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First Presbyterian Church, Gary, IN

August 7, 2016

Anyone who has driven through Gary, Indiana understands the special issues of “Rust Belt” cities — and one of the reasons for Donald Trump’s popularity in the current political season. Buildings like First Presbyterian, built during happier economic times, are often derelict or destroyed. First Methodist in Gary is a well-known example.

Postcard views like these can sometimes reveal more than a simple building. These two might seem to be different buildings The “tower-less” card was the first phase of construction; the social hall/Sunday School used as temporary sanctuary. The other card shows the ultimate development, with the earlier Sunday School at the far right partially hidden by those two short trees.

GaryIndiana-PresbyterianChurch03-BW-1909-SS INgaryPres

A brief on-line history says the 1910-ish building was dedicated in 1913. It says nothing, however, about phased construction. A 1947 fire necessitated rebuilding the sanctuary but the building has been given a new lease on life and seems to be a preservation success story.

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