Gary, the largest city in Lake County, Indiana, is inhabited by more than 102,000 residents. The city was founded in 1906 by the United States Steel Corporation as the home for its new plant. The city was named after the chairman of U.S. Steel, Elbert H. Gary.
Gary's fortunes have risen and fallen with those of the steel industry. Gary's decline in the late 20th century was brought on by the growing competitiveness in the steel industry, necessitating a large number of layoffs. US Steel continues to be a major steel producer, but with only a fraction of its former level of employment. The city has made some progress in addressing the issues generated by unemployment and a migration out of the city by many middle- and upper-class families since the 1990s.
After celebrating its 100th year in 2006, the city of Gary shows evidence of rebound from years of economic depression. Many buildings that have been left vacant for years are now in various stages of regeneration and development and many new homes have been built through the HOPE VI grant from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. Dallas-based HomeVestors of America released their "Top 10 Markets for Real Estate Investing" list on 9 December 2006, and Gary earned the number one position. This is evidence of activity from various investors. Gary is also home to Indiana University Northwest and Ivy Tech Community College Northwest.