Decades after the last train left the station, whisking away the final passengers, Gary's historic Union Station has gotten new life.
The Gary-based Decay Devils collective of artists, preservationists and urban explorers has spruced up and splashed colorful murals on the century-old Beaux Arts railroad depot. The depot was built in 1910 and was once on the Indiana Historic Landmarks Foundation's top 10 most endangered list.
The group enlisted more than 80 volunteers to clean up the severely dilapidated train station near the gates of U.S. Steel's Gary Works steel mill in downtown Gary, boarded up the windows, and then commissioned muralists from across Northwest Indiana and greater Chicagoland to paint large murals.
Decay Devils President Tyrell Anderson said the goal was to turn the property into a parklike setting people would want to visit, so they could appreciate the public art and historic architecture. His group has secured much of the building, making it harder for the morbidly curious to enter the dangerous structure where the roof has been collapsing.
The property just off Broadway looks radically different: weeds and brush have been cleared, debris has been pitched and the original brick floor outside the station has been restored.
But a few finishing touches remain. The Decay Devils need another group of volunteers to help restore the historic train station to its full glory Sunday.
"Join us as we add the final touches to the Union Station," the group said in a Facebook post. "We will work on planting trees, creating seating, an irrigation system and more."
The cleanup takes place at 10 a.m. Sunday and lunch will be provided.
RSVP in advance at decaydevils@gmail or by calling 219-213-4893.
For more information, visit decaydevils.org.