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

Burton K Wheeler

Old Dirty Burton, Live and Uncut
Location
garbage can
#41
@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.)
I don't have JSTOR access. I'll have to give more thought to state of origin, but I kind of like the idea that as the only West Coast state without a productive agricultural hinterland, Jefferson will have a more rough and tumble frontier mindset than the others. I also want it to be vaguely Mid-Atlantic in the same way that Washington is vaguely Yankee and California is vaguely southern (at least rural and white working-class California).

In addition black Californians are distinctively Texas and Mississippi in the same way Midwestern black people are from the Mississippi valley and and east coast black people are from the Carolinas and Georgia. Not sure exactly where I'll say Port Franklin's black migration came from, maybe directly by railroad from Mississippi via Chicago?
 

Burton K Wheeler

Old Dirty Burton, Live and Uncut
Location
garbage can
#42
Another Jefferson thought is that when the South Pass railroad is completed, Port Franklin becomes Utah's outlet to the sea. That's probably enough to give it a bit of its own 19th-century identity, though I'll have to look into when exactly the Jefferson/Utah connection would work best.

It wouldn't work for the original settlers to be Mormons because in that case the Federal government would be skeptical of giving them their own territory. Also I want the identity to be Quaker-ish, and the attitude Mormons had toward blacks, for one, wouldn't really be compatible.
 

Avalanches

FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD
Location
Tampa, FL
#43
Another Jefferson thought is that when the South Pass railroad is completed, Port Franklin becomes Utah's outlet to the sea. That's probably enough to give it a bit of its own 19th-century identity, though I'll have to look into when exactly the Jefferson/Utah connection would work best.

It wouldn't work for the original settlers to be Mormons because in that case the Federal government would be skeptical of giving them their own territory. Also I want the identity to be Quaker-ish, and the attitude Mormons had toward blacks, for one, wouldn't really be compatible.
I might have missed this earlier in the thread, but what’s the racial makeup of Port Franklin?
 

Burton K Wheeler

Old Dirty Burton, Live and Uncut
Location
garbage can
#44
I might have missed this earlier in the thread, but what’s the racial makeup of Port Franklin?
I want Port Franklin to be generically American in it demographics. Currently thinking it's a merged city-county government like Philadelphia or San Francisco so you have a lot of postwar suburbs inside the city limits (to keep up the anytown, USA identity). Something like:

White 40%
Hispanic 25%
Black 20%
Asian 9%
ME/SA 3%
Native 2%
Pacific Islander 1%

That would be in line with 2050 American demographics or with medium West Coast cities like Anchorage or Las Vegas. Having deep-rooted ethnic communities would work fine. I don't want Port Franklin to be as white as Portland, something more like Seattle.
 
#45
A more rough and tumble mentality is likely to develop a politics somewhat similar to Nevada - much more libertarian than California, both socially and economically.

Also, a community like that so close to the Oregon state line is bpund to attract black people who want the experience of the Willamette Valley, but can't due to Oregon's historic fanatical antipathy to black people.

So I can see Jefferson, despite its status as a frontier western state, to be relatively early in terms of things like civil rights, and might even try to compete with Reno as the divorce capital of America. Probably a lot of vices would be also legal (to attract daytrippers from Portland or even San Francisco).
 

Burton K Wheeler

Old Dirty Burton, Live and Uncut
Location
garbage can
#46
A more rough and tumble mentality is likely to develop a politics somewhat similar to Nevada - much more libertarian than California, both socially and economically.

Also, a community like that so close to the Oregon state line is bpund to attract black people who want the experience of the Willamette Valley, but can't due to Oregon's historic fanatical antipathy to black people.

So I can see Jefferson, despite its status as a frontier western state, to be relatively early in terms of things like civil rights, and might even try to compete with Reno as the divorce capital of America. Probably a lot of vices would be also legal (to attract daytrippers from Portland or even San Francisco).
I like that a lot. Maybe not quite as consciously a vice destination as Nevada, but with Oregon's prickly individualism and without the racism.

The western states were ahead of the curve on women's suffrage, though racial civil rights were a mixed bag. I think if you have a post Civil war black community plus a staunchly Republican government in that era, you'd be more racially progressive than California or Oregon.
 

BClick

Well-known member
Location
Johnson Creek watershed
Pronouns
He/him
#47
A more rough and tumble mentality is likely to develop a politics somewhat similar to Nevada - much more libertarian than California, both socially and economically.

Also, a community like that so close to the Oregon state line is bpund to attract black people who want the experience of the Willamette Valley, but can't due to Oregon's historic fanatical antipathy to black people.

So I can see Jefferson, despite its status as a frontier western state, to be relatively early in terms of things like civil rights, and might even try to compete with Reno as the divorce capital of America. Probably a lot of vices would be also legal (to attract daytrippers from Portland or even San Francisco).
I like that a lot. Maybe not quite as consciously a vice destination as Nevada, but with Oregon's prickly individualism and without the racism.

