SimCoug: Yes it is. And, that's only the start. We are not even in the main farming areas.
Mamaluigi945: Thank you for the compliment.
westy177: Thanks for your comment.
The ferry finally arrived, after an hour of waiting. So we embarked across the Ernst River.
The Ernst River is as wide that in some parts it registers widths of 1kilometers in the wet season.
We arrive at the terminal on the other side, and this way we arrive to Storm City, our first stop in Alpena: Storm City.
Storm City is a beautiful small city of more than 140,000 inhabitants. Built originally as a fishing town in the estuary of the Ernst River under the name of Stormhaven, the town boomed in the early 20th century as the Industrial Revolution hit the country, this boom led to a complete re-construction, and therefore it's original layout no longer exists. Anyways, soon the town grew from a few tens of families to over ten thousand inhabitants. Today, even though the machine is rusted, its still functioning at full capacity, and is still the commercial center of the lower Grand Valley.
As we move down the main road, you can see the old houses of the city, many of them built in the first half of the 20th century, back on it's glory days. You can also see one of the newer apartment complexes, built to house industrial workers, very few were constructed, as the migration from the north of the valley dwindled and they are quite recent compared to other residences.
A few minutes later, we arrive to the main road, it runs from one end of the city to the other and the oldest shop buildings are located here.
Not many of them remain though, some where bought and then demolished to build more modern structures.
A big contrast of architecture, modern buildings contrast with the older houses and mansions of the center of Storm City. You can even see an old classic car running through Main Avenue.
During the boom years some tenements were built in the downtown residential areas for the working class, today, many are still in use, almost none have been demolished, specially the oldest ones, that were given historic status along with the Victorian-style mansions scattered around the city. Even the newer ones are built in this opulent style, as per tradition.
We go south, and after travelling a good 20 minutes by car we arrive to what Storm City owes it's growth: the Industry.
The old smoke stacks of steel manufacturing plants and furnaces are still in very good condition, but recently most were replaced by cleaner and more efficient models. Above you can see one of the main assembly plants still active in the city. It's owned by Figaro Motors, Alpena's only car company. Figaro Motors has many more of these assembly plants scattered around the country's main cities, all are built in the same way, therefore, this one you see here, very well could be just as the one on another city where Figaro built a factory. They stopped constructing new assembly lines more than 50 years ago, mostly due to a slow, and painful financial crisis in the company, they sold factory after factory, but in the last years they have recovered, thanks to new investing and government support. They now plan on recovering all their buildings.
We return to the town, and you can observe one of the "newer" suburbs. Though most houses are well over 60 years old, you may be able to see new developments around, there is even a public pool, it really gets crowded in the summer.
And to seal this entry, a view of Storm City's main train station, we await so we can take one off to Granite Creek, a beautiful small town, famed worldwide because of what nature achieved in the mountains around it.
See you next time!