Welcome to Port Henry
Our Icons campaign has a home city that actually has a name. We worked through a few possible names and came up with Port Henry.
Our city occupies where, in the real world, can be found New Jersey's Great Bay. Though it is indeed a decent sized bay, it averages about five feet depth. It is one of the nation's best preserved wetlands so I feel a little guilty virtually draining and dredging much of it.
To be honest, we didn't quite know what Port Henry was named for, it just sounded neat. It brought to mind Henry Hudson, though cities tend not to be named after a person's first name. After some thinking I went with a fictional son of Patrick Henry, Founding Father and independent Virginia's first governor. Like many people of his era, did not see all of his children survive. We're going to create a fictional son of Patrick Henry, Thomas Henry, born in 1758.
In the American Revolution, Thomas Henry served as an officer in General Washington's army. Though very young, he was a skilled engineer, and so, in 1777, Captain Henry led a force that dredged a channel in the Great Bay and drained some of the surrounding wetlands to create what he named Port Shelton, in honor of his late mother, Sarah Shelton Henry. It was, used by American privateers and naval vessels to harry British shipping. After the Revolution it became a settlement and rapidly grew in size. Thomas Henry broke with his father and was a strong supporter of the US Constitution and served in the First Congress, representing the burgeoning settlement of Port Shelton.
After Thomas Henry's death the settlement was renamed Port Henry. The Great Bay was further dredged over the next decades. It is the largest city in New Jersey. In the 1950 census it had a population of 2.1 million, making it by far the largest city in New Jersey. Realistically, that would have a major impact on history but we're just going to handwave that.
It boasts a major naval base, shipyards, the Shelton Asylum (the real Sarah Shelton Henry suffered terribly from mental illness and her husband was horrified of the state of mental health facilities in the 1700s), a nuclear power plant that is scheduled to go into production within the year. Organized crime is becoming quite the problem in the city, as is espionage, owing to the naval base, shipyards, and many universities with government research grants. I love the image of the Gotham City of the Tim Burton Batman films so I've got a mental picture of a city that is a cross between Gothic and Art Deco architecture.
This is just a shell of a starting point, I'll be adding more as we go on.
City Image Copyright: curaphotography / 123RF Stock Photo
Road Map from Shell Map of New Jersey, 1957