed here, including Nightmare on Elm Street and Transformers 3 [ x ] . With the roof collapsing over the sanctuary and the gymnasium, not much can be done anymore to save the structure. Plans were made to clean it out and leave its shell over a public park, but never came to fruition. It seems very likely City United Methodist will still be there in eleven years to celebrate its centennial.