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About this City Journal

How I've always read it.

Entries in this City Journal



Railraod iron is a magician’s rod, in its power to evoke the sleeping energies of land and water. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

It was a town of machinery and tall chimneys, out of which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves for ever and ever, and never got uncoiled. Vast piles of building full of windows where there was a rattling and a trembling all day long, and where the piston of the steam-engine worked monotonously up and down, like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness. - Charles Dickens (Hard Times)

Coming up next on Gotham City Perspectives:

Today on Gotham City Perspectives, we're going to look at the rise of Gotham City during the time of the Early Republic in through the 19th century in an era referred to as the Industrial Revolution. We will see how the rise of American liberties, capitalist enterprise and most importantly the railroad, had a major impact in Gotham City's transformation from typical port city to the major industrial and commercial powerhouse it has become.

Side Note: I apologize as this post wasn't supposed to take nearly as long as it did. I had some major hard drive/server malfunctions (completely unrelated to sc4) so I had to replace, reformat and restore all my final cut stuff. I work as a DP & film/video editor so the footage took priority. And with close to 10 TB of stuff ... it took a while ... but all is back to normal and with no data loss soooo on to the show.

From revolution to ratification:

The time of the American Revolution was one of great uncertainty for the country at large as well as with the Port and City of Gotham. In the years leading to the Revolution many prominent citizens of Gotham, like the young Darius Wayne and Charles Tyler, were quite outspoken in their opposition the British Crown's oppresive policies in her colonies including most of the new taxes King George imposed. Meanwhile, other city residents like Mr. Wayne's own father Thomas, spoke harshly of this rebellious business believing that Gotham's financial future would be secured with her ties to Great Britain. This was the stuff that ripped families apart like we wouldn't see in Gotham for another hundred years. Darius and his cousin, war hero "Mad" Anthony Wayne of Pennsylvania would go on to serve under General George Washington and rise prominently among the new American elite.

After the war, Darius would later serve as a delegate from New Jersey at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. It was here he befriended Alexander Hamilton who had convinced Wayne to purchase several fledgling publications in Gotham which were then consolidated and would become the Gotham Gazette in 1786. Wayne was eventually elected Senator in the New Jersey Legislative Council where he served throughout the remainder of his life. Darius was instrumental is pushing New Jersey toward ratification of the new United States Constitution arguing its case to the Council, General Assembly and to the people. Using the Gotham Gazette to publish many of the Federalist Papers he helped push a progressive movement among Gotham and Southern New Jersey residents toward ratification. On October 26, 1787, the State of New Jersey became the third state to ratify the Constitution and as in counties all across the State, Darius Wayne wrote to the Gazette:

Now be it known, that we, the delegates of the state of New Jersey, chosen by the people thereof, for the purpose aforesaid, having maturely deliberated on and considered the aforesaid proposed Constitution, do hereby, for and on the behalf of the people of the said state of New Jersey, agree to, ratify, and confirm, the same and every part thereof.

Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent of the members present, this 18th day of December, in the year of our Lord 1787, and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.

In witness whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.

DARIUS WAYNE, President,

and delegate from the county of Gotham.

The Rise of Gotham and the American City

In the years between 1790-1860 Gotham experienced one of the largest expansions in the city's history due in large part to the coming of the steam powered locomotive. As we learned last week, by 1780 Gotham had earned a reputation as a major shipping and exporting hub throughout the northern East Coast centered largely around Rogers Harbor and the Port of Gotham. With America's new found freedom, markets which were previously off limits to the colonies were now a vital part of Gotham's growth. As the city's shipping industry grew, so did all other areas of business. Businesses from all across southern New Jersey flocked to the wares of Gotham to more easily move their products and offer their services and along with them, jobs. The population doubled from 1790-1800 and again by 1830 becoming the nation's 4th largest city with a total of 81,643.


Artist rendering of Gotham City, 1804. view from Land Lease & Trust Company Building looking south over some of Gotham's neighborhoods.


Areal photograph of Uptown. Land Lease and Trust Company Building is across from North Penn Station (intersection of Federal St. & 16th St.)

Railraods, Steam and the American Dream:

As Gotham cit grew throughout the 19th century, Georges Island (popularly referred to as Uptown) was overtaken by the city incorporating towns such as Yeaverly and Ensbury as well as the larger Buroughs of Granton and Jerod, just to name a few. The city itself was beginning to spill over into the Miangani and Worrell Islands. (the later now known as Midtown) The rural residents of Gotham County and surrounding Cape May & Atlantic Counties feared being overrun by the growing city and were able to pass state legislation limiting the city proper to Georges Island further congesting the young city. But by 1830, with the advent of the steam powered locomotive, Gotham City was once again changed. It became much easier and faster to move goods to and from Rogers Harbor via railroad lines to the outlying areas around Gotham. Those towns that only 30 years earlier had looked at Gotham's growth with concern, were now welcoming the new development & accompanying business opportunities that the railroad was able to offer. Gotham was able to pass its 3rd City Charter in 1829 which now was to include all of Gotham County.

But John, isn't this just a typical history of just about every city in the northeast and Midwestern U.S.? Yes but what made Gotham City special, was that as cities grew to be either a "Pennsy", Reading, or B & O town, Gotham acted as s hub connecting nearly all lines from Boston to Washington to Chicago.

The New Jersey Railroad Company was founded in 1815 and meant to lay rail connecting Gotham to Trenton, and by extension, Philadelphia to the west, New York to the north and Metropolis to the south. Rail cars at the time were drawn by horses which limited the size of a consist to only several cars at a time. It was just much easier to move goods and people using waterways opposed to railways and by 1819, construction on the NJRRC main line was halted extending only about 15 miles north & west of Gotham. In 1829 however, when the Baltimore & Ohio railroad began using steam locomotives for its "Tom Thumb", Judge Solomon Wayne started to invest heavily in the continued construction of the line.


A site of the original NJRRC main line as seen today currently used at Rogers Railyard connecting one of the maintenance shops to the Maintenance S/R yard.


Another section of the original line; connecting to the Ship Yard at Rogers Harbor.

Judge Wayne played an critical role in the rise of the Railroad tycoons which in turn attracted young entrepreneurs like your host's own Great-great-grandfather Issac Reese who patented fireproof brick giving a huge boost and an already booming local industry. Wayne's newly founded Wayne Shipping Company (and Wayne Chemical Co.) used his recent railroad investments and leased track usage to B & O, Pennsylvania and the also newly formed New York Central railroads. This required a brand new rail yard to be constructed near the port as it would allow trains from several different companies to arrive and depart easily to and from their own track lines. The yard itself was eventually sold to PRR by Solomon's son Alan Wayne in 1859 who would use the sale to consolidate the family businesses into Wayne Enterprises. Solomon had amassed a fortune in the shipping industry, which he used after his retirement in 1854, to finance the construction of a new "temple" in central Uptown for the Free and Accepted Masons of Gotham. It was to be here where Solomon created (with help from many of Gotham's elite) the Gotham City Society for Abolition while also secretly constructing very expansive underground tunnels that would become part of the "Underground Railroad" connecting as far as Elizabeth, NJ. These weren't just tunnels however, they featured cutouts with cots every 2-3 miles and many secret entrances to the homes of some of Gotham's local abolitionists to help those escaping tyrrany along the way. A section of this tunnel is preserved and on display at the GC African-American Museum.



This map depicts a terminus at Gotham City which was a point of confusion for many shippers. What PRR couldn't show due to space limitations are the rails that allowed trains to move from Philadelphia to Gotham which would then cross the Delmarva Penninsula back into DC (leased on what was then B & O track) -or- move right up the coast into New York finishing a massive loop connecting Phila., Gotham & NYC to the North and a second loop connecting Gotham with Philly, Baltimore & DC to the souh with lines all across country able to connect to these loops.

(side not on the Underground Railroad: the tunnel was discovered around 1919 as the "Red Line" subway was being constructed which cause much of the tunnel to collapse ... though it was originally routed through what is now the Bat cave, Patrick Wayne, then occupying the Manor, was nervous of the Bolshevik movement in Russia and fearing the "Communists" would be interested in taking over and destroying Wayne Enterprises in the name of socialism, he destroyed the Manor's entrance to the tunnel. To this day, historians do not know why Judge Solomon Wayne would finance this section of the Underground Railroad yet not offer his own house as a "stop" along the way. Only Patrick, his grandfather Solomon and his great-grandson Bruce know the truth.

As the rails in and around Gotham where moving more cargo than many cities in America, even more business opportunities opened up. The George Stevenson Locomotive Company opened a factory in Gotham as did Baldwin (based out of Philadelphia) and would bring with it a satellite Gotham headquarters. As B & O continued to build south, Penna RR west out to Chicago and the young New York Central to the north, by 1861 the major (and minor) railroad companies began to depend on Gotham City not just for regional commerce and industry, but the Western Expansion of the United States. An expansion, that would have to be put on hold as America braced for war.

Next time on Gotham City Perspectives, we'll look at the American Civil War and the role Gotham City played in preserving the Union.

Gotham City Perspectives is a Public Broadcasting production made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Wayne Foundation, The Historical Society of New Jersey ... and viewers like YOU!


Personal Musing:

As I continue to grow and develop Gotham City from the ground on up, you'll notice I never saw Gotham City as the megalopolis of massive highrise buildings encompasing the entire city. Though it certainly has its skyscapping areas in downtown with more commercial highrise districts in midtown and uptown, I see Gotham as a city of neighborhoods ... of houses and W2W apartment buildings. A sort of comination of the Philadelphia style row-homes, and Chicago style brick apartment buildings with some art-deco, neo-gothic AND modern styled commercial districts connecting these neighborhood and to the industrail parks. I'm basically taking when I know and love about Gotham City (usung of course my own personal interprutation) and spicing it up with elements I've found and come to love the places I've lived.

Here's an update:


A neighborhood in east Uptown.


The curves are a little tight on the left ... I'm in the process of widening some of the connections. I'll post the update next time.


Norston: a neighborhood in northern Uptown. North Federal Station (Federal St. & Broadway)




"Lonely hearts and Sunday School teachers like to say that rain is the tears of God ...

this rain? If it comes from Him, it's not His tears." - Bruce Wayne (Brian Azzarello)


Gotham City has been written to be in a variety of places like New York State, Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. Looking past the variety of Crises befalling the DC Universe over the years, I think it's important to consider the varied States of Gotham when thinking back to the "Gotham as every city" concept initiated by Bob Kane. This illustrates the almost total abandonment of Gotham by some Federal but most importantly nearly all State authorities. State's Attorneys/Prosecutors passing capital crimes to the undermanned & grossly underfunded Gotham City D.A.'s office, Gotham being only one of four municipalities in the entire United States having to fund its own entire criminal justice system and State withholding of Federal funding for redevelopment/revitalization projects in key city areas, The Narrows eg., illustrate just a few of the ways Gotham City has been cast aside. In real life, there are only 3 such municipalities that pay for their own CJ system (rather than the State picking up the tab) and Philadelphia is one.

Did these Federal and State practices lead to the city-wide corruption? Or did said corruption lead to these practices? I think one could argue either way ... a chicken/egg conundrum. I personally think Gotham is similar to Philadelphia or the smaller cities of Northern New Jersey in that Conservatives/Republicans tend to get elected to State Assemblies/Governorships during non-presidential election years as voter turnout (largely democratic) among the inner-city populations tends to be lower during these "off" years leading to (generalization ...) cutting off rural & suburban tax monies for city programs/projects forcing a city like Gotham to almost completely fend for itself while facing perennial budget crises save for last-minute wins by former Gotham Mayor Theodore Cobblepot during the turn of the century. This fiscal neglect would also lend to the rise of currupt politicians like former mayor Hamilton Hill whose mob connections seemed almost necessary to keep City Hall running. It almost makes you wonder if the pre-Gordon GCPD wasn't on La Cosa Nostra's payroll, would most of Gotham's 82 branch libraries or 220 public parks, as examples, have ever been built?

Like, Gotham is so totally Jerseylicious:

What we do know is that according to Mike Marts and the DC editorial staff, Gotham City is in fact locatioed in the State of New Jersey in the area of Cape May County. For this project, I'm going to assume the the area of Cumberland & Cape May Counties in South Jersey are actually divided into 3 counties, Cumberland to the West, Cape May County in the center extending into the northern area of the Cape itself and Gotham County taking the south-most eastern shoreline and southern tip of the cape.


I'm not entirely sure yet how I want to situate Pettsburg. I like the idea of The River Liberty defining the northern border of Gotham County, but do I make Pettsburg (or Petts) County? If I did, (not that it really matters) it would have to include the soutwestern areas in Atlantic County. I could also just assume Atlantic borders Gotham County ... but enough about counties already!!!

So knowing now where we're working in, we know that Philadelphia is basically due west of Gotham; NYC to the north, Metropolis to the South (in Del.) and DC, Baltimore, etc. are ... where they actually are. So let's talk a little history.

I'm not really going to regurgitate anything you can read from DC's history of Gotham or by just reading the comics. So, for those who don't know, check it out. It'll take you five minutes and you'll be up to speed on the Miagani Native Americans, Dutch East-India Company, Taylor, Wayne, Savage stuff ...yada yada yada ... just so we're on the same page. If not, that's cool too.

"Bruce Wayne's ultimate challenge - Batman vs. History itself!" - Grant Morrison

This is where I take liberties with Gotham's history. Gotham was first founded in 1609 by European settlers coming to the "New World". Similar to William Bradford's "On Plymouth Plantation", where we learn about the very early history of eastern Massachusetts which would later help develop Boston, Gotham was settled because of its proximity to a natural harbor which was (unlike Plymouth) discovered by Henry Hudson. The European settlers just weren't sure if this settlement was going to work out, so they wanted the option (for those who could afford it) to head back home. Additionally the harbor gave them an easy trade route to similar settlements in Plymouth to the north and Burlington & Philadelphia to the west. Of thehe people that came, and stayed, they farmed both for initial family/community survival and for local/regional trade along the northern East Coast which obviously developed around 1630-1650. The land owners would build their farms out onto the 3 islands but built their town houses close to the harbor in the area we now know as Olde Gotham. It was a place where land owners would send their children and wives during the fall and winter months so that the kids could receive an education as well as socialize with other children while the husbands usually came into town on the weekends both to be with their families, tend to some business in town and that on Sundays, all could go to church. As farm land in the Gotham area became hard to come by around 1655 land ownership near "Gotham Town" was put at an incredible premium which led to the financial fortunes of the Wayne, Taylor and Savage families, three of the first and largest farms surrounding the original settlements.

The English took over the colony from the Dutch in 1664 and named it the Province of New Jersey. The Dutch took it over again for about year in 1673 but upon being regained by the British, New Jersey was split and King Charles II named Gotham the capital of The Province of West Jersey. In one of his final acts as King, King William III (William of Orange) unified the two provinces, a task that was finally completed by Queen Anne in 1703 where the capital was moved to Burlington, the first of many slights against Gotham. Notably, Gotham produced North America's first currupt politician in Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury who though only stayed in Gotham briefly, wrestled control of both New York and New Jersey provinces after moving to Manhattan before being "called back" to England after significant tax revenue failed to reach her majesties coffers. It was during his tenure that most of the border disputes tended to err on the side of New York.

Next time on Gotham City Perspectives, we'll look at the revolutionary era history of the city moving into that of the Early Republic and what roles Gotham may have played in the development of this "Great and Noble Experiment of these United States". We will also look at and highlight how that development led to Gotham City's current structure of neighborhoods.

Gotham City Perspectives is a Public Broadcasting production made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Wayne Foundation, The Historical Society of New Jersey ... and viewers like YOU!

Yeah, all of a sudden I find myself narrating a PBS show ... I'll get more into that as a motif here later =)

For now I leave you with additional regional development ... its about '07 and we're working with Uptown to start (site of Old Gotham and old Rogers Harbor, etc.)


As always, any questions or discussions (polite dissagreements), suggestions or ... whatever are welcome. =) till next time!



"What good are insights? They only make things worse." - Raymond Carver

“The streets are safe in Philadelphia, it's only the people who make them unsafe.” - Mayor Frank L. Rizzo

There are a few points that are necessary here: I started reading Batman & Detective when I was six and have basically been reading the Bat Universe since. Secondly, I grew up in Philadelphia. I've lived in Germantown, Fairmount, West Philly (between University City and Southwest), South Philly and finally Center City before leaving my city, my home, for the first time in my mid 20's to move to Austin, Texas. Austin was mostly a bad idea but it did give me some very interesting new insights into my relationship to Philadelphia. At which point, home became a much bigger place for me and got me thinking about infrastructural and urban design elements like I had never thought of them before, which I will dive more into below. Finally, after two grueling years, I left Austin, went back to Philly for the summer en route to my latest destination, Chicago where I currently live in the Rogers Park neighborhood.

"But John, what the heck does you stupid life story have to do with Gotham?"

I'm very glad you asked, self. Having read most issues since 1988 in Philadelphia, I had been empathizing with Bruce Wayne's relationship to Gotham by using my own relationship to Philadelphia ... a dark, at times violent, post-industrial port city in the Northeast. I later on found myself feeling that Austin was more the peak of Mt. Hozomeen of Kerouac's Desolation Angels than the large urban oasis tucked deep in the heart of Texas that it has the reputation for being (which I will admit was almost entirely due to my total homesickness. No Austin bashing intended.) The point is that as I was reading Dick Greyson rediscover Gotham City and take over the mantle as Batman (this was right before the Battle for the Cowl stories), I found myself using Gotham City as a gateway to my own hometown taking pleasure in the simple things like having sidewalks on both sides of the street ... every street , a viable albeit slightly unreliable public transit system, street signs on every corner that used address numbers and cardinal directions, most importantly a navigable grid pattern that made sense, and all the amenities of living in a large Northeastern city.

It was then that, as I mentioned above, home became a much bigger place. Texan cities are not designed like Northeastern cities. Its just a very different kind of America, not better or worse. Philadelphia signed its first city Charter in 1691 & first settled in 1642 ... a good 200 years before Austin (then Waterloo). I mention this to point out that the infrastructure of Philadelphia (and almost every city from Baltimore to Boston) being designed for heavy pedestrian traffic, later rail traffic evolving then to include the automobile, where that of Austin was designed exclusively with the car in mind making it next to impossible to get around town without one. I found myself missing the 2 hour train ride to New York, 3 hours to Botson, 2 hours to D.C. ... how I could just move around an entire region of the Unites States without ever getting in a car. Now past this very generalized history lesson, lets get back to Gotham.

"Wait a second John, isn't Gotham city just an pseudonym for New York?"

Bill Finger once said, "We didn't call it New York because we didn't want anybody in any city to identify with it." This and my new expanded home view is what drives this project. We know that Gotham is a Northeastern port city just like most every city from, again, Baltimore to Boston. We also know that it grew out of the industrial boom, and was a center of manufacturing and shipping. It features a large currently underutilized main port with several smaller ports spread among the islands, and at least at some point was a major transit hub for passenger and freight rail. This could be New York but could just as easily be Philadelphia or Boston; all of which are no more than 100 miles from each other. Contrast that with Austin which is more that 250 miles to anything, and even then you're only talking about Houston, Dallas and ... Odessa (sorry Waco). But Bob Kane once said that he pulled his inspiration from the whole Northeast, everything from New York and Philadelphia to Wilmington, Delaware to create a sort of Metro City, USA.

