Gary Changed

“There’s no reason for me to go downtown.”

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Transcript for Gary Changed

Miller has been… oh, I wouldn’t want to live any other place. Because of the beach and the people. They’re all open-minded people. When the blacks started moving here, I never heard – I did. I have to admit; there were some people who didn’t like that, but I was not one.

Jack Spratt’s Ice Cream Parlor was something else. You use to wait in line half way down the line half way down the block to get ice cream at Jack Spratt’s. Janice worked there one summer. It was wonderful, but she said, “Mom, the basement there is terrible!” That’s what she said. But she said, “You can’t beat the ice cream.” And where that nice restaurant is now, that was a bakery, a real nice bakery. Where Ming Ling went out, that was a drug store.

Well, the big stores closed because they went out to Merrillville. We had a beautiful Sears. I worked at Sears – my mother worked at Sears for 30 years. The biggest department store, H. Gordon and Son, was right on the corner of 8th and Broadway. Palace Theatre was here. Like, this was Gordon’s and over here there was a corner Walgreens and then the Palace Theatre. And across the street was a grand… there was a movie there.

Yeah, Gary changed. I guess it’s because – I have to be honest – it was probably because of blacks moving in. It didn’t affect me, but it affected a lot of people. It didn’t affect me. And then the mall, the stores moved out to Merrillville. So that changed. So, downtown Gary stores. And the Palace Theatre, it was a beautiful theatre; that closed. I don’t go – there’s no reason for me to go downtown. The shoe store stayed open longer because the owners were not anti-black. That’s what changed the, um, people that were anti-black closed their business and went to Merrillville. That’s all I can say about them. And they were reluctant to leave Gary. The people I knew, I knew the people that owned those stores. They didn’t want to leave Gary. They had customers here. But when most of the bigger places moved out to Merrillville, they lost their customers here in Gary. But physically I didn’t have the stores to go to. I had to go to Merrillville too. I was stuck.