The Decay Devils have been working to save Gary’s historic Union Station, and have been recognized by the state of Indiana for their efforts.
The collective of artists, photographers, urban explorers and preservationists won the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Indiana Historic Preservation Award for “its outstanding grassroots efforts to preserve the historic resources of Gary.”
The group that's photographed and sought to protect some of Gary's most historic architecture, as well as hosted cultural programming like the Gary Love Fest, was founded in 2011 and became a nonprofit in 2015. In recent years, the Decay Devils have sought to preserve the Union Station train depot, a 1910 Beaux Arts building between the Gary Works steel mill and the Gary City Hall that has sat vacant for a half-century.
“To transform the area, Decay Devils worked with local artists to create murals in open window spaces and hosted clean up/work days to help create a safe park-like area around the building,” the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said in a news release. “Decay Devils has also hosted downtown walking/biking tours, art exhibits, and successfully nominated the Union Station to the National Register in 2019.”
The Decay Devils, who have lately have been installing signs with passages from "The Gary Anthology" book around the Steel City, recently launched a capital campaign in the hopes of reviving Union Station into a multipurpose community center that potentially could include a coffee shop, gallery and private events space. They hope to raise enough to shore up the building structurally, repair the roof, and make it possible to occupy again.
They hope to rehabilitate 4,000 square feet of space in the interior of the train station generations of Gary residents once used to travel, which includes a second floor by an enclosed train platform. They envision a downtown gathering space where people could enjoy food, coffee, craft beer, spirits and art.
They are looking to raise $2 million through grants and donations to create a self-sustaining economically viable space that will preserve the architectural gem for years to come.
“We are just happy to be recognized by the state for all of the hard work that has gone into the Union Station,” President Tyrell Anderson said. “None of this would have been possible without the hundreds of volunteer hours, donations, and grants from our supporters.”
For more information, visit decaydevils.org.
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