Spring Creek Harbour

A former trading and fishing town.

Spring Creek Harbour was a small town, a village actually, located at the mouth of the Spring Creek in Spring Creek Bay.

Founding

Spring Creek Harbour originated as a watering hole for passing sailing ships en route to the big harbours in the new world. The creek water was fresh and of good quality, and the bay was navigable for even the larger ships. So when the first explorers reported the value of the location, it became marked on all the important navigational charts. The area around Spring Creek Harbour wasn't of any particular interest, and it was far from other trading hubs. Therefore, it didn't spawn a permanent population till about a hundred years later, when a farmer decided to settle in the rocky lands and sell the passing ships his produce.

The farmer didn't manage to grow much crop or raise big cattle in the rocky lands, his main produce was chicken, and chicken products egg and feather, also goats thrived well, and the cheese was happily bought by the ship's Purser. The small patches of nice earth they managed well enough to have some vegetables for their own consumption. Some other people joined him and small village emerged. Together, they had the manpower to clear a bit more land to make it suitable for farming. To make best use of the land, the houses where scattered around on the most rocky patches and pathways bend and turned around the little farming plots.

The river was small and had a pebble base and the shores where sand and rock mix. Not really suitable for taking ships any bigger than rowing barges inland or even landing them onshore.

First Decline

With the rise of steam power on ships, the ships stopped coming for fresh water, as they could make this onboard now. And the little village that had grown up from selling produce to the passing ships dwindled. The ship suppliers who sold rope, sail and woodworks left first. The ship repair service soon after. With those gone, the loggers who managed to haul timber out of the difficult hilly and rocky surrounding lands had no market for their work, and they left to offer their trade elsewhere.
The farmers held out; they continued just working their patches of land and kept feeding themself. Stubborn by default.

Fishing

Trout has been introduced into the new world somewhere during the colonisation age, and it spread along the coast. Trout also found itself swimming up the Spring Creek, where they loved the cold fresh water and the pebble river bed, and it became a popular breeding ground for the fish species.

In 1812 AD the Lord of Mirateia bought the rights to fish in the bay and on the whole river. The lord invested in a few river boats that could go upstream all the way to where the Trout favoured to bread. And he started fishing them. With his boats, he brought the fish back down to Spring Creek Harbour. This is also when the town's name got the -harbour suffix. Before, it was just known as Spring Creek.

The Lord of Mirateia build cold storage warehouses along the river in town, to store the caught fish until a ship came by to load it all, and sell it at the market. His investments payed off and he soon build a mansion for his family a small distance from the river up a hill. From where you could see over the small town, and he soon became the first official mayor of Spring Creek Harbour, a function he would hold until his death.

The lord was a smart man, and build his warehouses and his mansion on the most rocky patches, as not to disturb the sparse farming places. The free roaming goats and chickens los a bit of space, but with the additional logging that was done to build the buildings of the fishing enterprise, they got all the space they needed.

The influx of business brought life back to the town, and the farmers got neighbours again. Craftsmen serving all the aspects of the small fishing industry, staff for the manor house of the lord and even a pub established.

Founding Date
First known mention on chart 1702
Type
Village
Population
0
Fate
Ruined

The Narwhal came swiftly alongside the much bigger Sunset Dawn. The crews greeted eachother as old friends, which they where. They had occasionally run into each other at Armani's Warehouse. But had both happily hunted on their own account.

But now on the otherside of the Caribbean the Narwhal had come for them, that was clear. "A Letter from Armani's cousin." The new captain said, with that he handed Rose an sealed envelope.

Rose was enchause to open it, as there was only one who would sent her a message via Armani and have the Narwhal chase after them.

It was dated two weeks a go, a small ping of pain went trough Rose her gut as she read on:
'Found them, meet at the Drop.' BSN.

A message from Michael the Boatswain. Whom had been chasing their attackers for a month now.

"Do you need any stores?" She asked the crew of the Narwhal.
-"No we are good."
"At least stay for dinner. You must miss the creations of Alejandro.

When dinner was done Rose ordered full sails, and they made for Oranjestad as fast as possible.

Mansion

Read more

The mansion of the Lord of Mirateia wasn’t an extensive building by manor house standards, but for Spring Creek Harbour, it was huge. It had two full floors above a semi-basement. This semi-basement was first intended to be a full basement, but the labourers grew tired of mining out the space for it and decided to elevate the entire house by 1.2 meters. The building is topped by a steep angled roofed which could easily be passed off as another floor. It stood proudly over the village, where the majority of the buildings were wood with a thatch or sod roof, of a single level construction. Some were made of stone, or had a stone foundation. But none had a full second floor.

The building was wider than it was deep and all the rooms were arranged side by side with a corridor connecting them along the back.The ground floor held in the centre the entrance, a reception room, a dining room, in the left wing. And a library and a day room, in the right wing. As well as the main stairs and hidden service stair case. On the second floor there were eight similarly sized bedrooms.

Kitchen, storage and other service locations were all situated in the semi-basement.
Two strong chimneys stood proud above the roof, on either wing, covering the fire places in library and day room and reception and dining.

