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About this City Journal

This journal focuses on the fictional Pacific Northwestern town of New Market and it's neighbors as they grow into a metropolis. This is an historical CJ, based on realistic growth and...

Entries in this City Journal


With the end of the Great Depression, and the WWII and postwar economic boom, New Market has grown by leaps and bounds. Here we are in 1952:


This map shows the 1935 borders in red, and the expanded borders in blue. Most of the blue area is postwar residential single-family housing to fill the demand of the returning GIs and their growing families in what is beginning to be recognized as a "baby boom."


As you can see, the downtown has developed considerably. While still a small city by most standards, it is now the 3rd largest in the Pacific Northwest, after Seattle and Portland


As downtown real estate prices have climbed, commercial development has pushed westward all the way to Columbia Street, replacing much of the older housing: The main exception to this are the blocks with apartments, as the costs and legal issues involved make such redevelopment unattractive. The blurred area shows these residential enclaves in the downtown area


This stately building to the right is the administrative headquarters of the Holden Lumber Co, and leases space to many other fine companies as well.


A new theater and several fancy department stores have been built along the newly designated State Highway 99 as it passes through town.


Closer to the industrial area, Highway 99 gets rather seedy:


When 5th Ave was widened to accomodate the highway it was necessary to knock down a few of the older civic structures that were beginning to be overcrowded anyway. The tall white building is the new city hall (the old city hall building to the right is undergoing renovation now, but despite weekly commitee meetings, no one is quite sure what the city will do with the building once the work is done) Across the street is the new County building, which also handles State business until a new State Capitol can be built.


Even Chinatown has flourished - the open-air market has been twice saved from redevelopment by community action, and is in the process of becoming designated as an Historic Landmark to prevent future attempts. Meanwhile, some businesses operated by and catering to the local Asian population have sprung up nearby.chinatown.jpg

But not all the economic news is rosy. Changing tastes, and competition from the newer and more upscale department stores have left this old downtown gem sadly neglected:


The old industrial area is becoming rather dilapidated as well. The older factories here face heavy competition from the newer and better serviced industrial areas at Crook's Bend and Cedar River. Additionally, the factories have to deal with heavy traffic nearby, higher taxes, and battles rage weekly in the City Council about the pollution, noise and crime associated with this area Still it does provide a lot of local jobs, so just about everyone treads carefully around the subject:


Well, this update is shaking up to be much bigger than I realized it would be, so having shown off the downtown, I think I'll call it an update, and show some of the development around the outskirts next time.


In the Navy

After the Pearl Harbor disaster, the United States Navy decided to relocate to the Pacific Coast. While the Navy Headquarters ended up in San Diego, the protected harbors of Puget Sound were a natural place to establish a number of secondary bases. Here is Fort Hugo in 1948:basez.jpg

While the fort is mainly designed for local security and naval operations facilities, there is a drydock for the repair of capital ships. Here is the USS Mitchell.


There is also a submarine pen, as the strategic implications of a strong submarine fleet were amply demonstrated during World War II. Also pictured is the mess hall.

messd.jpgEntry to the base is controlled by a checkpoint - access to the actual waterfront facilities have additional security. The base has a self-contained electrical generation and distribuition network. There is talk of connecting it to the main regional power grid to save money, but the remote location of the base has made that difficult.  barracks.jpgThere's Fort Hugo. Small and compact for now, but with military competition with the Soviet Union already flaring up, it will not likely last that way for long.

Next update, wel'll check back and see how the city of New Market is doing.


Smalltown USA

Now we come to a quick look at a few of the smaller towns in the region. First we have the town of Arlington:

arlington.jpgAs the economy and development picked up in the Nisqually River towns, many farmers found themselves priced out of those neighborhoods. So in the true pioneering spirit, a group of them settled on the edge of the farmland to the east of Whitman. Almost all of the town is small residential development - Students are bussed to the schools in other towns.

There is a small commercial strip on the edge of town. Just a gas station and some cheap shops and restaurants.


There is a small farmer's market near the edge of town that is becoming quite popular through the region.


Next is the even smaller town of Sultan:

sultan.jpgOriginally this intersection of farm roads held a seed supply, a hardware store and a general goods shop. Over time, it developed into a genuine (if small) town center, and a few blocks of modest housing were built around it. Note that even in a peaceful town like this, tragedy can strike. This house will be known as the "murder house" for decades.


