The public is invited to check out Gary's most notable architecture and take a tour of some of its most historic neighborhoods this weekend.
The Gary Preservation Tour returns from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
The meet-up point is the old Gary Bank Building at 504 Broadway at 5th Avenue and Broadway downtown, where visitors can get maps, literature, stickers and T-shirts.
They can go on self-guided tours of architecturally distinguished buildings downtown such as the City Methodist Church, City Hall, Union Station, the Heat Light Water Building and the newly renovated Gary Public Library and Cultural Center, which recently unveiled a sweeping historical mural by acclaimed graffiti artist Felix "Flex" Maldonado. Volunteers are at hand at each site for the open house, and can talk about the history of each structure.
The Gary Preservation Tour offers a rare chance to peek inside the long-abandoned Old Post Office, which is strewn with graffiti and has a spectral appearance because of sunlight that streams through the collapsed roof.
Visitors also can go on bus tours of historic residential neighborhoods, including the stately Horace Mann neighborhood where the city's wealthiest citizens once resided and the Morningside neighborhood by Glen Park, a tony suburb later annexed into the city that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Robyn Robb, an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer with the Gary Redevelopment Commission, said the hope is to spark more public interest in preserving historic architecture, such as the Palace Theater.
"These buildings were state-of-the-art for their time, and still have some of the best features," Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said in a video on the Gary Preservation Tour's Facebook page.
"To have that architectural history and not preserve it would be a shame for our community, especially for the young people, who deserve to know that rich history."
The event is free and open to the public, but anyone interested in a guided tour must register online because space is limited.
To register or for more information, visit facebook.com/PreserveGary/.