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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Detailed Cartography: Fairhaven

     Fairhaven is the oldest part of Belport, though all traces of its fur trapping origins have all but been erased. Fairhaven is often seen as the cultural center because of its many museums and theaters. Harold Sibley founded Fairhaven as a trading outpost in 1887. Mostly dealing with fur originally—as Sibley was a trapper—it quickly became a trade center and would get the occasional small boat to supply it from up and down the coast, from such large cities as Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. Fairhaven continued to grow when Sherwood sprang up with its logging industry. Fairhaven still served as the main trading post and port up until the turn of the century when Meridian started up, though it did get a boost from prospectors who stopped in on the way up to Seattle and later to Skagway who were going after Klondike gold. After Meridian established itself, Fairhaven went into a decline for a time, its rapid growth stunted, and remained a small town for quite some time. It managed to stay afloat because of the establishment of DeGradi University east of the city a few years before the onset of the Depression. Charles DeGradi's university caused the town a much needed influx of people and jobs to help it prosper during the Depression.
     It wasn't until after the Depression, which didn't affect the small Fairhaven very much and mostly due to the new university, that the city of Belport came into being. Meridian, which had served as a go-between for the logging industry and Sherwood—which was already starting to become known as Shoreward after losing a good portion of the logging to Dante—fell on hard times during the Depression. Many of its residents drifted back and forth between there and Sherwood, in what was gradually becoming known as the Grind. The mayors and councils of both Meridian and Fairhaven met together and decided that they would form one city in order to attract business and the construction would provide jobs for people.
     Construction began in earnest of a new City Center that would connect the two towns together. Creating the city of Belport—as a compromise since neither town would let the other have its name be that of the city. Since that time, Fairhaven has become the cultural center of the city, hosting the city's museums and theater district. It is sometimes seen as wealthy and "high-brow" because of that, and the renovation of its ports into marinas for pleasure boats as opposed to fishing furthered this image.
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