The Miller neighborhood was annexed by the City of Gary in 1918. Because of its close proximity to Lake Michigan, Marquette Park, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and South Shore Rail Line, Miller is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Gary. There is a strong sense of community in Miller, particularly because it is geographically secluded from the remainder of the City.
Miller’s commercial district has been going through a positive rehabilitation process over the past few years. A few store-fronts along Miller’s main north-south artery, Lake Street, lay vacant or are in slight disrepair, but they do not hinder the vitality of the district. A wide variety of businesses, restaurants, and public buildings occupy the commercial blocks and buildings found on Lake Street.
The commercial buildings in Miller are typically one-story buildings with little ornamentation. Most of them are in good condition but there are few that stand out historically:
- Bethel Evangelical Church (Lake St. & 3rd Ave.) c. 1892, currently a Baptist Church; fair condition; original façade covered w/blue vinyl siding, oldest structure in Miller
- Miller Telephone Company Building (541 Lake St.) c. 1920, currently office space; excellent condition
- Public School District Building No.8 (665 S. Lake St.) c. 1920, vacant; good condition; slated for reuse by owner
- Miller Town Hall (5316 Old Hobart Rd.) c. 1911, vacant; good condition; originally housed substation for Miller’s electricity on first floor; NR 1978
- Miller Depot (618 S. Lake St.) c. 1920; fair condition
The residential homes of Miller, as with a few other residential sections of Gary, are a reflection of the prosperous years of the early 20th century. In addition to some Spanish Eclectic, English Cottage, and Bungalow style homes, there are a number of Revival homes, such as Tudor, Renaissance, and Colonial, situated near Lake Michigan. These homes are typically in good condition and have had little alterations.
At the southwest side of Miller is a small residential section called Aetna. Established as a company town by the Aetna Powder Company during the 1880s, Aetna was annexed by Gary (shortly after Miller was annexed) in 1920. The neighborhood currently consists of curving tree-lined streets with modest one-story homes. Vacant, boarded-up, or damaged homes are located periodically throughout the neighborhood. Because of Aetna’s close proximity to Marquette Park and Lake Michigan, the neighborhood’s vacant homes have an excellent potential for neighborhood redevelopment.
On the north end of Miller is Gary’s most popular recreational destination: Marquette Park. Along with the playground, beach access, and tennis courts, Marquette Park boasts two historically important structures designed by the well-known Prairie School architect, George W. Maher:
- The Marquette Park Bathing Beach Pavilion c. 1921; East Wing restored with funds raised by the Society for the Restoration of the Gary Bathing Beach Aquatorium; West Wing and central section in need of restoration, specifically the stone stairs and railings that currently have temporary wood stairs placed above the existing; NR 1978
- Recreation Pavilion c. 1924, excellent condition; some alteration to original façade