Marktown, East Chicago, IN
Date: April 13, 2008 03:43AM
I know this is "Forgotten Chicago" but I figured East Chicago was close enough. This seems to fit in with what everyone here is interested in so here you go...
Marktown was (is) a planned industrial community located in the city of East Chicago, Indiana approximately 22 miles from Chicago's loop. Clayton Mark, of the Mark Manufacturing Company was a member of the Chicago Commercial Club which commissioned a study to discover why there was such a high turnover of industrial employees. What the study found was that there was a lack of quality, affordable housing for workers and their families. With this in mind Mark commissioned Howard Van Doren Shaw, a prominent Chicago architect to design a town that would meet the needs of his workers. The result was Marktown which was built in 1917.
It should be noted that only four sections of the thirty sections that were orginally planned were actually built. Something called WWI got in the way which caused financial troubles for the Mark Company and alas Marktown is only a fraction of what it could of been.
For more information on Marktown please see this website which has quite an exstensive amount of information.
Also, there is a photography exhbit at the Water Tower on Michigan Avenue featuring the people and places on Marktown.
Marktown was once featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not...
Surrounding Context, Marktown is entirely surrounded by industry, steel mills, tanks farms, etcetera
The above building was mixed-use, its been vacant since the 1970s, the original plan called for more buildings like this but this was the only one that was built. In addition there was to be a movie theatre as well as a few other civic ammenities.
View looking toward a steel mill. The steel company wanted to tear down Marktown in the 1950s but faced citizen opposition. A park was installed along the border as a buffer.
Some post-war bungalows (although in Buffalo we'd call these Cape Cods). There are a few other instances of in-fill within Marktown.
Pavillion in park. Marktown has a large amount of park space.
Historic District marker on the other side of town.
Typical Marktown housing.
Community Center, this was orginally the elementary school.
Yes, people really do park on the sidewalks. Luckily the speed limit is 10 MPH so walking in the street is no problem.
George Michels, the only bar in town.
The former Mill Gate Inn, no closed. Despite the fact that the region is a poster child for urban decay many of the steel mills are still operational and production is at all time highs. Unfortunately they just need alot less people. I'd like to say the one across the street from this bar employs 1400 down from 14,000, but don't quote me on that. Whatever the exact numbers its quite dramatic and begins to explain why the area looks the way it does.
Not much traffic here...
Marktown has a 25% vacancy rate. Rents here are $350-550/month for about 1000 SF of space. Purchase prices are I believe around 30-40K, although I heard alot of different numbers when I was there.
More to come...