The Decay Devils collective of artists, urban explorers and preservationists spent months clearing brush, laying down brick and pulling car bumpers out of piles of detritus outside the grounds of Gary's historic Union Station.
They've cleaned up the property around the long-abandoned train station outside the gates to the Gary Works steel mill in downtown Gary, boarded up the building and covered it with murals, transforming a symbol of urban decay into a park-like setting.
Now they plan to celebrate from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.
"Decay Devils, INC cordially invites you to Union Station Rebirth," the group said in a Facebook post. "Join us for an afternoon filled with art, music, food, and activities for the entire family. Come join us and bring your friends – everyone is welcome!"
The Decay Devils said they want to recognize the scores of volunteers who helped spruce the century-old Beaux Arts railroad depot, which became severely dilapidated and a playground for urban explorers and photographers after it was abandoned in the 1970s.
The group brought in the graffiti artists Wayne Abell, Armando "Rise" Arceo, Jeffrey Brink, Micahl Cain, ZeroChicago, Quincey Mitchell, Omen74, Eric Roldan, and Jill Schulthorpe to paint colorful murals on the building, which is now largely blocked off except for a viewing station where visitors can safely see the grand, rotting interior without having to worry about getting struck by debris from the collapsing roof.
Decay Devils President Tyrell Anderson has said the commissioned art pieces were all chosen to reflect the theme of growth, which is what the group hopes to inspire in the city. Their goal was to make Union Station a more inviting place so people can come and appreciate the historic architecture.
Efforts have been mounting across Gary to drum up more appreciation of the city's historic architecture, where notable architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and George Maher designed buildings near the beginning of the 20th century.