One of the most successful and influential artists of all time, Michael Jackson’s life was shaped by his humble upbringing in his childhood home in Gary, Indiana. Jackson was the eighth of ten children in the famous Jackson family.
Michael Jackson was born at St. Mary’s Mercy Hospital on August 29, 1958. The hospital is now abandoned, and you can see some photos of it’s current state here. Michael and the rest of the Jackson siblings were raised in a small two bedroom home on Jackson Street. At the time, Gary was a flourishing city thanks to the industrial plants that employed many people in the area. Since the plants closed, Gary has been hit by hard times. It’s often cited as one of the poorest and dangerous cities in America.
The Jackson’s house still stands, and has gone back and forth between being an attraction and being neglected. When I visited in 2018, the house was well preserved but appeared unused and sitting empty. We visited mid-morning and there weren’t any other people there. In fact, much of the neighbourhood was very quiet. A number of houses in the area were boarded up and abandoned.
There was previously a large stone monument to mark the location. At some point it was removed, leaving just a patch on the ground. There were no other signs or indication that the house has any significance.
Around the corner, you can see the back of the house through the iron fence. There is a gate and driveway, and you get a good idea of how small the house is.
On the side of the house there is another gate giving access to the front yard. There are also bricks lining the curb on the side of the house. Some fans have left messages in chalk to commemorate their visit.
In 2021 a few members of the Jackson family gathered at an event to unveil a new sign to mark the location. You can read about that here. The article mentions that turning Michael Jackson’s childhood home into a tourist attraction is part of a greater effort to turn Gary back into a flourishing community. Considering the house is located close to Chicago and just off the I-94, it could easily become a highly visited tourist attraction with the right management and attention.