Miller Beach (Gary, Indiana)

Gary’s Miller Beach area is a different world compared to the rest of the city. Once an independent town settled in 1851, Miller was annexed by Gary in 1918. It remains culturally and economically separated from the rest of Gary.

Downtown

Miller’s small downtown along Lake Street contains small boutiques including the Lake Street Gallery. There’s also the Miller Bakery Café, one of the favorite restaurants in Northwest Indiana.

Downtown Miller at Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Downtown Miller

Miller Bakery Café at Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Miller Bakery Café

Lake Street Gallery at Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Lake Street Gallery

Downtown Miller at Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Downtown Miller

 

Indiana Dunes

North of downtown is a section of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. A trail through a delicate oak savanna leads to the popular Miller Beach on the south shore of Lake Michigan.

 

Marquette Park

At the north end of Grand Boulevard is Marquette Park. This historic lakefront park greets you with a statue of Father Jacques Marquette, a French explorer and missionary who camped at the site on his way back to St. Ignace (now in Michigan) after falling ill in 1675.

Fr. Jacques Marquette statue at Marquette Park, Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Fr. Jacques Marquette statue

Fr. Jacques Marquette statue at Marquette Park, Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Fr. Jacques Marquette statue

The park, with dunes and swamps that served as a shelter for runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad, now hosts a popular beach. On a clear day you can see the Chicago skyline.

The beach with the Chicago skyline in the background at Marquette Park, Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

The beach with the Chicago skyline in the background

A historic building, the Gary Bathing Beach Aquatorium, was built in 1922 and remained open as a changing facility until 1971. It was designed by Prairie School architect by George W. Maher. The building was rescued from demolition in 1991 and renovated shortly after.

Aquatorium at Marquette Park, Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Aquatorium

Aquatorium at Marquette Park, Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Aquatorium

Aquatorium at Marquette Park, Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

A column at the Aquatorium

The Aquatorium also serves as a small aviation museum. Just 600 feet west of the building, on June 22, 1896, Octave Chanute performed a series of experiments with gliders that directly influenced the Wright Brothers in their flight at Kitty Hawk. Chanute also coined the word “aviation”. A statue of Chanute and replica glider stand on the west side of the building.

Octave Chanute statue at Marquette Park, Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Octave Chanute statue

Replica Chanute glider at Marquette Park, Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Replica Chanute glider

On the east side of the building is a monument to the Tuskegee Airmen along with a replica of a WWII fighter plane. A plaque commemorates their contribution to aviation and civil rights.

Tuskegee Airmen statue at Marquette Park, Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Tuskegee Airmen statue

Replica Tuskegee Airmen plane at Marquette Park, Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Replica Tuskegee Airmen plane

Marquette Park Pavilion, opened in 1924, was also designed by Maher. With a small pond and bridges nearby, it’s a popular wedding and event venue.

Marquette Park Pavilion at Marquette Park, Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Marquette Park Pavilion

Marquette Park Pavilion at Marquette Park, Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Marquette Park Pavilion

Marquette Park, Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana

Marquette Park

 

Getting There

If you don’t have a car, you can use the South Shore Line that runs between Chicago and South Bend and stop at Miller.

%d bloggers like this: