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About this City Journal

A century of exploration and expansion of the McConnelly Isles. From it's first presidential election to a complete metropolis.

Entries in this City Journal


Every once in a while I would travel into Haynesburg for an internship with a construction company. There, the city was undergoing a transportation boom. New highways, railways, and even large bus stops were all being constructed as part of the new president's executive order. It was his idea that expanding the existing facilities might bring in a different business class than had previously existed. And was he right.


A new highway was constructed through the heart of the city, and a central HOV lane was added to increase traffic flow.


Railroads ran underneath the city instead of through it, which cut down on car traffic above.


And a new bus terminal was constructed across from the Transportation Ministry in order to alleviate rush hour traffic problems. All of these solutions greatly increased the capacity in Haynesburg, and an economic boom followed.


"During my studies at Grayditch University, I found it necessary to get a job in order to support my studies. After all, no one wants to live in the dormitories forever! After looking around Grayditch, I found that none of the jobs there suited my tastes. Most jobs were of a professional type, none that would hire a 19 year old student at least. I jumped on the nearby train and headed to Paradise Falls to look for a job so I could support myself through college."




"Paradise Falls was still a small city, but much work was being done to improve it's infrastructure and support its growing population. There were many job opportunities here. After searching around at various hardware stores, restaurants, and hotels, I finally found job placement at a local hotspot called Pops Diner. There, I made enough money to support myself, and had a little extra to spend at the various stores and restaurants in Paradise Falls."



"Life seemed good. I had the money to do what I wanted, and I was doing great in school. The world was in my hands."


Grayditch University


"As much as I loved working and making money to support myself and my family, I soon realized that an education was needed to further my career. I did not want to construct railroads the rest of my life, and so I made a change.

I enrolled in the only university in the area, in the town of Grayditch. After a long waiting period, I finally got in! I was so happy. My father was very proud of me."


"I went into the admissions office, McDonald Hall, to fill out all the paperwork. This was also the hall where the campus tours began. After joinging the rest of the group, we began our tour. We walked down the small path from McDonald Hall towards the rest of campus.


"The first hall we passed was Shanklin Hall. This hall, the tour guide said, was built in 1905 by Frank Sims Wright. It was the university architectural studies building. Acceptance rate to the architecture program was only 10%, as it was one of the top architecture programs in the country. There was no way I would be able to get into here, I thought."


"Next we passed Wallace Hall, the university engineering building. Here, mechanical, civil, and chemical engineering was studied. The program's pass rate was 95%, also one of the top in the country. This was really what I wanted to do. I hoped to be accepted into one of these programs."


"This was where I wanted to get my education. Along with great academics, the university also sported great athletics programs as well. Grayditch University was definitely the place for me. After getting my parents blessings, I moved into one of the dorms on campus to begin my education."


"I soon realized what I liked most about college. It wasn't the classes, nor all the new people I met. It was football. Up until this point, I had never seen a football game before. I barely even knew anything about the game. The first game of the season was played two weeks after I started school. We played the Carson Cougars. It was a tough game, but the Grayditch Golden Hawks prevailed, 24-20. It was definitely one of my fondest memories from school."


*Note I will no longer be using picture frames on my photos. Having to reduce the picture size to get the frame to fit on the page tends to make the pictures too small. *

Back at Grandpa Jackson's house, the story continued. "After President Cartwright was elected, he made his first order of business to improve the region's infrastructure. Up until then, most of the region's citizens walked everywhere, as paved roads really did not exist on the small island. President Cartwright decided it was necessary to first expand the railroad connections in the region. He believed that this would bring in more commerce and industry to the area, without having to pay too much money for such improvements."


"Only one rail line existed in Evergreen Mills at the time. This line ran around the creek and through the farms. It was a short line though, and was primarily used to transport wood from the town's mountainside to the fields for barn construction. President Cartwright wanted to expand this sector in order to provide reasonable transportation to other parts of the island. Another line was added to the existing infrastructure, which ran under the towering mountainside towards the coast."


"The existing uptown line was unaltered, but more tracks were added for train storage, and more line connections were added in-between to allow for easier rail transfers." Grandpa stopped the story to take a drink of water. "Did you help any grandpa?" Miles asked. "Well of course I did! This was my first job. I was hired to help construct the coastal line. It was backbreaking work. There was so much terrain leveling to be done. Not to mention de-logging!"


(**This picture is not in old-style form because this is my first time working with the coastal terrain effects shown above. Please let me know what you think! It's a little blurry, I can never seem to retain picture quality when making large mosaics like this. Here is a link for the larger picture s933.photobucket.com/albums/ad178/wallacet1234/ If you have any suggestions as to how I can improve this please let me know!)

