The king of rot? Haunting photos show abandoned hometown of Michael Jackson
These eerie photos show the abandoned hometown of pop legend Michael Jackson.
The images, taken by Johnny Joo, show the iconic landmarks of the once great steel town of Gary, Indiana, abandoned and left to decay after decades of decline.
Gary sits 25 miles from Chicago and was the birthplace of both the King of Pop and his Jackson5 siblings.
The former industrial city has since fallen on hard times and is now largely abandoned, with many of its inhabitants having moved away following the decline of the steel industry in the 1960s.
Photographer Johnny, 28, from Cleveland, said: “At first I had no idea that Gary was the hometown of Michael Jackson.
“This was a huge surprise, and we decided to visit the home where he grew up during the very early morning.
“It was interesting to see how the city has fallen apart.
“Gary is currently inching its way to becoming a ghost town.
“But the city holds so much forgotten life, often disregarded by visitors who only see gloomy streets and a history of corruption.
“People often fail to think about the families that spent so much of their lives here, and shaped their lives around the city they knew growing up.”
Dubbed ‘The City of the Century’, Gary once had a peak population 178,000 residents, a figure that has since dwindled to 78,000.
Johnny said he was unaware of the city’s connection to the Jackson, who died in 2009 and has been hit with allegations of abuse since controversial new documentary Leaving Neverland aired earlier this month.
His images depict a number of Gary landmarks including the city’s Methodist Church as well as the once grant Palace Theatre, both of which have become dilapidated and deserted.
But he said he was buoyed by the work of community groups aiming to bring the desolate place back from the brink.
He said: “Numerous groups hope to change Gary, as well as the negative light that is often shed on the city.
“When I visited, I could see that behind the shuttered storefronts that line Broadway, there sits potential to bring back a beautiful history that has been lost.
“This is the city that these groups want to save, and bring out of the darkness.
“It truly is a unique place, with some incredible sights to see, not only the abandoned places.
There’s a very unique vintage scenery throughout the city, which is different than other cities I have visited.
“I really enjoyed seeing the city.”