U.S. Steel Gary Works Photograph Collection, 1906-1971

Lesson 1: Images of Gary: An Ideal Place to Live?

Fourth grade : Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4

Lesson plan developed by Mardy Flanagan.

The typical study of Indiana history in a fourth grade classroom touches only briefly upon a pivotal industry and the site along the Calumet River chosen for its development. In 1906, twenty-five miles southeast of Chicago, and seven miles across the Indiana State line, an idealistic city of the United States Steel Corporation was born. Gary lies at the center of the country's transportation systems and offers access to the required material elements needed to produce steel, making it an ideal choice for expansion. Initially, this largely philanthropic venture sought to avoid the vices of previously built mills in Pullman, South Chicago, and Whiting and to appear as economical and attractive as possible. We discover as time passes however, that Gary takes on its own identity, a vastly different one from the visionaries' expectations.

The US Steel Photograph Collection captures the essence of Gary between 1906 and 1941. The collection consists of over 2,000 black and white photographs depicting historical scenes of the city and its population. Students will examine them for contextual information and imagery adhering to a list of criteria they help develop.

Standards alignment

Guiding questions

Learning Objectives

After completing this lesson, students will be able to:


Lesson plan

In this lesson, students will analyze the representation of Gary, Indiana portrayed in archival US Steel photographs.