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over the last couple of decades, after the opening of large shopping
malls in neighboring Illinois. However, there are new
signs of hope for a rebirth of downtown Hammond.
A large housing complex is being built just a
couple of blocks away, meaning a large number of potential shoppers
nearby. In addition, glitzy casinos on Hammond's shoreline are bringing
in new tax revenues, which, if wisely used, could provide healthy tax
credits to developers who want to restore historic buildings. Another
bonus: Hammond offers great proximity to Chicago
(it neighbors Chicago on the Indiana side) yet it offers a small city
All photos by Timothy Arends
|State Street in Hammond, one
of the city's main commercial districts. While there are a lot of gaps,
a lot of historic buildings remain.
L. Fish furniture building (1927), now a center
for Hispanic Americans, is a striking example of Art Deco architecture
and terra-cotta ornamentation..
(The wooden water tanks you see on this and other
old buildings serve a very useful purpose; they use technology from the
1890s to hold water for tap and sprinkler systems.
The tanks are unaffected by the loss of electrical
power during a fire and provide the only ready water supply for some
buildings. Since they are elevated, gravity pulls the water down and
gives fire crews time to set up on the street.
Electrical pumps bring water up from the city's
underground pipes to the tanks. Water from the tanks is used for
bathrooms and kitchens throughout a building. The tank is automatically
refilled when an electric sensor tells it that the supply is low.
With only rare exceptions, the tanks are made of
wood because it is such an excellent temperature moderator. Water stays
cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.)
The Colonial Revival Lincoln Hotel (1923) is in
excellent condition and the ground floor has been minimally altered.
Another view of the Lincoln.
The Odd Fellows must have been important indeed to
have their own building in Hammond's central business district. The
inscription at the top of the building reads "I.O.O.F. Calumet Lodge
601" and above the central doorway is inscribed "Odd Fellow's
Building." The minimally altered building is now the Marcus Plumbing
Renaissance Revival, 1924.
The charming American Trust and Savings Bank, an
example of Neoclassical architecture, dates back to 1899.
Hammond Federal Building (1939) is a more modern
example of Neoclassical architecture.
|A preservation success story:
the Edward C. Minas Building, c. 1913, is being converted into the
State Street Lofts. Sign reads: "Studio one and two bedroom loft
condominiums, retail and office loft condominiums; in Hammond's new
downtown arts district; now taking deposits; (219) 931-5113."
A peculiar mix of 1960's-era facadism over an older
|The impressive five-story
Seifer's building (1925) shows the Colonial Revival style. The
inscription in the masonry above the entryway reads "Seifer's Furniture
Co." Despite its appearance, this building is still in use; on the
Sunday I photographed it, people were entering and leaving.
|Just goes to show, bad taste
knows no decade! Another example of the "facadism" of the 60's, this
building (long since abandoned by the perpetrator) was converted into a
giant neon billboard! (So tacky, it's actually
| Images of Indiana
Architecture | Endangered
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