Historic Marktown, a unique industrial village in East Chicago, Indiana, is facing the imminent threat of demolition by the ever-expanding BP refinery.
Built in 1917, the community plan resembles a small English village, but homes were intended for workers from the surrounding steel mills.
The village was designed by noted architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, who designed many homes for the wealthy in Chicago and the North Shore – including for industrialist Clayton Mark, who commissioned Marktown for his mill employees.
It is an utterly unique development, and residents are organizing to try to block demolition. Anyone so inclined is invited to join them at the East Chicago City Council on Monday, April 28, 2014 (Facebook event). There is also a Facebook group to join and a petition to sign.
Demolition of Marktown would forever wipe out an irreplaceable piece of history, on par with historic Pullman in Chicago as a planned industrial community. Acknowledging its significance, it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for decades.
The houses are constructed of fireproof clay tile, and while a number are currently vacant, they continue to stand strong. Marktown has provided durable, affordable housing to generations of industrial workers, and it should continue to do so.