The city of Barr Lake is nestled on the east side of the river along the western banks of the lake. The city's secular charter required quite a bit of legal wrangling with the County Seat since it is on the generally regarded "religious" side of the river. Once the county population reached over 200,000 enough pressure was present to release a tract of land for the city charter and certain other legal obligations were made. After 30 years, and changes in city leadership the Municipality of Barr Lake has 192,000 residents and is the largest city in the county and holds the only branch of the University of Tolkar in the county.
Legal Battles to Charter
Along the western edge of the city lay Paradise Valley which was the only road connection to any part of Ellison though the residents were very clear they did not want heavy traffic over their roads. While the residents of PV are generally members of the Church of St. Robert they are fine with the passing through and settlement of non-church members. Once a legal agreement was inplace that if the city grew to over 200,000 residents road access would be through other cities and not Paradise Valley regarding road access to Interstate 36. This issue is particularly compounded by the fact I-36 is not located on the east bank of the river and therefor the primary access along the east side is through State Highway 714 through "". City planners eventually signed a deal stating with the county that if Barr Lake were to grow it would eventually travel through unclaimed land to reach outside the relative "region" of Church lands.
South of PV is Washout where intially even stronger legal battles were expected by city planners. The White Hill Chapel Seperatists who chartered the City of Washout were not expected initially to bargain at all, however growth in Ellison had pushed more residents into the city than its walled off compound. Once a standing agreement was made that city lines would be drawn a fair distance away from "Washout Mountain" there was no oposition to a non-religous charter to be located at Barr Lake. Plainly put the White Hill Chapel Seperatists didn't care what happened outside their compound and were happy to have a verbal agreement in place regarding the drawing of lines with the County Planning Commission.
The last legal hurtle was the actual charter. With almost 200,000 residents in the County of which 2/3rds were secular the county was apprehensive of giving up a large tract of land on their 'side' of the river. These concerns were further backed by the collapse of the genarally regarded borders in Ellison [city] as the old colony had undergone urban renewal as it's own population swelled and the presence of secular cities on both sides of them would likely result in increased traffic in their area. Finally when the Ellison [city] Government backed the bid for the charter the Planning Commission drew up the city lines and gave their stamp of approval.
Barr Lake construction begins...
<photo of the original town of Barr Lake>
The original 12 blocks of Barr Lake were built nestled up against the mountains east of the cove in the lake. This seemed an auspicious position to start a city however it seemed favorable at the time because a road could be built in the pass and head east until it could be connected with another city (in light of legal agreements to the west). The city however quickly bloomed away from that direction and headed towards the large plane on the west side of the city.
<photo of growing Barr Lake>
As the city grew the cove became an issue. The best living conditions were still on the east side where mountains on one side and lake on the other meant great land value. The construction of the public school and relation to the buisness district however cost residents a long drive around the lake to employment outside of the original industrial space. This became an even larger issue when the farm land that had originally been set we rezoned into residential space. After two years the city finally backed the construction of the Murray-Lincoln toll bridge. Lacking anything other than a city council the Murray-Lincoln Toll Company assumed control of the bridge and its maintenence and paid the city a 10% cut of the toll fees until the payment the city had made for the bridge was paid off. Initially there were complaints about the actual bridge design as pre-fabricated concrete bases rose out of the lake to steel trusswork and the roadtop. The bridge was an eye-sore on what was initially settled because of it's natural beauty. However within a few months of its opening there was little complaint as residents regularly crossed over the bridge to go to work - saving a long commute.
<picture of the Murray-Lincoln Bridge under construction>
Like the bridge project the city council was made up of regular citizens who did not want to devote much time to the job of city planning. The city charter made it clear that a simple vote was needed to approve bids by construction companies to expand current zones. The council eventually decided on the 8 acre grid as a baseline for all future expansion (since the original 12 blocks had been 8 acre blocks) and growth seemed to explode. It was only a few years until the 30,000 residents of the city voted for a new elected mayoral position and a larger city council. They also approved the construction of a city hall along the lake shore and new shopping district.
The new city government embarked upon building more schools since the public school on the east shore did not offer transportation beyond the cove and a majority of the cities inhabitants resided on the western plane. Additionally a police station was constructed 'down town' near the city hall building and a police chief (and 15 officers) were hired. Near the site of the old town the original coal plant was long overworked and a trash incinerator was constructed along with a longer project to construct an oil power plant. Just after completion of the oil plant an explansion was started.
