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Adobe Springs

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About this City Journal

From a barren desert rises an oasis of civilization.

Entries in this City Journal


Nora Sullivan looked out the window of the small building the city government shared with the general store. Ten years! It had been an entire decade since she first arrived in Adobe Springs, and twelve overall since she had left New York. How things had changed! The city had blossomed in recent years, its status as a trading center bringing an influx of money and people. Its overall population continued to trail nearby Fiero, but another decade would likely change that.


Yet despite all this progress, the mayor and his board still seemed to think Adobe was the small frontier village it stopped being years ago. The small school and church (right of the water tower) were built for a city half the size, and would need expansion soon.

And the city government was still headquartered in that small corner building! Nora had been pestering her superiors to fund a dedicated city hall, but only with her recent promotion to city planner and the discovery of gold in the area had her proposal been approved.


After much deliberation a site had been selected (the block in the center of the picture). The residents put up a fight, especially the owner of the mansion (one of only a handful in the entire town), but they were eventually...persuaded to leave. Nora never really knew how it had happened, only that it did.


The block was cleared, and construction commenced quickly.


By the beginning of 1886, a year after the proposal passed, city hall was completed. The benefits of the new city hall soon became apparent, as wealthier residents swarmed the area, building nicer homes and lifting the neighboorhood's look immensely.


Though part of the reason for the influx of wealthier residents to the city center could be attributed to the town dump that had been layed out a few years back. It had filled up quickly, and relieved Adobe Springs' chronic trash problem.

The industrial sector had also expanded over the last ten years, its growth threatening to revoke Fiero's status as the dominant industrial center in the region. Nora was pushing to move the industry wholesale south of the railroad to clean the river of the horrible pollution that currently afflicted it, but so far all her arguments had done was create a bigger factory sector that only aggravated the current problem.


These issues, though, mattered little in the big sweep of history that was to come. Nora knew that. Adobe Springs was on its way to great things, and she was lucky enough to be along for the ride.


Adobe Springs

Fiero would recover from the fire, but Nora wouldn't be there to see it. She had decided to leave. To get away from the memories of her best friend, who she'd never see again.

She'd seen the flyers advertising the new town, Adobe Springs, and after the completion of a new road connecting Adobe Springs to settlements in the north it had become a trading center, and the town was booming.


She stepped off the train - again. Adobe's station was smaller than Fiero's and a lot simpler. So was the town itself, for now, anyway, but she knew it wouldn't stay that way for long. Adobe Springs was growing at a rapid rate; new city blocks were being added weekly, it sounded like. There were even rumors of gold in the area.

She had a bit more cash now than when she arrived in Fiero, and was able to hire a carriage ride to the city center.


While the overall population was still lower than Fiero's, Adobe Springs had a larger commercial sector and was on its way to becoming the region's business center. This was all thanks to the new northern road (and a soon-to-be completed southern extension); the growth was sure to continue.

Oddly, though, there was no dedicated City Hall; surely one would be built soon. For now a green-and-white corner building served as a makeshift substitute.


Looking north, she saw the new road stretching to the northern mountains and beyond.


She was able to quickly buy a house, and found a job too. But not in industry this time. Not after the fire. Nora got a job at the makeshift City Hall instead as a file clerk; she was looking forward to seeing the of running a town first-hand. It would take her mind off why she was there, anyway.

Hopefully this time the fresh start she was looking for would last.




Fiero was doing well. Streets had been layed out ahead of new development, in the correct assumption that they would be needed later.


With the recently constructed railroad and influx of settlers from the East, houses went up quickly. Soon enough the empty city blocks were filled:


Things were going well, indeed.

Nora's life was also going well. Her pay was decent, and while working conditions left something to be desired she was earning a living. She'd made some friends, among them John Harper. Every day he made her grimy life a bit brighter. He was also new to the area, but unlike Nora he came from Virginia. She wasn't sure what it was that made her like him so much. Maybe it was his jokes; maybe it was the fact that he was never in a bad mood. Whatever. She liked him, and that's what mattered.

It was almost the end of her shift. Fifteen hours of long, hard work. She was exhausted, like she was every afternoon, and couldn't wait to get home.

"Another day, another dollar!" grinned John.

Nora smiled back. He said the same thing every day.

She grabbed her stuff and made to leave. As she walked down the street towards her house, she heard a loud boom and turned around. What was this?


The building next to her factory had exploded, causing the entire block to catch fire!


Quickly, the factory caught fire as well and burned. Before long, nothing was left but ashes.


It was gone. All gone! Everything had been going so well, only to be destroyed in moments. Could things get worse? At least she still had a home...

No, it could get worse. Within hours of the fire, she got the news. John was dead.



She was surprised by how quickly it happened. After two days at the local inn, Nora signed the deal on her first house. It wasn't much larger than her old New York apartment, but it would do for now.


The same day Nora also signed on as a worker in one of those new-fangled factories.


It was a good start. Fiero was growing, prospering, and she would follow.

Or would she? On her third day in town, she saw a flier requesting workers to settle in a new town. On the poster was an artists' rendition of a bird's eye view of the new settlement:


It had only been incorporated three years before. The name of the town? Adobe Springs. While Nora liked being out on the frontier, Adobe Springs was perhaps too much of a "frontier town". She'd stay in Fiero for now, but maybe someday...



Nora Sullivan looked out her train window. Sand and rocks stretched to infinity. She couldn't hear the outside over the thundering roar of the steam engine, but imagined it was oppressively silent. Some might find the sparse, noiseless desert depressing. She thought it was beautiful.

The roar of the locomotive was suddenly accompanied by the grinding screech of brakes. The shout of "Fiero Station!" somehow carried itself over the noise. Time to get off.

Nora grabbed her suitcase - her only possession - and disembarked. Fiero Station was small, simple, uncomplicated. From what she had heard, so was the town of Fiero itself.


According to the last census - taken three years ago, in 1870 - Fiero had well under 5,000 souls in total - a big difference from where Nora came from. No, this was definitely not New York. There were people here, for sure, and it was busy for a town in the middle of nowhere, but it wasn't the bustling haven of chaos that was the Big Apple. Nor was it Ireland, Nora's first home. She couldn't remember Ireland very well; her main memory was being hungry. She wouldn't be hungry here.

Times were good out west, or so she heard - finding a job, and a home, would be easy.


She headed downtown. It was a long, smelly walk through the industrial sector north of the river - what was the name of that river? She couldn't remember. But it was dirty. Hopefully the rest of the town wasn't like this.


Thankfully it wasn't. Downtown was quite pretty - the main streets were even paved! Times were good indeed. The highlight was definitely City Hall - a recently built, Colonial-style brick building. She went inside.

The clerk looked up. "What can I do for ya?"

Nora replied in her slight Irish accent.

"A job, ya say?" said the clerk cheerfully. "We've got plenty o' those. Ya look new - I imagine you want a house too? There are a couple new ones out on the east side for rent. Not exactly palaces, but I think they'll suit ya just fine."

Things were working out. She looked at the map on the wall. Fiero - her new home. She was excited to be here, out on the frontier. Life was a bit wilder here, but, she hoped, it would also be more fulfilling.

What she didn't know was that it wouldn't remain a frontier for long.


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