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A U.S. city that never was [almost but not quite AH]

Md139115

You have not even begun to grasp the madness
#21
One could just have Dakota admitted as a single state and it’s still a fifty-state union.
I’ll confess that my initial thought, based on how much of Oregon was carved out to create the new state, was to reward it with a chunk of the thicker part of Idaho, give Washington the thinner part, and the remainder of the state be given to Wyoming (complete with adjustments to its Utah and Montana borders for asthetics’s sake). Something like this:

0D36AAA9-FFA5-4D77-8AA0-1908088CA0A0.jpeg

(And sorry for image quality, quick little thing done on iPhone)

But I’m almost certain that there’s probably a reason somewhere why the congresses of the mid-19th Century would be dead-set against this. Eh, one can dream...
 

Ciclavex

Ciclavex Jarl av Nya Sverige
Moderator
Patreon supporter
Location
Penn’s Woods
#22
I’ll confess that my initial thought, based on how much of Oregon was carved out to create the new state, was to reward it with a chunk of the thicker part of Idaho, give Washington the thinner part, and the remainder of the state be given to Wyoming (complete with adjustments to its Utah and Montana borders for asthetics’s sake). Something like this:

View attachment 8458

(And sorry for image quality, quick little thing done on iPhone)

But I’m almost certain that there’s probably a reason somewhere why the congresses of the mid-19th Century would be dead-set against this. Eh, one can dream...
I don’t remember enough details of why those particular states were drawn that way to give a good answer. It was probably, as with most western states, part geography, part special interests, part population and part nice neat lines.
 

Burton K Wheeler

Itinerant Frontier Hobo
Location
garbage can
#23
I’ll confess that my initial thought, based on how much of Oregon was carved out to create the new state, was to reward it with a chunk of the thicker part of Idaho, give Washington the thinner part, and the remainder of the state be given to Wyoming (complete with adjustments to its Utah and Montana borders for asthetics’s sake). Something like this:

View attachment 8458

(And sorry for image quality, quick little thing done on iPhone)

But I’m almost certain that there’s probably a reason somewhere why the congresses of the mid-19th Century would be dead-set against this. Eh, one can dream...
I don’t remember enough details of why those particular states were drawn that way to give a good answer. It was probably, as with most western states, part geography, part special interests, part population and part nice neat lines.
The Oregon and Washington territories were split in 1853 along the Columbia and 46th parallel. Oregon was admitted as a state in 1859, minus the country east of the Snake River. Keep in mind that the Snake runs through Hells Canyon where it forms the border of Idaho and Oregon, plus that country was desert and mostly uninhabited. At that point, the remainder of the territory was attached to Washington territory, because it was unpopulated and there was no logical place to govern it from.

Idaho Territory (Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho) was created from the unorganized parts of Washington Territory (west of the Divide) and Dakota Territory (east of the Divide) in 1863. The only significant settlement at that point was gold camps around Lewiston, in northern Idaho, which became the territorial capitol. That winter, there were a bunch of vigilante killings at the new gold fields in Bannock, just west of the Divide. That prompted Congress to split Montana away from the Idaho territory. The boundary was drawn on the Bitterroot Divide, not the Continental Divide, because there was a nest of outlaws in the Hell Gate area (now Missoula, Montana) that Idaho didn't want to deal with. I'm not sure when the Bitterroot divide was surveyed. Wyoming was split off from Idaho in 1868. Its western boundary is supposed to approximate the Continental Divide, but river and straight line boundaries are much more practical than divide ones.

EDIT: Idaho-Montana border wasn't surveyed until 1904. I recall reading that Idaho wanted Hell Gate in Montana, but the website I found said that the Montana delegation chose the Bitterroot divide and the Idaho people were disappointed. Either way, the Bitterroot divide is just about as good a divide as the Continental one.

So there is some solid logic behind the Montana/Wyoming/Idaho split. If Oregon did go past the Snake to the Divide, you'd probably have an "Idaho" (or Montana, the three territory names were conceived before anyone was sure what territory to apply them to) consisting of northern Idaho and Western Montana, and a Montana or Wyoming consisting of Montana and Wyoming east of the Divide.

I would draw the (straight line) northern border of Jefferson in such a way that the Willamette and Deschutes entirely in Oregon and its southern border so the Sacramento (minus the Pit River) is entirely in California, then the eastern border would be the OTL California border. That makes Jefferson include the Rogue and Klamath watersheds almost entirely. Probably the 43rd parallel North to the 41st?
 
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Md139115

You have not even begun to grasp the madness
#24
I just realized something a bit awkward while trying to come up with a map for this state (and some proposed changes based on my "Idaho delenda est!" kick that I'm currently on). California was only a US territory between 1848-1850 before becoming a state, mostly due to the Gold Rush that started in 1848 before Guadalupe Hidalgo was even signed. That does not give the good souls of Jefferson much time to claim a chunk of CA to add to their existing holdings in Oregon, especially if the Californian legislature realizes there's gold along the Klamath and the upper reaches of the Sacramento. How can Northern CA be lopped off then to become Jeffersonian clay?
 

Burton K Wheeler

Itinerant Frontier Hobo
Location
garbage can
#25
I just realized something a bit awkward while trying to come up with a map for this state (and some proposed changes based on my "Idaho delenda est!" kick that I'm currently on). California was only a US territory between 1848-1850 before becoming a state, mostly due to the Gold Rush that started in 1848 before Guadalupe Hidalgo was even signed. That does not give the good souls of Jefferson much time to claim a chunk of CA to add to their existing holdings in Oregon, especially if the Californian legislature realizes there's gold along the Klamath and the upper reaches of the Sacramento. How can Northern CA be lopped off then to become Jeffersonian clay?
The Jefferson settlers are up in the Oregon/Mexican California no man's land there prior to 1848, and agitate for the creation of their own territory separate from Oregon and from California. They have some kind of political sway in one of the East Coast states that persuades Congress to do this. California won't mind losing a distant and sparsely inhabited chunk of itself, most likely.
 

Md139115

You have not even begun to grasp the madness
#26
Alright, here's something awful looking that I made up in MS Paint real quick.

Jefferson is precisely as you suggested and outlined in red. It actually has really interesting borders. Eureka, CA sits 14 miles south of the border, Crater Lake less than two miles within Jefferson's borders, and most of the northern fields of the California Gold Rush sit squarely in this state. It would be a very interesting place, even if it didn't have a unique history differentiating it from the other Pacific Coast states.

The rest of the map and all it's horrors are a bit of wider AH worldbuilding I indulged in as a possible suggestion. Obviously, the pre-1848 border between the US and Mexico was on the 42nd Parallel. With Jefferson taking up to the 43rd though, someone is going to look at a map and realize that there is nothing of value in the whole rest of the Oregon Country below that line up until the Snake River. Ergo, I extended the line west to the Snake River, and gave everything below it to the Utah territory. With Nevada having the silver and Utah having the polygamists, I decided to keep the border shifting westward from the 116th to 114th Meridians as OTL. Likewise Colorado in its present borders.

Now… I tried so hard to kill Idaho. I really did. But every time I thought I had things done perfectly, there would be some fact I would discover that would force me to start from scratch. Instead, I have let it live. In sadness I give up and let it live. I even give it the Continental Divide as it's border rather than the Bitterroot just to make the map neater.

However, I am optimistic that it may be possible to kill Wyoming. :)

untitled.png
 

Burton K Wheeler

Itinerant Frontier Hobo
Location
garbage can
#27
Interesting, I hadn't thought about the 43rd parallel intersecting the Snake like that. It does make Nevada a much more interesting state. The one question I have is whether the Federal government would give Utah any more territory than it already had. The 42nd parallel also (kind of) makes a watershed boundary there, with Utah having the Basin and Oregon Territory having the Snake. Maybe Nevada gets its border moved north when the territory is created and the Colorado River stays in Arizona. I think it got moved to punish Arizona for siding with the South, but the Snake valley is more valuable than Las Vegas.

Also, it's easy to get rid of Wyoming. Just split Idaho at the Salmon (46th parallel is probably the best way to do it) and say its eastern border is the Continental Divide. Then have the state east of the Divide go all the way from the 42nd parallel to the 49th.

Another thing I thought about is to bring the Jefferson border down to the 40th parallel, but that, as you said, takes a bite out of the California goldfields. The version as is looks about West Virginia size. If Jefferson was 43rd-40th, it would parallel Washington (49th to 46th) and Oregon (46th to 43rd)'s north-south distance, but I doubt if a Senator with map-related OCD like mine would trump John Fremont.
 
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Burton K Wheeler

Itinerant Frontier Hobo
Location
garbage can
#28
One thing Port Franklin has is a seedy Atlantic City-type casino district, or outlying town. I was thinking of there being a beachfront tourist area comparable to Newport, Oregon or Ocean Shores, Washington in Port Franklin. Or a Western Atlantic City. I don't think Jefferson would have Nevada-style loose vice laws so much as it might want its entertainment district to consist of a few big players like A.C. always did. Would Quaker liberals be okay with regulated casinos?
A.C. was, of course, the playground of New York and Philadelphia, Las Vegas of L.A., and Reno of San Francisco. So Jefferson won't really be a tourist destination for its casinos so much as people from Port Franklin will have a place that's "going to the beach" for them.
After the shipbuilding industry starts shutting down in the 1970's, the city falls on hard times. Jersey legalized A.C. gambling in 1977. Also, Bryan vs Itasca went to the Supreme Court in the mid-70's (I always forget between Bryan and the Boldt decision which happened in 1974 and which in 1976). You could have a small Indian community not far from the old tourist beach that opens a casino that in turn drives some tourist trade to the old beachfront.
 

