I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but it’s starting to get chilly where I’m from. Not that I mind that. I don’t mind the colder weather. I always say it’s easier to adjust to the cold weather than hot weather. In cold weather, you can always put on more clothes. In hot weather, there’s only so much clothes you can take off and you’re still hot! With the cooler temps, come hotter holidays and now that Halloween is behind us, we have Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years to look forward to! This is the time of year that we begin to focus on family and gathering together with loved ones. We tend to think about home. The place that our characters call home in the Black Diamond is Pottington. That’s what this November’s blog post is going to be about… the city of Pottington.
Pottington is the fictional capital city of the great state of Delaware. It was founded by Swedish settlers in the early 1700s. Due to its centralized location in what was then referred to as the “Lower Colonies” of Pennsylvania, the town was named the capital of Delaware when those lower colonies separated and became a state. The town started off as a small town of merchants. The central part of the city was called Fishtown, owing to the fishermen that would come there, selling their fish. Other merchants would also sell their textiles, creating a bustling—though small—business thoroughfare. Throughout the 1800s, groups of immigrants started to settle in and around the city, creating distinctive, ethnic enclaves of neighborhoods.
Pottington experienced its first population boom when African Americans started to migrate to the city from the South after the end of the Civil War. They were funneled to the Eastern part of the city in the neighborhoods of Riverdale and Willow Point. Italians started to immigrate to the area in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They settled in the Northern part of the city. So many immigrants arrived so quickly that the neighborhood earned the nickname of Boomtown.
Tensions simmered between the different ethnic groups for much of the 20th century, especially when more groups started to arrive. Puerto Ricans started to come around the middle of the 20th century and settled in the West of town in Rockland. A small Chinese contingent arrived and created a small Chinatown neighborhood in the Northwest shortly thereafter. The increasing number of minorities entering the city encouraged many whites to leave and settle in the suburbs of the city. The South went largely undeveloped, leaving room for the expansion of the largest college in the state, Word University. It also began to resemble the surrounding suburbs, a perfect blend of the culture of the city and the architecture of the suburbs. All this upheaval affected the politics of the city, with differing groups battling for control of the city.
Pottington currently has a population of about 120,000. Like most of the major east coast cities, it’s multiethnic with a large minority population. The Brandywine River passes through the city, which leads to the Delaware Bay. On the outskirts of the town is Black Clay Creek State Park. The Delaware beaches in lower Delaware are but an hour away. It is within a 3 hour drive of New York and Philadelphia to the North and Baltimore and Washington, D.C. to the South and West. Therefore, there’s a lot of travel between, and influence of, those cities in the customs, language, and cultures of Pottington.
I created Pottington because I wanted a blank canvas of a setting. Pottington plays a large role in the story. Its various types of settings provide ample opportunities to tell grounded, varied, exciting stories, from the gleaming, modern edifices of downtown to the preserved colonial buildings of Old City, from the inner-city tumult to the suburban sprawl, from the perilous urban jungle to the serene neighboring forest. It influences the actions and decisions of the characters in ways that are essential to the tale. It may be an overused cliché at this point, but it’s true in this case… the city is a character of its own.
Next month: Word University