On the whole, Sultan is fairly poor. Even the fancier homes in town are rather poorly maintained.


Finally, we have one of the most interesting communities in the region, Novye Morya. In the 1870s , a group of Russian Jews fleeing the Russo-Turkish War settled a small island in Puget Sound, making this the second-oldest town in the region, after New Market:


While most of the economy of the town is based around fishing and farming, there is a small industrial quarter mostly connected to processing the abundant tin ore on the southern part of the island.


The oldest synagogue in the region, and for a long time the only one.  The only other one is in New Market, built by former Novye Morya residents.


The town is very proud to maintain an excellent K-12 school. However, the more ambitious and wealthy students are often sent to the dedicated high schools in New Market, most of whom stay there after graduation. So the town is experiencing a significant brain drain and greying population for such a small town.


That's if for the small town showcase. Next up - the Spoils of War.


A few maps

Here is the region as it currently looks. I still have a bit of detail work in a few places, but this is pretty close to how it looks by 1936.  Note that the urban and industrial areas are largely confined to waterways. Also, the farmland only exists in the flood plains of the rivers, as the soil isn't very suitable elsewhere (either too marshy and brackish in the NE area, or stripped of nutrients from Ice Age glaciation and flooding) The rivers flow into the natural harbor of Olympic Bay, which opens up into Puget Sound. The town of New Market itself is near the center of the map, where the White and Nisqually rivers flow into the bay.


The three main waterways from West to East:

Cedar River - Not actually a river, but an inlet. The port facilities are at the mouth to the NE. At the end of the inlet, there is an industrial complex, and some housing


White River and Pine Lake:

Lakewood is to the south, and New Market is to the north. The large sawmill complex is just south of New Market along the river.


Nisqually River: Most fertile agricultural area in the region. There are several incorporated towns in the area, so I'll follow this map with one that shows the town boundaries.


1) New Market

2) Jefferson

3) Nisqually

4) Whitman

5) Sultan


Bitter Lake:


The transportation system is really too simple at this point to be of much interest. Other than local streets, there are the Northern Pacific Railroad and State Highway 99, which both follow a parallel course entering the region from the south, travel though New Market, and exit to the east just south of Bitter Lake.

That's the region in a nutshell. Next up, a few of the smaller communities scattered around the region.


Back again after a bit of a break from Sim City.  In 1916, some hunters up on a ridge above Bitter Lake discovered an exposed coal seam. It was soon discovered to be a very high quality low-sulphur coal, and a railroad spur along the New Market-Tacoma line was built. Here is the south end of Bitter Lake (a very neat looking body of water that is unfortunately spread between a few tiles. Need to do some region shots soon).


Coal veins run all through the ridge to the south of the lake, and mines were built at the crest to take advantage of them.


The initial mines were of a traditional construction - a minehead led to a network of tunnels through the ridge. Rail facilities allow for easy transportation of the mined coal.


Later, it was found to be more economical to simply dig large pits on the top of the ridge to expose the coal directly.


As the mine is somewhat remote from the other towns in the region, a small unincorporated area has sprung up between the mine and the lake. While the housing is mostly small and cheap, they are very well maintained, and since almost everyone is connected to the mining industry, it is a very close-knit neighborhood that watches out for one another. The area is lacking in social services - Children are bussed to school in Jefferson, and most other civic services are administered through the county seat in New Market.


Once the mining really got into full production, the Franklin Mining Co. decided that they could make even more money if they could sell the coal directly to the Pacific Coast markets instead of selling it cheaply to wholesalers in Portland and Tacoma.  So they built a small port at the south end of the Olympic Bay, just north of New Market:


The initial port facility was just a simple dock for loading coal onto cargo ships. Not much more than some landfill with a reinforced seawall and a couple of cranes.


Other businesses in the area  soon saw the value of shipping by boat, and formed a joint shipping consortium which expanded the port with a series of warehouse facilities:


The port has been reasonably successful, and there is some talk of expanding it, but this is hampered by the lack of direct rail access to the port, and by the ongoing Depression.

That's all for now. Next up will probably be some region shots and maps.