"It took two years for us to build these railroads, but it was well worth it. Soon, the rails were busier than I had ever seen. Things were definately improving!"



As Miles and Grandpa Jackson are fishing, Miles begins to ask more questions. "So Grandpa tell me more about the area! What were the other towns like?" "Well, son, I had never been to the other towns at this point, I was still just a kid.It wasn't until many years later that I was finally able to go out on my own. I did, however, spend a lot of time at the local library. I discovered that around 1925, Evergreen Mills was voted County Seat of the whole area, and that was a huge deal for the town. A large town hall was erected, and town meetings were held to vote on important matters. The first order of business was to elect a president for the country, as the only other two towns, Paradise Falls and Grayditch, were independently run up to this point. Henry Cartwright was elected as the first president of McConnelly Isles. Here Miles, I stole this placard from the library a very long time ago. Take a look." Grandpa Jackson pulled a placard out of his pocket and handed it to Miles. "Here is what else the board decided. It was important to have statistics on things recorded, and so the board decided to start an almanac for the country."


"You can keep that, Miles" Grandpa said, as he pulled a big bass out of the lake...


@Schulmanator: Thanks a bunch. This is the first time I've tried doing effects like this, so glad to hear that you like them.

@spursrule14: Thanks! Much appreciated

@kench: Glad to hear you like them!

@JGellock: Thanks. I'm trying to make each picture slightly less "old and wrinkly" looking as the previous one to show the time progression of the story, but I l keep forgetting my photoshop settings, so they might all look the same haha 21.gif

And now for the update....


Miles woke up the next day curious as to what else his grandfather had to tell him. He had been bored by most of his grandfather's stories, but he was actually entertained by this one. He thought his grandfather had led an interesting life. He gathered his things and headed down the road towards his grandfather's house. It took a little while to get there, but he didn't mind. His grandfather had another box of pictures waiting in the living room by the time Miles got there. “Have a seat Miles. Would you like anything to drink? Any lunch?” “No thank you Papa, I'm fine. Tell me more about these pictures!”

             “Well Miles, if you recall from last time I was telling this story, we left off right as the town was beginning to expand so rapidly that I couldn't keep up. Well, the case continued to be true for some time. The river that ran through town was fully conquered, with buildings on both sides and multiple bridged spanning the stream. It was marvelous."


"Around 1920 or so, a great rainstorm hit the area. Most of the town was on higher ground, and was unnaffected by the flood that occured as a result of the rain. However, the lower side of the river was home to Evergreen Mill's logging sector. A lot of that land was washed away during the flood, hurting the logging industry for a long time to come. Many of the townsfolk were unable to support themselves after this. Some moved out of the town's commercial limits and set up homesteads for themselves in the vast expanses of Evergreen Mills' outlying land. Many of them took to agriculture as a way to support themselves. This brought a new source of wealth to Evergreen Mills, as the town did not need to import it's foodstuffs from neighboring towns." Grandpa Jackson paused to pull another photo out of the worn-out box at his feet.


"More farms began to pop up around the area. I guess it was because people began to want to make an honest living. My father, however, continued to work at the pub down the road, as he did not want to get sucked into the farming lifestyle. He did not mind that the farms were there, however, as more people came into his pub after a hard day's work, and he made more money. He was contracted once by some farmers to help did irrigation ditches for the farms, as there were a little farther away from the stream. He and a few other townsfolk dug for 4 months straight to get the ditches the length of the farms in the area. Soon, greater quantites of food were being produced, and Evergreen Milld flourished because of it.I think my father liked the physical labor, and I know he enjoyed the fresh air. I think that is why two years after the irrigation ditches were completed he changed jobs again. He became foreman for Johnson Builders, and helped to expand Evergreen Mills even further." Grandpa Jackson finished speaking and stood up. "Lets go fishing Miles, I'll tell you more about the story then." "Alright! I'm gonna catch a bigger fish than you!" Miles yelled. They got into the car and drove away



"It all began a long, long time ago, back in 1912 when I was born. My father, Claytus Jackson, was born into a farming family, but wanted nothing to do with it. He hated the early mornings, the long hours, and he especially hated how his body felt at the end of a long day in the fields. He wanted something different for his family than the life he had been born into. So, at the age of 18, he bid farewell to his family, and moved to McConnelly Isles, where he planned to start fresh. He wanted to create something uniquely his own. So he settled down next to a quick moving stream, built a cabin, and that is where I was born." Grandpa Jackson passed the first photo in the box around to all his family members. It was cracked and faded, but you could still make out the place where he began his life.


"We were out in the middle of nowhere. Precious commodities were few and far between. Mother washed the clothes in the stream, while my father went out and hunted the land to provide food for his family each night. Two year after I was born, my mother birthed me a sister. By this time I was getting old enough to begin to understand the world around me, although at a basic level. My mother taught us basic spelling and math at home, while my father worked. I saw my father leave everyday and come back every night, and it seemed to me like everything was perfect. Soon though, my father found it necessary to find another source of income besides hunting to support his family. His days began to become longer, as he had to travel into town to work, doing what, I never knew." Grandpa Jackson then paused for a minute, as he struggled to recall the details of his early childhood. Miles was able to briefly bring him back on track when he said "What happened next Grandpa?"

"Well, after the years went on, my father began to attract various businessmen back to the area to sell some of the land that he owned. The real estate was prime, right on the stream, which was full of large fish. The land was teeming with wildlife, and there was plenty of room to build a small town if it was in the cards for them. After tense negotiations, my father was able to sell some of his land to the men, who quickly began to build up the area." Grandpa dug into the box and pulled out another picture, which he stared at briefly and passed around the circle.


"Soon after town construction began, a path was built from our house to the town, and we were finally connected to civilization. A school house was built north of us on the river. This gave mother a break from instructing us everyday, as she was able to walk down the road and take us to school everyday. I was about 6 years old at this time, and the town seemed simply wonderous to me. I had never seen a building other than the one I lived in, nor had I really ever seen anyone other than my own family. I was simply amazed. We began to go to church every Sunday, and to the picture shows every Saturday. It was a great routine we were working ourselves into." Grandpa paused again to collect his thoughts. He took a sip of egg nog, dug into the picture box, and continued.


"Everything was moving so fast. The town kept growing. A bridge was put in, and we were finally able to reach the other side of the stream. A new church was built, along with a fire department, new homes, and a town hall. There was so much new stuff! Train tracks were put in, and trains began to run through town at all hours. I wasn't fond of that, however. I once tried to take the stakes out of the tracks so the trains couldn't go anymore, but I failed. My father got a job at the local pub, and worked late into the night. My mother seemed to not mind though, as the job paid well and there was always food on the table. Things were going well for us in Evergreen Mills. I didn't want anything to change."

Grandpa Jackson stood up and stretched. It was 9:00 PM, way past his bed time. He bid farewell to Miles and the rest of his family, and wished them all a merry Christmas. He pulled Miles aside. "Miles, if you want to hear more about this story, feel free to drop by anytime. I'd love to tell it to you." "OK Papa!" Miles said, and grabbed his things and headed for the car. Grandpa Jackson went upstairs and fell asleep.




It was Christmas time.  A time for celebration, a time for families to get together, and most importantly, a time for people to share what means the most to them. The Jackson family had made a Christmas tradition of getting together each year after opening presents to share stories of their childhood with the younger generations in the family. After the Christmas ham, and after all sorts of gizmos and gadgets were unwrapped and subsequently packed in the car, the Jacksons gathered around the fire with a cup of egg nog to listen to Grandpa Jackson tell the story of his life. Little Miles Jackson had never met his grandfather, as he was on Mile's father's side of the family which became distant after Miles mother went through the divorce.

        Miles was not a fan of the stories. He often found them dull and fell asleep halfway through. So he decided to explore his grandfathers house. It was built sometime in the 1920's, and was full of all sorts of nooks and crannies, and creaky steps and stairs. As he wandered his way upstairs, he saw the pull string for the attic. "I wonder what is up there" he said, as he grabbed a chair from the hallway to grab the string. As the attic stairway slowly creaked open, Miles stared in awe as a whole new world was opened for him. He climed the stairs into the darkness and started to explore. "Theres so much junk up here" Miles exclaimed, as he dug through boxes of old jewelry, clothes, and toys. "This stuff must have been up here for ages".  Suddenly, he opened up a box of old pictures. The glass was dusty, and the pictures faded, but they looked interesting to him. He grabbed the box and went downstairs to his grandpa.

        "Look what I found Papa. What are these?" His grandpa grabbed a photo and stared in amazement. "Where did you get these?" his grandpa asked. "I found them in the attic. Sorry, I felt like looking around this old house of yours." Miles said, excited that he had found something his grandpa had forgotten about. "I haven't seen these photos in 60 years. I had forgotten that I even had them." Grandpa Jackson slowly said, his eyes still glazed over in awe. "Sit down, son. Let me tell you about these photos. There is a lot of history behind them...." And so Miles sat down with the rest of his family and Grandpa Jackson began his story.............

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