- Marquette Park, formerly known as LakeFront Park, is a municipal park bordered entirely by Indiana Dunes National Park. It has 1.4 miles of white sand Lake Michigan beaches, interior ponds, exceptionally high sand dunes, marshes, a lagoon, and natural oak savanna. The park is part of the Miller Beach neighborhood. Miller Beach was originally its own municipality. However, the Town of Miller was forcibly absorbed into the municipal boundaries of Gary, Indiana, just before the construction of Marquette Park in 1918. The park includes the Octave Chanute museum, which is a National Landmark of Soaring. The area that is now Marquette Park has a colorful history. The Miami Indians inhabited the area prior to white contact. The whole southernmost shore of Lake Michigan was covered with sandy soil that was unsuited for crop cultivation. The land, on the other hand, was filled with wildlife and fish, making it popular for hunting, trapping, and picking berries. In 1673, he and Louis Joliet traveled through Wisconsin and down the Mississippi before returning to Sault Ste Marie via the Illinois and Chicago Rivers. The following year, Marquette traveled down Lake Michigan to the Chicago River and made the portage to Illinois before crossing the Mississippi in the spring of 1675. Marquette, on the other hand, was sick, and when he returned that spring, he died near the sands of Miller Beach. Only a few days later, he died at the mouth of the Pere Marquette River in Michigan. The “Recreation Pavilion” was built in 1923-24 by Maximillian Dubois’ construction business Max and Sons, who also built the Palace Theater in Gary, Indiana. It was similarly designed by Maher and Sons and is located on the Grand Calumet River’s southside lagoon. The construction cost $350,000. The structure was renovated in 1966, again in the mid-1990s, and again around 2008. It is still a popular venue for all kinds of events, from weddings to civic activities. By the 1970s, the park had fallen into ruin. The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) awarded the City of Gary $28,190,000 in 2009 to design and build capital improvements within the park that would improve public access and circulation, preserve and strengthen the park’s natural features, provide new recreational and educational amenities, and restore the park’s signature historic facilities. The city presented the Marquette Park Lakefront East Master Plan in 2010, which detailed these upgrades. The New York Times noted and applauded the completion of the $28 million master plan makeover in August 2017. The story discussed the newly renovated Marquette Park Pavilion as well as the Gary Aquatorium/Museum of Aviation.
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