Some of Joseph Silsbee’s buildings are admired for their design features and physical appearance. Others are known because they played a vital role in a place’s history. This building is better known in context of the former. In 1906, The United States Steel Company began building a new plant and town along the shores of Lake Michigan. Named after steel company founder Elbert Gary, Gary, Indiana boasted a population of over 55,000 by 1920.
Most of the early structures were built by the steel company and sold through its subsidiary, the Gary Land Company. Silsbee was one of the earliest architects hired by the company to design commercial, residential, industrial, and public structures for the new city.
He designed this structure for the Gary Land Company in 1906 and had satellite offices in the building for several years. It served as a place to conveniently oversee work on his designs in the rapidly growing city of Gary. Also known as the Phillips Building, it was the Land Company's headquarters and the center of real estate activity in the city.