The house tried to represent the manor houses of the European nobles, but where it worked in looks, it lacked in the social life. As Spring Creek Harbour was too remote, the land was not valuable enough to run a full estate. The Lord of Mirateia was very good at managing his affairs, but when he passed away, his children sold the place relatively cheap to his successor of the fishing company. Because that was the only one who wanted to buy it. They did, however, trick him. As they shipped out all furniture, tableware and other items, one might expect to be belonging to a house.

Without the family funds of the Lord, the house declined, repairs where postponed or done badly, and two winters later the snow load made the roof over the right wing partly collapse. After which, the house became abandoned. As it was too expensive to keep living there.

In recent history it was partly repaired by El Patético but they didn’t do any cosmic work so the looks remained that of a haunted ghost house.

Nowadays it is a ruin, where only some walls remain partly standing.

Cold storage

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The cold-store warehouses didn’t have any refrigeration technology, as one might expect now. They were simple thick-walled stone buildings, with an extremely thick thatch roof. The cold was gathered in winter, in the form of ice. The creek and the bay froze over every winter, and the now idle fisherman went onto this ice to carve out blocks they would haul into the warehouses. That because of their construction were very well isolated. The sheer quantity of ice they could pack into this ware houses meant that the temperature stayed below freezing until the end of summer. To achieve this duration of cold, the warehouses where filled with up to three-quarter their capacity with ice. Leaving only little of their space for fish, but this was intended that way.

The ice blocks were first lined along the walls. Stacked to the roof. Any cracks packed with snow. Then rows of block walls created narrow aisles in the warehouses, exactly as wide as the fishing crates. Loos snow was shovelled in between them. This snow was later slowly cleared out as the fish was brought in.

In other parts of the world, ice cellars were in use, but because of the difficult rocky structure of the bottom building, thick walled warehouses were more economical.

Second Decline

After the death of the Lord of Mirateia in 1885 AD, his business fell in the hands of his second in command. His children having no interest in the fishing industry, split the inheritance among them and moved away from Spring Creek Harbour to pursue other interest.

But without the connections of the Lord, the fish brought up less and less money on the market. While the new owners wanted to live the life, the former lord and his family had done. So the result was that a few years thereafter, the company had to postpone paying its employees. Who wheren’t stupid and left Spring Creek Harbour on the next ship to work elsewhere where they actually got payed. They left Spring Creek Harbour to the stubborn farmers again.

Connections

The village was never connected to the road network, nor to the power grid. It was too far away from anything else. And the governments and companies didn't see a profit in connecting Spring Creek Harbour to any network, as there were to little people there.

Rose found Michael and Aleksey in the Last drop, staring at their beer. They seemed mentally dead, they didn't even stare at Ligeia who was singing again, like all men usually do somehow.

"Boats? Did you find Jane and William?" Michael downed his drink first, then looked the Captain in the eyes. Rose nearly stepped back from the pain she saw there.

Crime

Spring Creek Harbour turned into a ghost town. Most houses were empty, left to be inhabited by the local wildlife. There were a few farms left but besides farming for themselves, they had no other way of life. The only visit they town got every year was from the National Revenue Service. Taxes were due ofcourse, even if you didn't have anything.

It is believed that some employees of the Tax Office were the first to use Spring Creek Harbour for illicit activities. Paying off the farmers. Who turned a blind eye, as they finally had someone to sell eggs and goat cheese to again.

Others believed that the Lord of Mirateia already had an illicit side business, but there is not any evidence of that.

The town remained mostly ghostly but the mansion and the warehouses had been built of stone by propper masons and stood the test of time. They were the business hub for several crime operations, some temporarily using it once or twice to smuggle object or people. At somepoint the operations where taken over by El Patético whom turned the village in one of their bases of operations, because of the secluded nature of the bay, it became a regular stop for the Sea serpent.

After they heard the story from the Bosun, the crew had one thing on their mind: Revenge.

The pirates had set sail towards Spring Creek Bay without a proper plan. They had passed a drifting freighter they would normally never hesitate to prey on.

Along the way they came up with an idea, how to sneak up to the village. The boatswain and Aleksey had snuck up on it over land after sailing a dingy close to the bay. But they couldn't get the Sunset Dawn in that way. And for their plan they needed it close.

The Abyssablack fabric, the improved version of Vantablack, they had found last month, and where unable to sell even to Armani due to the extreme military restrictions on the material. Would come in handy now, and with difficulty they managed to cover the complete ship in it. The masts stuck out of course, but the hull was an undefinable black hole from the waterline up.

Two days they waited just hours sailing away from Spring Creek Harbour. They waited for the New moon, when the night would be blackest, and luck was with them it was clouded too.

With just a jib up, they floated into the bay unseen, and then released hell from their cannons onto the remaining buildings.

The sunrise was red that morning for what once was Spring Creek Harbour.




