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Historic Structures of

Gary, Indiana

The Marquette Park Bathing Beach Aquatorium


The Marquette Park Bathhouse, now known as the Marquette Park Aquatorium and Aviation Museum (aviation pioneer Octave Chanute flew his glider on the dunes just west of the building.)

The bathhouse was designed by famed architect George W. Maher (1864-1926) and is the first example of modular block design in the world. George Maher also designed the Marquette Park Pavilion and a number of other key structures in Gary, including City Hall.

The publication Geo. W. Maher Quarterly is devoted solely to the work of this architect. See the press releases page for details, or e-mail


The rear of the building. Much of the ground-level floor has filled up with sand over the years. In fact, keeping the sand out of the building is a major task. To this end, a concrete breakwall has been built around much of the structure.


Detail view of the building shows the extensive restoration work that has already been done.


Detail of a column shows the extent of cleaning work that still needed to be done on the structure at the time of this picture.

Pioneer glided way into history

One hundred years ago Octave Chanute came to Gary, not far from the site of the Gary Bathing Beach Pavillion, to experiment with gliders and kites, laying the foundation for the development of the first aircraft.

Chanute walked onto the shores of Lake Michigan in the Miller section of Gary on June 22, 1896 and became known as the "Crazy Man of the Dunes" because he often flew his gliders over the heads of sunbathers and swimmers. Chanute's designs were later used by Orville and Wilbur Wright, the brothers credited with inventing the first "flying machine." Chanute's gliders literally changed the world.

You can reach a page devoted to Chanute from the links page.

How can I help restore the Marquette Park Aquatorium?

The restoration work you have viewed on this page is expensive. The Gary Bathing Beach Bathhouse ceased to function in 1970. In the years since then, the building had fallen into very sad shape. Indeed, barricades had to be erected around the building to protect people from falling bricks.

The Aquatorium Society, the organization dedicated to restoring the building, has spent more than $325,522.13 in repairs so far, and needs to raise that same amount again to complete restoration.

You can contribute any amount to the effort to restore the Marquette Park Aquatorium. Send your contributions to:

The Aquatorium Society
607 South Lake St., Suite A
Gary, IN 46403

Or call 1-219-938-8080 for more information.

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