Fans of Michael Jackson are spending this weekend celebrating his birthday near his childhood home in Gary, Ind. Happy birthday, Michael Jackson!
The City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana stands nine stories tall and has an interesting history. It was built in 1926 for a cost of about $1 million dollars. It was a place for the whole community, and included classrooms, a gymnasium, a rooftop garden, a banquet hall and a kitchen. It thrived until the 1960’s when the church lost the majority of its congregation to changes of population in the Northwest Indiana region. The church relocated and closed completely on January 3rd, 1975.
In its current state, it has become a sort of sanctuary for artists. I’ve been there twice to photograph the architecture and deterioration of a once elaborate place of worship. My visits were only months apart but I could still see the changes. I noticed pieces of ceiling that had finally given in and fallen to the floor as well as places in the floor that were no longer safe to walk on.
The silence is heavy. It’s normally broken by the pigeons that call the chapel home or debris hitting the ground, but it hangs on you
like a coat. The street behind the forgotten building is populated and bustling, but the children playing or cars going by seem very distant, even foreign. It’s not an uncomfortable silence; I find it calming and it never fails to clear my head. I really enjoy exploring and shooting and I’ve found the City Methodist Church to be the perfect place for it.
I’ve become strangely attached to the building. I often think about how much I’d like to purchase it and preserve it. I’d like to protect it, stabilize it just enough to be safe without ruining the specific abandoned feeling only time and nature can create. It’s become very close to my heart and I hope it’s never torn down or destroyed while I’m here in the Region. I can only hope for the best and rely on my photographs to take me back.