The north end of Broadway was once the heartbeat of Gary, Indiana featuring everything from ritz hotels and movie palaces to any major department store you like. The bottom fell out with racial tension and crime spiking in the 1970s, and soon most of Broadway was left deserted – that is, except for the former JCPenney store, between the Gary State Bank and the old Gary Hotel, which wound up repurposed as a Walgreen’s pharmacy on the ground floor, and several professional offices on the second floor and basement. Amid Gary’s decaying downtown: Walgreens remained there until about 1997, when – to my best guess – an attached building fell victim to the Great Gary Arson of 1997.
While I had been eyeing it since my first visit to Gary in 2009, it wasn’t until 2012 that the Walgreen’s building was finally cracked-open by either scrappers or graff writers, and beyond what 15 years of neglect would do to any building of that age it was almost perfectly preserved from the day Walgreen’s bailed out, down to these “employee of the month” or whatever Polaroids that were found in the employee lounge:
The city finally brought the building down at the end of last year – the land soon to become parking and a drive-thru bank for the neighboring Gary State Bank Building, which is undergoing renovation.