Md139115

You have not even begun to grasp the madness
#29
Another thing I thought about is to bring the Jefferson border down to the 40th parallel, but that, as you said, takes a bite out of the California goldfields.
Well at 41st, it already takes a good chunk of the gold fields. Moving it down to 40th swallows the northern field whole.
 

Burton K Wheeler

Itinerant Frontier Hobo
Location
garbage can
#33
It might not be... so long as the Californians don’t realize what they’re sitting on...
So apparently the first people into the goldfields left their farms in Oregon, or I could be misremembering something I read years ago. The first ships didn't come in for almost a year. Either way, the Port Franklin people have as much if not more claim on the gold than California. They've been there a few years longer than most of the California people, too.

The question is still who exactly it is who settled there in the late 1840's and how exactly Congress declares it its own territory, but I don't think that's critical.
 

Md139115

You have not even begun to grasp the madness
#34
So apparently the first people into the goldfields left their farms in Oregon, or I could be misremembering something I read years ago. The first ships didn't come in for almost a year. Either way, the Port Franklin people have as much if not more claim on the gold than California. They've been there a few years longer than most of the California people, too.

The question is still who exactly it is who settled there in the late 1840's and how exactly Congress declares it its own territory, but I don't think that's critical.
Makes enough sense.

And I have a premonition that one day, far off into the future after we’re gone, “So apparently the first people into the goldfields left their farms in Oregon“ will be used to justify Cascadia Irredenta.
 

Burton K Wheeler

Itinerant Frontier Hobo
Location
garbage can
#35
We've talked about the 19th century, now what about the 20th?

RADICAL POLITICS IN PORT FRANKLIN

One thing that these West Coast timber ports like Aberdeen had in the early 20th Century was Communists. A lot of the people who came to work in the timber industry were Finnish immigrants from Russia, and a lot of Finns were Communists.

Finnish Americans became the victims of ethnic slurs after socialist-leaning Finnish immigrants began to settle in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. Finnish immigrant promoters of labor activism prompted racist responses directed at all Finnish Americans. The racist response reached its apex in 1908, when "established" Americans turned to the power of federal law, bringing to federal district court the deportation trial of one John Swan, a Finnish immigrant worker. According to Carl Ross in The Finn Factor, the unusual argument that Finns were actually of Mongolian descent—and therefore subject to the Asian Exclusion Act—hit many Finnish Americans hard and polarized the community into two camps, one conservative, identifying itself as "True Finns," and the other socialist, promoting American citizenship to its membership. In spite of efforts on both sides, various vigilante activities continued against Finnish Americans even into the late 1930s, as the 1939 wrecking of the Finn Hall in Aberdeen, Washington, attests. Being called a "Finn-LAND-er" became "fighting words" to both first and second generation Finnish Americans.

Stereotyping hastened Finnish assimilation into the American mainstream. As white Europeans, they could do just that. Some Finnish Americans anglicized their names and joined American churches and clubs. Others, identifying themselves as indelibly connected to America's racial minorities, entered into marriages with Native Americans, creating a group of people known in Minnesota and Michigan as "Finndians."
Also, this: http://www.historylink.org/File/9260
And this: http://depts.washington.edu/labhist/cpproject/ko.shtml
 

Burton K Wheeler

Itinerant Frontier Hobo
Location
garbage can
#36
I'm reading a book called The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit. I mentioned it to @Ciclavex at dinner the other night because in the preface the author live in the same part of Philadelphia cites his neighborhood as an example of a good urban community in contrast to Detroit.

Haven't finished it yet, but one thing that makes Detroit different from other big American cities is that there were very few housing projects. Project housing attracted lots of black residents in the 50's and 60's because of redlining and so on. The reason none got built in Detroit was because there was no political machine to award lucrative city contracts and black Detroiters had very little political sway in the 1950's. Attempts to build them were foiled by various conservatives, usually as part of grassroots revolts by white working-class voters.

This makes me even more committed to ensuring that Port Franklin has a political machine that includes black elements starting in the late 19th century. I'm going to use Philadelphia as a model, and like Philadelphia, the machine will switch from being Republican to Democratic right after WWII.
 

Burton K Wheeler

Itinerant Frontier Hobo
Location
garbage can
#38
What was the original project you invented the city for?
Not really a "project", I'm just creating a bunch of stuff to teach myself Python. I have the vague idea that I'm making a browser game that would basically be a MMORPG based on Chicago-type gangs where you have the goal of expanding your gang in a generic city against rivals, but I really doubt any aspect of this will ever see the light of day. Since I'm an obsessive nerd, I got way way too into creating "generic city" and it became an AH project in its own right.
 
#40
@Burton K Wheeler Do you have JSTOR access? This article by Dorothy Johansen looks at how West Coast states developed different cultural characters. It's a little speculative but might be a good read for your project.

(TLDR: Early settlers' state of origin is important, and so is how the territory was marketed - California was sold as an adventure, the Willamette Valley as a comfortable land of plenty.)