Gotham as Philadelphia, but not really:

Now Where the pulse and personality of New York and Philadelphia are dramatically different, so then are all those cities compared to Gotham. From my own reading, I've always felt that the shadows Metropolis casts down on Gotham were akin to the chip all us Philadelphians carry on our shoulders as we relate to New York. Ask anyone from Philly how they feel about New York and don't be surprised if you get an earful of expletives. It's nothing personal really, but I've always found myself defending Philadelphia to New Yorkers; "Philly is NOT a garbage dump OR the sixth borough. So ef you, pal." I've always felt that the way that Metropolis and their big Blue Boyscout seem to think that the world revolves around them and the way that Gotham is almost always trying to remind the world that yes in fact it does still exist even after No Man's Land, is not unlike how Philadelphian's think of ourselves in relation to New York. This isn't a slight to New Yorkers at all so please don't take it that way ... or fans of Superman. I love Superman. Batman is better though. So being from Philly, of course I read Gotham as being Philadelphia. But I say "not really" because there are obvious differences. For starters ... Gotham is a lot bigger.

So at this point I'm just ranting so probably a good time to regroup write another post where I'm going to look at "the many states of Gotham." Where is it? What State is it in? The local, state and federal politics of Gotham City, which is unavoidable when you're talking about city building and urban design. Then, I'm going to get into what I really want to talk about; how, in my mind, Gotham is actual designed. How are the neighborhoods set up ... what does it really look like, etc.

For Now, I'll give you my starting point. I've decided to start with Uptown (the north-most island) working my way from Granton to Lemmars Park.



Uptown with neighboring Farrow, Ensbury, Ganton and Yeavley.

Funny story: after terraforming Endsbury, I realized that I forgot to type the "d" when naming it. I decided I liked the name Ensbury better. I don't know, I felt "Endsbury" was a bit to literal. Just keeping it simple for now. A few neighborhoods, very small industrial parks, passenger rail and bus service. Once I get to a regional industrial pop. of about 20k, I'll start with freight lines.

Also, quick note ... I've assumed that the Pennsylvania/NY Central and Reading railroads have built independent rail lines serving Gotham City (PA Central to the "west" and Reading to the "east") which were later connected by Amtrak and either leased or sold to Gotham City Railraod or maintained by Amtrak for use with such lines as the Lake Shore Limited and Accela. I put those in quotes because you'll also notice that I rotated the map. Just seemed easier to work with horizontally rather than vertically. So the North arrow on the SC map is actually pointing west. Although if anyone finds that too confusing for whatever reason I can just keep that to myself and refer to SC's north as north.


Initial development of Ensbury. Former Penn Central Line now serviing Amtrak and GCRR's R1 - Pettsburg/Ditherling Line (the Orange line on Nolan's GC transit map)


I know what you're thinking ... that this is way too nice to be Gotham. Remember, this is Uptown. Just North of here is Wayne Manor. I'm envisioning something a bit more W2W as it grows.

As always ... whatever insights or criticisms anyone may have are welcome.


So this is something I've always wanted to do and honestly never really had the guts for. Especially when you consider how many beautiul and amazing cities are showcased here. Furthermore, I know that I'm not the first and most likely neither the last to post my rendition of Gotham City. I would also like to point out the folks that have inspired to to take on this mammoth task (I might have gone a little overboard with the map); the SCUBS team (noteably Matt19), Hamish and several other members.

Initial developments:

I took the map that Hamish made and added some more outlying suburban areas adding a few tributary rivers along the way using this map from Nolan Films as further inspiration.


I didn't go to crazy ... just used Photoshop to get the map the way I wanted it. Then I made it a little bigger ... a more realistic size for a city of eight to ten million (I'll emphasize why below).

I made the config file sich that I was able to maximize options for bridges which, as we know, are abound in Gotham City. I loaded it up and came out with this monster.


So as you can see, (besides being huge) the city itself sits on a large coastal plane with some pretty flat hills leading out into the rural areas. I just remember thinking, "man, his is going to take a while."

So I do want to talk about, in depth, about my feelings on Gotham City ... my inspiration, urban planning, comics, etc, which I will in the next several posts. I'll finish this one up by asking the community here for your thoughts, critisisms and if you've grown up like I have reading just about every issue DC puts out related to the Bat Universe, how you might have read Gotham City and its development. So, wish me luck and hope to hear from some of you!

Much respesct-



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