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History of the Aquatorium

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the word Aquatorium must be questioning its existence. The word itself is defines a place where one can see water and was invented by the Society for the Restoration of the Gary Aquatorium and Octave Chanute's Place in History.

The Aquatorium is the former Gary Bathhouse that was opened in 1922 and closed in 1971. Twenty years later it reopened as the Gary Bathing Beach Aquatorium.

It is safe to say that from 1921 to 1991 little was spent on maintenance. It wasn't until the Society stepped in that the building was revived.

With over ten years of renovation and countless hours of volunteer work, the splendid piece of architecture on the shores of Lake Michigan stands as a symbol of the resilient spirit of the people of Gary, IN. The Aquatorium is also the memorial to Octave Chanute who flew the world's first aeronautically designed glider from a dune just west of the building in 1896, and the Tuskegee airmen whose heroics in World War II led to the racial integration of the armed forces.

The Society for the Restoration of the Gary Aquatorium and Octave Chanute's Place in History is made up of citizens of Gary, Northwest Indiana, and indeed through the United States, who are interested in preserving the old Gary Bathhouse, the history of Octave Chanute, and the history of the Tuskegee Airmen. In the last fourteen years the Society has raised and spent over two million dollars on the building.

To date, the Society has put a complete new roof on the structure, repaired the entire perimeter of the structure, and completed the East Wing dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen. The Aquatorium is now available to host banquets, weddings, and small receptions. All profits obtained from rental go back into the cost of maintenance and upkeep of the building. Catering is also available through the booking office. For more information about renting the Aquatorium for a special occasion, contact us at {219} 742-6456. Email

With your help, soon there will be the West Wing starring Octave Chanute to go with the Statue of Chanute and a Statue dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen standing in front of the building.


For more information or to reserve the Aquatorium
for your next event, call 219-742-6456
or 219-938-8081