Whitman is the final town along the Nisqually River, and is the second-largest town in the area.


The town itself is largely residential, with only a small commercial strip near the river:


It also has a brand-new elementary and high school which were recently expanded to service the nearby towns of Sultan and Arlington, as well as the local kids.


The major industry for the area (as with the other river towns) is agriculture. While only a few of the town residents work on the farms anymore, most are employed in the food-processing center across the river:


Because the region is so remote from other markets, fresh produce can only be sold locally. James Watson built this vegetable cannery in 1912 and the planted acreage tripled within a decade.


By the late 1920s, the cannery was running well over its designed capacity, and more farmland was being cleared every year, so Watson's company built a new facility:


This area also features a large warehouse, and grain elevator, plus a small lumberyard, a few bakeries, a milk processing plant and some other assorted industries.


That concludes our visit to the Nisqually River towns. Next up,  new economic news.



The second town along the Nisqually River is Nisqually itself.  It is situated in the middle of an S-bend in the river


Nisqually really began in 1882 when  Ivar Hansen realized that the bend in the river would be a perfect place for a river crossing. (at the time, the only bridge was the rail bridge near the mouth of the river). He quietly bought up the land on both sides of the river from homesteaders, then turned around and mortgaged them to finance a bridge. This quickly attracted settlement and commerce to the area, and Ivar sold the land 10 years later making him one of the richest men in the state overnight. Since then, the town has continued to grow and prosper. Ivar's bridge:


Nisqually High School was built and maintained largely out of a charitable trust arranged by Hansen in his will. It is generally regarded as the best high school in the region


The school campus also features a library and pool that is open to the public, as old Ivar was very keen on fitness and self-improvement:


Like the other towns along the river, there is a small industrial fringe near the railroad:


However there is no other heavy industry in the area, with the exception of this large fertilizer plant:


A nearby farm has recently been chosen as the permament home for the Washington State Fair! Facilities are still pretty minimal at this point.


Next stop is Whitman, the final town along the river, and then probably some regional shots and information.


Jefferson-Crook's Bend

The rich volcanic soil and clean, fresh water along the Nisqually River is well-suited to farmland, but the remoteness of the area and the small local population has made large scale farming unprofitable until recently. A group of local business and civic leaders from the towns along the river, armed with some investment capital from San Francisco formed a railroad company and built a spur off of the main Northern Pacific line along the river. As a result, the towns and farmland have expanded dramatically. The first of these is the town of Jefferson:


The high school services the local farm children in the area, along with the town kids:


There is not a lot of civic infrastructure in Jefferson, but the people here like it that way. A water tower, a sherrif's station and a town hall are about it:


Industries clustered along the railroad:


Most of the housing stock in town are these "kit" houses. Mass-produced plans and materials are shipped to the property, and assembled on site. Hugely popular throughout the US in the mid 20th century:


This bend, near the mouth of the river is known as Crook's Bend, due to its popularity with smugglers during prohibition. With a rail, road and water intersection, the area is perfect for an industrial district. The residential area below is half of an unincorporated development between the White and Nisqually River. While it is not part of any city or town, it is aligned to the New Market grid:


Road and rail bridges crossing the river - a similar pair crosses the White River, connecting this area to New Market:


Any growing area needs a cement plant nearby. Ideally, they are located near water to facilitate shipping gravel by barge:


There are quite a few attractive brick factories in the area, although they have recently gone out of style due to earthquake concerns:



That's all for this time. Next update, will visit the town of Nisqually.


Across the Olympic Bay from New Market, is a small peninsula containing the Richmond Beach State Park. It is a pretty remote location for a park, but it contains the oldest structure in the whole region:


Soon after the British exploration of Puget Sound under George Vancouver's expedition, the Hudson Bay Company petitioned the Crown  to build a fort and dock to protect their claims in Puget Sound from natives, Spaniards and Russians. However, soon after it was built the whole territory came under joint British-American occupation, and the fort was abandoned. By the time the Washington territory was declared sole US land, the fort had become obsolete, and the land was given to the territorial, and then state government. One of the many recent New Deal projects was to restore the fort and dock, and turn the area into a state park. This is Fort Richmond, and next to is is a Botanical Garden.


