Gary, Indiana, a city in Lake County at the southern tip of Lake Michigan. It is about 25 miles (40 km) southeast of downtown Chicago. Gary is Indiana's fourth largest city and is the hub of a major steel-producing area—the Calumet region of northwestern Indiana. The Grand Calumet and Little Calumet rivers, on which Gary has port facilities, run through the city.
Steel is produced in facilities extending along much of the city's lakeshore and far inland. In addition to cast steel, industrial plants in Gary produce structural steel, pipes and tubing, and cement.
Gary's Marquette Park features a long, sandy beach along Lake Michigan. Indiana Dunes State Park and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore are just east of the city. Indiana University has a branch in Gary.
In 1905 the United States Steel Corporation chose Gary's site, at that time an area of sand dunes and marshes, for its main plant. In 1906 the settlement of some 330 people was incorporated and named for Elbert H. Gary, chairman of the corporation's board. Federal troops occupied the city during a steel strike in 1919. In 1921 much of Gary's business section was razed and rebuilt under a redevelopment plan.
In 1967 Richard Hatcher was elected mayor, becoming one of the first blacks to be mayor of a major American city; he served for 20 years. The recession of the early 1980's and the modernization of the city's steel industry during this decade led to widespread unemployment.