Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hotel for the Schmidt Brothers

Gary, Indiana was a boom town.  It literally rose from the sand dunes; transforming a barren landscape into a small city within a matter of a few years.  Many of the first buildings were developed by the steel company.  Others were developed by land developers and contractors who took advantage of the influx of people and businesses.
In 1906 the Schmidt Brothers, a contracting firm from Chicago, who were building many of the early Gary structures, hired Joseph Silsbee to design a hotel.  The early hotels in Gary operated more like single room occupancy or SRO buildings than traditional overnight hotels; becoming long-term living arrangments for unmarried workers.  The Schmidt Brothers' Hotel was occupied primarily by employees of the General Electric Company.  After only a couple years, it was then used by the City of Gary and the steel company as their first hospital.  Like many of these early buildings, it is no longer standing.

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