The western states were ahead of the curve on women's suffrage, though racial civil rights were a mixed bag. I think if you have a post Civil war black community plus a staunchly Republican government in that era, you'd be more racially progressive than California or Oregon.
It's worth noting that Rogue Valley was probably the most racist part of the state IOTL - there was a lot of pro-Confederate feeling there during the Civil War, mostly due to being settled later by Southern miners rather than Midwestern farmers like the Willamette Valley was, and some towns (Jacksonville and Grants Pass in particular iirc) were sundown towns until recently. You'd have to have your Quakers promote an equivalent of the Applegate Trail vigorously among their own folks to ensure they outnumber Southerners seeking gold.

The Applegates, as prominent Republicans in Southern Oregon, might be important figures in your backstory.
 

Burton K Wheeler

Old Dirty Burton, Live and Uncut
Location
garbage can
#48
It's worth noting that Rogue Valley was probably the most racist part of the state IOTL - there was a lot of pro-Confederate feeling there during the Civil War, mostly due to being settled later by Southern miners rather than Midwestern farmers like the Willamette Valley was, and some towns (Jacksonville and Grants Pass in particular iirc) were sundown towns until recently. You'd have to have your Quakers promote an equivalent of the Applegate Trail vigorously among their own folks to ensure they outnumber Southerners seeking gold.

The Applegates, as prominent Republicans in Southern Oregon, might be important figures in your backstory.
Well, there's my initial Jefferson settlers right there. Not exactly sure how I'd have them beefing with Oregon settlers enough to make a separate territory. I'd like to have a few more Republican types in southern Oregon a bit earlier, but the idea of guys who settle in the Tolowa valley and then claim the northern goldfields is pretty much what I'm looking for.
 

BClick

Well-known member
Location
Johnson Creek watershed
Pronouns
He/him
#49
Well, there's my initial Jefferson settlers right there. Not exactly sure how I'd have them beefing with Oregon settlers enough to make a separate territory. I'd like to have a few more Republican types in southern Oregon a bit earlier, but the idea of guys who settle in the Tolowa valley and then claim the northern goldfields is pretty much what I'm looking for.
Word. I don't know how in depth you're planning to go with this but there's a family history of the Applegates called Skookum written by one of their great-granddaughters or something that's pretty easy to get ahold of.
 

Burton K Wheeler

Old Dirty Burton, Live and Uncut
Location
garbage can
#50
So I mentioned elsewhere that I figured out the exact site of Port Franklin. The Tolowa River is the Rogue and Klamath rivers draining into the valley of the Smith River in Del Norte County on the California/Oregon border. According to USGS, that would make a river somewhat bigger than the Willamette.

The Smith River lies at the northern end of a flat area five miles east-west and twelve miles north-south. OTL, the only population center in that area is Crescent City on the south end of the flats. Having driven around, Fort Dick in the middle and Smith River at the north end are sort of small towns without much center. There is a Tolowa rancheria at Smith River, a Tolowa-Yurok one just north of Crescent City, and Yurok one at the mouth of the Klamath just south. With no separate Klamath mouth, the main Yurok community in Port Franklin will be in the south beach area and the Tolowa in the north.

The area from the Smith River to Crescent City is mostly flat and either sand dunes or swampy. There's a big lagoon called Lake Earl in the middle of it but I couldn't find public access to it in my searching of the area. Maps make it look shallow and swampy. North and east of that area are rugged hills covered in redwoods. The western hills are part of Jedediah Smith State Park, where the Ewok scenes in Return of the Jedi were filmed. The Smith River valley is fairly narrow, but just east of the state park (less than 10 miles from Crescent City) there's a town called Hiouchi, which is basically a little tourist village. If those flats were densely populated, I suspect there would be quite a bit of suburban development there. Or the bigger Tolowa river would mean a bigger valley.

Besides the bigger river, I want a bay that looks like Humboldt/Arcata Bay down by Eureka, my main OTL inspiration for Port Franklin. Humboldt Bay is sort of sandwiched between the Mad and Eel rivers, so the Tolowa doesn't actually have to drain into the bay at Port Franklin. The easiest way to get this bay is to just open up the Lake Earl lagoon, since Humboldt Bay is just a lagoon as well. To make Port Franklin more of a logical city center, we'll say Humboldt Bay isn't open to the sea.

I'm not really sure where Port Franklin itself would be centered, given how everything north of Crescent City is either sand dunes or swamp. I sort of gathered the impression in Eureka that it was built on fairly solid ground, but it may have been dunes. Obviously, things will be different enough that I can say whatever, and I'd probably say the area just southwest of Fort Dick is the original center city of Port Franklin.

This area is really pretty sad and blighted. Crescent City is okay, but everything north of there was obviously very poor and underdeveloped.

Here's a story about the ghost subdivision labeled Pacific Shores on Google Maps:
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/22784407/...er-calif-beach-has-gone-decades/#.XcMOsS2ZMWp

This is way too much detail for what is basically supposed to be an abstract generic city, but you get what you get.
 