The city had grown to about 65,000 residents and had grown in size to match a land area larger than Oakland (at the time the second largest city in the county). It was becoming quickly clear that the geographical size of the city and the fact that the 8 acre grid layout was begining to cause problems with traffic flow and the movement of manufactured goods out of the city. The small and relatively unkept 2-lane road that connected with Paradise Valley was being over-run (along with anger from PV) and factories could not afford to truck their goods out through SH-714. City growth had also overcrowded the small city hall building so it was finally agreed upon to construct an annex building down the block. The Barr Lake Government Annex building however had two occupants. The city government would use the upper floors as office space while the ground floor was occupied by the new Barr Lake Transportaion Authority. The BLTA was tasked with the ominous job of making sense of a jumbled existing road network but also developing a lasting transportation plan for the city that would enable people and goods to move easily through the city while also finally working towards solving the highway connection issue.
<picture of BLTA/BL City Annex after completion>
After a year of planning one of the first things the BLTA did was install rail lines connecting the city's three industrial areas to eachother and running track to the north, south and into Washout. With more development in Washout planners were banking on the fact as Barr Lake grew the east side of Washout would eventually be built up and a connection by rail to whatever may be built there would be important. This also meant that if the Ellison County Rail Line (ECRL) which had been established in Ellison and ran all over the western bank was ever extended to cross the river in Ellison lines could be run through Washout and into Barr Lake. While the ECRL tracks handled passengers and freight and were a combination of subway, raised tracks and traditional tracks the BLTA constructed their tracks for only freight.
Phase 2 of the transportation plan began about a year after the train lines began with an elevated highway section being constructed along the western edge of the city (as it had been built to that point). As planners looked at the highways that ran through Ellison County the logical connection would eventually have to come through Washout. While this had not been done the planners still ran the highway to the city boundary in a position that would best facilitate the county forcing a highway to connect with the boulivard that connects with the Friendship Bridge in Ellison. The highway was then build along the edge of the city towards the growing commercial district in the north but also running south towards the largest of the industrial areas. New housing developments were zoned west of the highway to further feed employees to the industrial area.
By now the city had grown to a population of almost 90,000. Barr Lake schools (of which there were 5 now) were on par witth education in Ellison and the cities to the west. Barr Lake still had massive tracts of land available and with a growing population when the County recieved word that the University of Tolkar was evaluating placing a campus in the County there were several bids by many of the cities. Ellison was the closest contender since with 162,000 residents and two airports they were the logical choice. Oakland dropped out when the school in their city lobbied city politicians and their bid was repealed. With Ellison's land being far more expensive the National University selected a site in Barr Lake. While Ellison had agreed last minute to give away the land; the bid put forward by the Barr Lake University Commission offered more land and funds to construct sports fields and park land meant the campus could be larger than anything Ellison could offer. Better still there were six highway exits that all pointed towards the site along with eventual plans to build an airport (presently the fire department's airfield had been taking commercial flights to offset the cost of the program). nearby the university site.
UT Architects and City planners finally approved a final design for the campus - building a massive educational center with the University of Tolkar at Barr Lake campus in the center with athletic fields shared by the S.Barr Memorial High School and Barr K-8. Constructed on the edge of the campus. In grand style the University Hospital was build into the campus as well (something that would not have been possible with the Ellison bid, especially since the school there already had a hospital as well). Additional land was left aside for future development for a stadium, while the University's sports programs were free to lease time at the minor league stadium that had been constructed just on the other side of the highway. The city park service then constructed park space into the campus as well - giving students from around the republic not only the scenic Barr Lake to enjoy but also peace and tranquility just outside the classroom. UT initially constructed several smaller residence halls until a year after opening they constructed the first perminant dormatory. The City planners then ambitiously had roads laid and zoned massive residential and comercial shopping areas near the campus to ensure that the student body would have a place to live.
<picture of the first graduation at UT-BL>
After the first 5 years of the school two more dorms were constructed amongst the motly collection of town-home establishments built by the school; along with the new stadium facility on campus for the Division 1 Sports teams. (Once the complex was completed the old minor league stadium was demolished and a new stadium constructed for the city's athletic uses).
<picture of UT-BL after new stadium>
Visible in the picture are the three original Dormatories of UT-BL. The left most building (backing upto the basketball courts) is Artley Hall. The middle dormatory (located above the white smoke) is Ferguson Hall, which was the third residence hall. On the far edge of campus is Bunger Hall (pink and blue building near the stadium) which was not originally part of the campus but was purchased by the University as a residence hall once more rooms were needed. The building was expected to be demolished as part of the school's original plan for the stadium site - though due to financial reasons the stadium was constructed in the forested section of the school's land and the housing which included Bunger Hall was left inplace. Also notable the 5 story brick building across the street from the stadium was Bruce Hall and the house down the street at the very end (next to the univ. science/utility building) is the Presidents House.