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1862 Robert Carr settles on Lake Michigan shore near present-day Lake Street in Miller
1874 Robert Carr marries Drucilla
1896 SPRING A gravel road is built all the way to the south end of the present Marquette Park Lagoon with a 200-foot wooden bridge built across the Grand Calumet River at that point.
1896 SUMMER Octave Chanute, a Chicago engineer, uses the new gravel road and bridge to bring himself, his party, and his equipment to Carr’s Beach to begin experiments in aviation.
1896 JULY Chanute flies the first heavier-than-air craft in North America off the dunes 600 feet west of the Gary Bathing Beach Aquatorium. At that time nobody had ever heard of the word airplane or the word Aquatorium.
1906 The City of Gary is incorporated.
1911 US Steel attempts to gain control over Lake Street Beach. Drucilla Carr, now a widow, fights them to a legal standoff until she dies in 1936.
1912 The City of Gary wishes to annex Miller. Local Miller residents rally and promptly incorporate their town in order to avoid annexation.
1919 The “Annexation Never” party wins the Miller Town Board election.
1920 JANUARY The “Annexation Never” party Town Board members are sworn into office and immediately vote to annex to the City of Gary. (Town folklore insists to this day that the three “Annexation Never” Town Board members were later given high level jobs by a big corporation headquartered in Pittsburgh.)
October 4
Now that Miller is a part of the City of Gary, work is begun on Lakefront Park which eventually becomes Marquette Park.
1921 JUNE The Gary Bathing Beach Bathhouse opens with a huge celebration. The City of Gary provides 5,000 bathing suits for people to rent for only 50 cents. You could change your clothes in the Bath House, rent a bathing suit, and enjoy fun in the sun.
1927 The newly formed Army Air Corps., the fore-runner of our present Air Force, conducts a “scientific study” which concludes that African Americans are emotionally, intellectually, and physically unfit to fly aero planes.
July 24
The Western Society of Engineers dedicated a bronze tablet to Octave Chanute, "The Father of Aviation", at the site of his glider flying experiments of 1896 and 1897.
1936 US Steel, now in control of Lake Street Beach, sells it to the City of Gary.
Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt assembles leading black Americans in the White House to have lunch with her husband, the President. During this luncheon the idea was conceived to have a portion of the Army Air Corps be all black, from the top to the bottom, as a true test as to whether or not African Americans were fit to fly aircraft. The black airmen became known as the Tuskegee airmen, named after the Alabama institute where they received their training.
1945 MAY 8 - VE Day The results are in and the all black Tuskegee wing of the Army Air Corps. had not lost one bomber, had the most kills, and had the fewest number taken as prisoners of war of any wing of the Army Air Corps.
1948 President Truman, citing the results of the Tuskegee Airmen experiment, integrates the armed forces and starts America on a path of desegregation.
1953 For inexplicable reasons, the Gary Park Department remodels the Gary Bathing Beach Bath House, destroying most of the original balustrades and capstones that had been on the building. This remodeling contributes to the deterioration of the building.
1956 Gary celebrates its 50th anniversary. The town is booming. Most people still ride buses. Every warm summer day, hundreds, if not thousands, of people go to Marquette Park on the city buses.
1966 People are no longer riding buses in America, the move to the suburbs has begun, and the cities begin to deteriorate.
1971 The City orders the bathhouse closed. It is boarded up and posted “No Trespassing”.
1980s The Gary Bathing Beach Bathhouse begins to seriously deteriorate and people begin calling for its demolition. Fortunately, the cast concrete building is so well-built that the cost of tearing it down is prohibitively high.
1991 The newly formed Society for the Restoration of the Gary Bathing Beach Aquatorium and Octave Chanute’s Place in History (an organization with one of the longest names on record including an entirely new word, “Aquatorium”) opens the Gary Bathing Beach Aquatorium to the public, takes down the “No Trespassing” signs, and cleans up the graffiti.
A new roof was put on the building at a cost in excess of $150,000.
1992 New balconies are put on the front of the building, replacing poured concrete where the destroyed balconies had been.
1994 The balconies on the north end are replaced.
1995 A new sewer system is put into the Aquatorium and a new sidewalk system is set up around the building.
July 27
Dedication of National Landmark of Soaring No.8, one-hundred years after Octave Chanute and his team did their glider flying experiments, in the dunes just west of the Aquatorium. The plaque was sponsored by the National Soaring Museum, Elmira, NY and the Chicagoland Glider Council.
1996 The 100th year of aviation is celebrated at the Aquatorium with people coming from across the country. The Chanute Aquatorium Society raises a record amount of money to put into the building.
1997 Parapet walls are replaced in front of the building. They had completely deteriorated. The building starts to take on a remodeled look.
1998 The Tuskegee Wing of the building is begun.
1999 The newly built Tuskegee Wing of the Gary Bathing Beach Aquatorium is dedicated July 24, 1999.
2000 The top deck of the Aquatorium is completely redone with a new waterproofing coat that will allow museum space on the first floor. The original balustrades and capstones taken out in 1993 are remade and replaced.
2001 After receiving a matching grant of $10,000, the Society Board of Directors determines it will erect statues to Octave Chanute and the Tuskegee Airmen in the front of the building. Fund raising begins for the statues.
2002 A nationally known sculptor, Michael Dente, is commissioned by the Society to begin development of statues of Octave Chanute and the Tuskegee Airmen.
March 16
Sunday Talk Theater: Octave Chanute Live with actor Tony Mockus presenting a one-man show.
2003 December 17 Statue of Octave Chanute pointing to the very dune where he conducted his experiments in 1896 is dedicated on the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk.
2004 Talk Theatre, a fund raiser for the Tuskegee statue, recounts the story of how feminism began in Miller Beach with the relationship between noted Chicago author Nelson Algren and French philosopher Simone Bouvier. Bouvier tells Algren in their Miller Lagoon cabin that she has been studying the plight of women most of her life but can’t put it into any context. Algren suggests that she look upon women world-wide as white Americans look on African Americas, as second-class citizens. The following year Bouvier publishes “The Second Sex” and the era of feminism begins.
2005 MAY 8 The Tuskegee statue is dedicated in front of the Tuskegee Wing of the Gary Bathing Beach Aquatorium. The dedication takes place on May 8, 2005, exactly 60 years from the end of World War II in Europe. An end hastened by African American pilots who fought in the European Theater thereby exposing the 1927 Study of the US Army Air Corps. a complete fabrication.
2006 SPRING The Miller Room of the Aquatorium is dedicated with historical pictures of Miller and Gary.
2007 JULY 28 For the 17th consecutive year, the Society for the Restoration of the Gary Bathing Beach Aquatorium will have a successful fund raiser in which it will be reported that everyone had a good time and generally felt better about themselves for having contributed to the only successful historical preservation project in Northwest Indiana.
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