Burton K Wheeler

Old Dirty Burton, Live and Uncut
Location
garbage can
#51
So I was just reading the thread about Upton Sinclair and the EPIC movement and was thinking it might be interesting to see something like that happen within a machine politics movement. I was thinking the Jefferson state machine should be a Republican one like the Philadelphia and Chicago machines were until after WWII, and I'm not sure if any Republican, even progressive ones, could get away with doing something like that. A better model for Jefferson would be Burton Wheeler's (Democratic) Montana political machine of the same era, where Republicans (of the prairie progressive stripe) and Democrats (of the Irish Catholic Blue Labor type) combined to counteract fears of radicalism. Jefferson and Port Franklin have a very large radical movement, mostly Finnish timber workers, so it would make sense for something like EPIC to be imposed there. I think 1933 might be a hair late to make this work, but I suppose if it's a Republican machine, they might be willing to counteract Democrats and Socialists with something inspired by the Progressive party. You'd need a Huey Long-style Republican strongman, probably of Finnish descent just for the hell of it.

Very obviously, the state won't be able to seize enough property to actually solve the Depression, but firms that don't play ball with the machine will be obvious targets. I think the project will only last a couple years but that might be enough to give you a couple large worker-owned enterprises in the city.
 
#52
I mean a Republican political machine is by no means out of the question, San Francisco was considered as a staunchly Republican city until the 60s, and for a considerable period of time in California the Republican primary was seen as the real election, with the Democrats simply also having the GOP nominee as their candidate.

All you need for that situation is a relatively united merchant class plus a Republican monopoly of the local papers.
 

Burton K Wheeler

Old Dirty Burton, Live and Uncut
Location
garbage can
#53
I mean a Republican political machine is by no means out of the question, San Francisco was considered as a staunchly Republican city until the 60s, and for a considerable period of time in California the Republican primary was seen as the real election, with the Democrats simply also having the GOP nominee as their candidate.

All you need for that situation is a relatively united merchant class plus a Republican monopoly of the local papers.
I didn't know about SF, but that was the case in Chicago and Philadelphia in the same period, hence applying the same to Port Franklin.

Philadelphia switched from all-Republican to all-Democratic after the Home Rule charter was adopted and voters swept out the corrupt old machine to replace it with a corrupt new machine. The first Democratic mayor had been an anti-corruption activist. The Philadelphia Republicans are still fairly strong but in a loyal opposition sort of way.

Looking at San Francisco (on wikipedia, I don't know anything), their Republican machine wasn't as old as Philadelphia's and I'm not sure what made it switch.

I'm thinking that the Port Franklin machine will be a bipartisan one like the old Montana machine, with union Democrats logging in the hinterlands and a Republican city. It will have to switch party affiliation without missing a beat around WWII, but that shouldn't be too disruptive to the machine.


Port Franklin also leads its state around by the nose much more than Philadelphia, Chicago, or San Francisco do. That probably means the machine will be a statewide one.
 

Burton K Wheeler

Old Dirty Burton, Live and Uncut
Location
garbage can
#54
There were race riots in Philadelphia as early as 1944 and the party switch came because black people wouldn't support the old machine. Not sure if it was something similar in San Francisco.

Chicago's Republican machine was more complicated, for some reason I thought Cermak was the first Democrat but apparently the parties had switched off since 1876.
 

BClick

Well-known member
Location
Johnson Creek watershed
Pronouns
He/him
#55
So I was just reading the thread about Upton Sinclair and the EPIC movement and was thinking it might be interesting to see something like that happen within a machine politics movement. I was thinking the Jefferson state machine should be a Republican one like the Philadelphia and Chicago machines were until after WWII, and I'm not sure if any Republican, even progressive ones, could get away with doing something like that. A better model for Jefferson would be Burton Wheeler's (Democratic) Montana political machine of the same era, where Republicans (of the prairie progressive stripe) and Democrats (of the Irish Catholic Blue Labor type) combined to counteract fears of radicalism. Jefferson and Port Franklin have a very large radical movement, mostly Finnish timber workers, so it would make sense for something like EPIC to be imposed there. I think 1933 might be a hair late to make this work, but I suppose if it's a Republican machine, they might be willing to counteract Democrats and Socialists with something inspired by the Progressive party. You'd need a Huey Long-style Republican strongman, probably of Finnish descent just for the hell of it.

Very obviously, the state won't be able to seize enough property to actually solve the Depression, but firms that don't play ball with the machine will be obvious targets. I think the project will only last a couple years but that might be enough to give you a couple large worker-owned enterprises in the city.
As well as EPIC and Wheeler, it might be interesting to look at the Washington Commonwealth Federation, which was essentially a Communist entryist group that amassed enough power to run the state Democratic Party. Could the Republican strongman sell him measures as an alternative to even wilder currents in the Democrats? IIRC the Finns in Grays Harbor were one of the only communities where the Communist Party continued to have a following for a couple years after WWII.
 
#56
There were race riots in Philadelphia as early as 1944 and the party switch came because black people wouldn't support the old machine. Not sure if it was something similar in San Francisco.

Chicago's Republican machine was more complicated, for some reason I thought Cermak was the first Democrat but apparently the parties had switched off since 1876.
San Francisco's switch has to do a lot with splits in the state GOP between moderates and Reaganites, plus the mobilization of the student movement in CA politics as a whole, though the first signs of collapse of the statewide machine was due to Brown Senior winning the 58 election.