A reconstruction of one of the typical sailing ships of the era when the fort was in use:


A couple shots of the boardwalk:



A park wouldn't be complete without some sports fields:


A beautiful day over Puget Sound:


That's Richmond Beach. Next up, we'll visit the towns along the Nisqually River.



Just up the White River from New Market is the small logging town of Lakewood. Unlike New Market, Lakewood has not managed to diversify its economic base, and remains rather poor and small. It does have a certain "Wild West" charm though, with some of the oldest buildings in the whole region.


As the logging for the Holden Sawmill moved upriver, the growing distance demanded the creation of some permament infrastructure. This location was chosen due to its proximity to a good sized lake that fed the White River. A dock built here would be easily able to transport logs harvested anywhere in the area downriver to the mill. Once a railroad spur was built, the dock fell into disuse, although it recently enjoyed a revival of business (of the illicit nature) during Prohibition:


This is the end of the rail spurrailline.jpg

Logs are brought to this yard via truck and tractor, and loaded onto waiting trains with the crane:


A small commercial area developed around the trainyard:


Closeup of downtown. Polly's Diner is beloved through the whole region for its pies. Note that Lakewood is rustic enough that bears sometimes wander into town.


These houses were originally built by the railroad, and rented to the occupants.  Cheaply built, poorly maintained, and aging the area has developed into a dismal slum, with the ongoing Depression making things even worse. Nearly everyone who can afford to lives in New Market and commutes by train. While there are many opinions on how the town could be revitalized, the money is just not there.


The area between the town and Pine Lake was completely clearcut about 50 years ago, but is recovering nicely:


A recently abandoned clearcut:


2nd generation logging along the railroad:


Most of the logging going on right now is in the untapped forest north of the lake.


That's Lakewood! Hopefully the next time we see it, things will be looking up. Next update, we'll see the oldest settlement in the region. I'm hoping to get some region shots ready soon, but I'm trying to get the whole region up to the '30s.


New Market

When we last saw the town of New Market, it was a small, hardscrabble frontier town reeling from a devastating fire. But thanks to the sawmill (which survived intact), the new railroad line, and several waves of gold rushes on the Fraser River and the Yukon, the town soon grew even larger than before. Here is New Market in 1935:


Here is the (amended) town incorporation map, showing the main legal organization of the town.

1) The small brown square is the original pre-fire borders of the town

2) The large mauve square is the 1898 town plat incorporated shortly after Washington became a state.

3) The green corridor is the Northern Pacific railroad and right-of way

4) The blue area is an area held under a 100-year lease to Northern Pacific in exchange for their building rail inftrastructure throughout it.

5) The red square is the first new residential zoning since the 1898 plat. It will most likeley be added to the main town incorporation, once the paperwork goes through City Hall, but this remains a bit controversial, as the location contains the local "Chinatown."


While there have been occasional negotiations to open up the NP land to development, they have always broken down in the face of unfavorable terms offered by the railroad and the vast acreage of land practically free for the taking throughout the region. The only buildings are rail infrastructure. Also, unlike most of the nearby area, it has never been logged, leaving an impressive stand of old-growth forest.


Even though the economic base of the town has grown and diversified greatly since the old days, the Holden Sawmill is still the town's largest single employer.  Logs are delivered by rail to the main complex in the center, and finished lumber is stored and shipped in the facilities to the left.  The original sawmill building is obsolete, and now mostly used for the storage and repair of industrial machinery.


A closeup of the main mill complex:


Industrial development along the river:


A closeup showing rail access to industry. Northern Pacific has made a fortune in rent from the factories in the area, long ago recouping its original investment in infrastructure.  But the town has also benefited from all of the economic activity. The river is rather polluted though, prompting many a citizen to propose renaming it from the White River to the Black.


