Welcome to Fontana, the oasis of the northern semi-arid land. As you may have seen through the short trip through Vän Vatten, the land is very…diverse. Vän Vatten as a whole has many tributaries flowing through its boundaries (hence the name), but aside from the land near water, the rest of Vän Vatten is rather dry. The vegetation is primarily conifers that can go long durations without satisfying rain fall, and desert shrubs also dot the area. To the north, through where we travel, you can see the Temperate National Forest. A patch of northern land that has tapped into the bi-annual permafrost and has enabled a strong density of woods throughout the land, obviously it is a national forest in order to protect the majority of the wood. Lumber is a leading industry for Vän Vatten, but it tends to stay more towards the west central/southwest area of the land.
Fontana exists primarily because of its notable lake. While it isn’t large enough for recreational or industrial use, the water is used in the area. The farms to the north on VV14 draw strictly from the lake, surprisingly named Lake Fontana, and the small community also draws from the lake.
Fontana has been in existence for some time, most believe it dates back to the late 1800’s. For those who dared to travel along the northern territory of Vän Vatten in the past, Fontana was a safe stopping place between Queensland (Hickory Center) and the far outreach posts of Concorde. This was especially the case for primary transportation of the time. The North Central Line crosses Fontana, and in the late 1800’s to mid 1900’s the majority of locomotives were steam powered and needed access to water. Fontana, because of its water, became a water stop for the railroad. When vehicles were introduced to Vän Vatten, many of the original radiators required constant access to water as well, behold Lake Fontana.
The town turned dormant for some years, primarily between the 1950’s and the early 2000’s. However, like many other towns along the FRH, Fontana has seen growth because of VV1. In 1999, when the FRH (Forgotten Royal Highway) was being created solely on paper, it was decided that VV1 would run to the south of Fontana, staying out of the Temperate National Forest. Because of this the timber was spared, as was Fontana as it was allowed to grow to the south.
However, if you find yourself traveling through the original VV1, you’ll cut through Fontana, see its historic main street, cross over the North Central Line-Fontana Yard, and cross the line again on your way out. While some companies, such as Taco Bell have established a new feel to the town, stop in a Fontana High Place, a historic deco hotel that was refurbished in 2000 and reopened to guests who choose to stop. Word of advice though, at night, close your curtains and bring a sleeping mask, it can get a bit bright. Be sure to also stop by St. Josephine’s Holy Cathedral. A building dating back to 1848 when the area was first being settled, services are traditional, and one of them is still spoken strictly in the northern Nordic language from the people that settled the area.
Finally, if you happen to stop in Fontana during the summer months, head over to the Fontana SoccerPlex. Two newly developed fields near VV1 that bring in a startup club team out of Lindsborg, admission is free, and the club practices and training tend to run all day.
VV1 (Forgotten Royal Highway)/Old VV1 Interchange
Old VV1 (Main Street) Curving Around Lake Fontana
Main Street: Fontana High Point Hotel
North Central Line-Fontana Yard
VV1 (FRH)/VV6 Interchange