M osley Motel
6200 Melton Road
Gary, In. was a city built by a corporation. The U.S. Steel Corporation found Gary in 1906. It’s bland name is taken from Elbert Henry Gary, president of the corporation. Gary, like many post-industrial cities now in decline, failed to establish any other solid industry and therefore, the steel industry dictated its fate. With a peak population of 200,000 in the 1950s, Gary is now home to a mere 80,000 residents. Architecture and infrastructure remain, unused and falling apart.
This one, which did not appear to be open, had no windows, and was surrounded in razorwire. And on a long stretch of road containing a number of closed down strip clubs, The Mosley Motel. Two stories, the hotel is circular in shape and manned by a true gentleman.
At the Mosley, “where class meets economy,” you must call a number if you arrive after 5 p.m. This extended stay motel has sister motels in Florida and Ohio. Here, we are greeted by a kind, older man. He says they have two rooms — one in the back, one in the front. He hands me a key and tells me to go up the stairs, find the room, and check and see if it’s acceptable.
I do not want to be separated from Shawn, because this is how you die. Everyone knows that. However, after a moment’s hesitation, he says, “Can you do that now, please?”
So, I wind the circular hallways alone.
The room refuses to open. After a good five minutes of trying, I return to the desk and tell Shawn to try. He has no luck. Finally, the man comes with us and tells us that occasionally, the housekeeper locks the deadbolt, which the key does not open.
Inside is a very sparse and small room that is starkly white. A small kitchenette, a bed on a frame, an old television, and no art. The floor is tile. You can plainly hear everything happening in the rooms nearby, which at the moment, is a loud cartoon and an excited child. The motel smells perpetually of savory foods.
This cheap joint is probably the safest place in Gary you could be, no matter what anyone tells you. Which is a lot. People will tell you a lot. You go to Flint, Saginaw, Gary, East St. Louis, New Orleans, someone on the Internet will say, “OMGBECARFULURGONDIE.” And you probably won’t, unless you really want to. The Mosley is cheap, secluded, and apparently has a weekly church service.
There wasn’t a lot open in Gary at night, though granted this was Christmas Eve Eve, a Sunday. Polekatz was an open strip club down the street, but we end up driving to Chicago and returning for an uneventful sleep.
Christmas Eve in downtown Gary is depressing at best. Most of the storefronts are busted out, boarded up, and lifeless. Broadway was once a major corridor of commerce. Today, it’s a whole lot of this.
A preacher on a corner is advertising free hot dogs, maybe salvation, with a megaphone. The streets are mostly empty. The abandoned City Methodist Church has been vacant for 33 years, and is a popular urbex/film destination.
God, I suppose, is dead.
it turns out photographer Angela VS had decided to abandon her Christmas tree at some point before we arrived. We did not know this at the time.
In the neighborhoods of Gary, you can find the childhood home of Michael Jackson. Well-maintained and heavily fenced, there are boards on the gates where fans can write messages to the deceased King of Pop, though the nearby streets signs also contain epithets. A monument has also been erected in the front lawn.
The high crime rates sent many of the residents of Gary out to the suburbs in the ’60s. Blight has consumed a number of the neighborhoods.
Despite two casinos opening in the ’90s and the recent construction of the Gary Chicago International Airport, Gary still remains in a financial crisis. The current top headline for Gary details its first murder of 2013. There’s gotta be something there we couldn’t find on a holiday. Right? Someone email us everything there is to know about Gary.