The original town plat specified a strip of stores and other commercial development through the town center on Columbia Street, so the street is lined with old brick buildings from the turn of the century:


Since then, though, most new commercial development in the last 2 decades has been concentrated in the area between Main and Spruce streets, on the south edge of town, near the factories. This 1916 department store was once considered the finest shopping establishment in the state, and remains popular to this day:


New Market even has one of these new "super-markets" that are starting to spring up all over the country:


Most of the housing in the residential areas is solidly middle-class:


Along with a few blocks of mansions:


Most of the poorer residents live in the rowhouses and apartments built between Spruce and Cedar Streets. Zoning for this was a huge political fight, but the only realistic alternative was to build many blocks of substandard housing around the edge of the city:


To everyone's surprise, one block in this area soon attracted many of the upper-middle class residentes thanks largely to the proximity to the excellent Seward Elementary School, and many of the most prestigious office buildings in town. The cheap apartments were quickly demolished, and new luxury condos were built in their place:


This area also boasts the largest church in the region:


Most of the civic buildings in town are centered around 5th and Columbia Streets. From right to left, the firehouse, the main library, and the State Supreme Court building. Underneath is Garfield High School. To the right is the town courthouse and City hall. Underneath those are the State Capitol and Governer's Mansion, New Market having narrowly been selected as the location of the State Capitol over Vancouver and Seattle.


Here is a front view of Garfield High, since it is such a great BAT:


The city leaders were also able to arrange for New Market to be selected as the site of the University of Washington. Part of this deal was for a campus to be built within 5 years of Washington becoming a state, so a small campus was built near the high school. Recently, many prominent locals have begun to spread the feeling that the state university deserves a grander setting, and a philantropic trust has been established for the purpose of acquiring land and building a new campus. But this is it for now:


Here is the local Chinatown (so-named - actually a majority of the residents are of Japanese origin). As mentioned earlier, this is the first new area of residential zoning since the town's 1898 incorporation. Despite the political fight over incorporating this area into the town proper and a vague reputation as "unsafe," the markets and shops are very popular among the locals.


Well, that's New Market in the '30s. Next update will be the small logging town of Lakewood.



This journal is an historical account of the Pacific Northwestern town of New Market and it's surrounding area. New Market was settled near the south end of Puget Sound where the Nisqually River drains into the natural harbor of Olympic Bay (Many names are taken from real places in the area, but it is a fictional location and geography rather than a recreation) It is located near where the city of Olympia is in real life, and its history is sort of an amalgam of Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia.

My favorite playstyle for this game is to have a real sense of history for the cities as they develop, so it will start with small towns, and progress to a larger metropolis as the cities develop and grow together. I also like fairly realistic development, so I try to follow historical models for towns and cities in the area, such as:

-tightly gridded town centers

-industry centered around rail and waterways (and preferentially both)

-an economy based (initially at least) on natural resources. Logging, Coal Mining, Farming etc., rather than just zoning up some factories in the middle of nowhere. 

I'm using the New Haven Harbor map by tf923, turned upside down, so it will fit into my geography. Also using way too much custom content to even begin listing it , so if you see something of yours you have my thanks. All the great work by people making custom stuff for this game has kept it fresh for many years.

If you're like me, and would like to get your bearings first, there are a bunch of maps on Page 9.

On to some pictures!

New Market is the oldest permament American settlement in the area. Here it is in 1871:


The history of New Market really begins with the California Gold Rush of 1848. Between 1848-1850, the population of San Francisco went from under 1000 to 25000 with no signs of slowing down.  Doc Holden, a resident of Vancouver WA realized that a fortune was to be made in lumber and that the virgin forests of the newly acquired Washington Territory was the perfect source, especially with the easy transport accorded by Puget Sound. With the help of some investors and some adventurous families willing to homestead in the new terrirory, he built this sawmill at the mouth of the White River:


The mill was built right on the river so that logs could be floated down the river, and finished lumber could be shipped by boat. A close-up of the main sawmill building:


The mill was a big success as San Fransisco continued to grow (and burn down from time to time), and soon other families and businesses moved to the area. Just above the mill is Main Street. The hotel on the right was actually a bordello, and was the second largest business in town after the mill:


A view of the businesses on Market Street:


This hand-drawn map of the whole town (most of it anyway) was found in some files in the County Clerks office in 1963:


In the fall of 1877, a hot pot of glue was knocked over in the cobbler's shop, and started a fire which burned down most of the town:


Luckily, there were no deaths, and only a few injuries. More importantly, just two years earlier, the Northern Pacific Railroad built a rail between Portland and Tacoma that passed through New Market, so the town soon rebounded and grew even larger than before. We will see the results of this growth in the next chapter.

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