East Chicago is a city in Lake County, Indiana, and a suburb of Chicago. East Chicago had its start in 1893, and, with the arrival of Inland Steel in 1903, it soon became the most industrialized city in America, with some 80% of the area relegated to heavy industry. Other firms like Republic Steel, Youngstown Steel, LaSalle Steel, and U.S. Steel began operations too, pushing out some 600,000 tons of steel in 1914 and 8.6 million tons at peak capacity in 1978. Refineries and plants lined the Indiana Harbor Ship Canal that connected the Grand Calumet River to Lake Michigan.
The downside of all this was substantial pollution such as lead, resulting in the town becoming a Superfund site. Then the steel crisis of the 1970s happen, and unemployment and depopulation skyrocketed. These events transformed East Chicago into the emerging more diversified community that it is today.
Clayton Mark built a model community called Marktown here during the heyday of steel operations, and it is somewhat of an urban exploration attraction in its dilapidated state.
- 1 East Chicago railway station, 5615 Indianapolis Blvd.
- 1 Marktown Park, 412 Grove St. Here you can see the remnants of Clayton Mark's planned worker community from 1917 to house workers of the Mark Manufacturing Company, in its shabby state since it was abandoned when things went south in the city, so much different from the pristine state when the architect Howard Van Doren Shaw designed it. It has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Due care and vigilance are recommended if visiting due to the depressed nature and heightened crime of the area.
- 1 Jeorse Park Beach, 3301 Aldis Ave, ☏ . Daily 10AM-9PM. This is great if you like urban beaches next to steel mills. Actually, it's not so bad, as Lake Michigan's allure manages to compensate for some of the grit. You can also step out here from the casino if you've just lost your paycheck at the tables and need to recoop.
- 1 Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago, 777 Ameristar Blvd, ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Variety of amenities including deep soaking tubs and glass enclosed showers. Choice of a single king-sized or a pair of queen-sized beds. Hotel directly connected with 56,000-square-foot riverboat casino - which has four playing levels, 1,800 slots and video poker games and 50 table games - and a pavilion with a sports book. A 24-hour fitness center is also available.
|Routes through East Chicago|
|Chicago ← Hammond ←||W E||→ Gary → Michigan City|
|Chicago ← Hammond ←||W E||→ Hammond → Gary|
|Chicago ← Hammond ←||NW SE||→ Gary → South Bend|