Cover image: by Johannes Plenio

Comments

Author's Notes

This article was written for the February 2022 Flash Challenge Settlement on the Edge.
I didn't use all the information the Nerdbuilding prompts provided, but I did pick some things out it, the snow load, the building style for instance:

Nerdbuilding Intelligence
--option 1--

Demographics

Total Population: 358
Primary Race: Human
General Attitude: Mistrusting and Curious

Breakdown

  • Children: 57
  • Adults: 272
  • Elderly: 29
  • Ill/Infirm: 33
  • Known Criminals: 0
  • Urban Population: 348
  • Rural Population: 10

Infrastructure

Road Construction: Wood Lined Roads
Main Irrigation: Surge Irrigation
Number of Districts: 1

Architecture

Overall Architecture

  • Primary Building Style: Stone
  • Secondary Building Styles: Wooden and Thatched
  • Aesthetics: Ornate
  • Cleanliness: Disorderly
  • Upkeep: neglected

Districts

District 1

  • Type: River
  • Population: 73
  • Primary Building Style: Stone
  • Secondary Building Styles: Wooden and Thatched
  • Aesthetics: Normal
  • Cleanliness: Filthy
  • Upkeep: Well-Kept

Defenses

Walls: Fence
Natural Defences: Narrow River

Points of Interest

Special Features

  • Ghost Town: 2260 feet west
  • City Ruins: 4239 feet east

Geography

Coastal Marine Coastal Plain
Elevation: 305 feet above sea level
Distance from the Marine Coast: 5249 feet
Ground Cover: 74%

Water Features

Sea

  • Salinity: salty
  • Depth: 636 feet
  • Navigable: Yes
  • Aquatic Animals: Clams, Flounder, Sanddab, Oyster, and Pomfret
  • Narrow River

    • Salinity: fresh
    • Depth: 20 feet
    • Width: 43 feet
    • Navigable: Yes
    • Aquatic Animals: Smelt, Perch, and Bass

    Climate

    Cool Temperate Forest
    Avg. Annual Temperature: 48F
    Avg. Annual Precipitation: 45.03 in
    Avg. Annual Snowfall: 10 feet
    Seasons: Summer, Winter, Fall, and Spring
    Prevailing Winds: southwest to northeast
    Ocean Currents: cold

    Natural Resources

    Stones

    • Igneous: Granite
    • Metamorphic: Slate
    • Sedimentary: Laterite

    Ores

    • Minerals: Calcium

    Gems

    • Semi-Precious: Citrine

    Grains

    • Cool Seasons: Wheat, Triticale, and Farro
    • Food: Wheat, Triticale, and Farro

    Vegetables

    • Leafy: Spinach
    • Root: Beets
    • Marrow: Pumpkin

    Utility Crops

    • Oil: Safflower

    Assets

    Flora and Fauna

    • Livestock: Barnevelder (Chicken)
    • Prey: lizards, Mice, Boar, and Deer
    • Aquatic: Flounder, Sanddab, Pomfret, Smelt, Perch, Bass, Clams, and Oyster
    • Trees: Aspen, Peach Tree, Elm, Hemlock, and Locust
    • Grass: Tall Fescue Grass and Pampas Grass
    • Shrubs: Strawberry Bush, Blueberry Bush, Bean Bush, and Hornbeam Maple
    • Moss: Fern Moss and Spanish Moss
    • Vines: Passion Vine, Water Vine, and Bridal Creeper
--option two --

Demographics

Total Population: 187
Primary Race: Human
General Attitude: Suspicious and Nosy

Breakdown

  • Children: 24
  • Adults: 148
  • Elderly: 15
  • Ill/Infirm: 17
  • Known Criminals: 0
  • Urban Population: 176
  • Rural Population: 11

Infrastructure

Road Construction: Wood Lined Roads
Main Irrigation: Surge Irrigation
Number of Districts: 0

Architecture

Overall Architecture

  • Primary Building Style: Thatched
  • Secondary Building Styles: None
  • Aesthetics: Tasteful
  • Cleanliness: Foul
  • Upkeep: Handsom

Defenses

Walls: None
Natural Defences: Narrow River and Island

Points of Interest

Special Features

  • Island: 1322 feet northwest
  • Ancient Columns: 1677 feet northwest
  • City Ruins: 1335 feet south

Geography

Coastal Marine Lowland
Elevation: null above sea level
Distance from the Marine Coast: 1312 feet
Ground Cover: 80%

Water Features

Sea

  • Salinity: salty
  • Depth: 581 feet
  • Navigable: Yes
  • Aquatic Animals: Anchovies, Brill, and Bass
  • Narrow River

    • Salinity: fresh
    • Depth: 13 feet
    • Width: 164 feet
    • Navigable: Yes
    • Aquatic Animals: Trout and Smelt

    Climate

    Cool Temperate Forest
    Avg. Annual Temperature: 43F
    Avg. Annual Precipitation: 47.15 in
    Avg. Annual Snowfall: 11 feet
    Seasons: Summer, Winter, Fall, and Spring
    Prevailing Winds: southwest to northeast
    Ocean Currents: warm

    Natural Resources

    Stones

    • Metamorphic: Marble and Slate
    • Sedimentary: Chalk

    Ores

    • Minerals: Sodium
    • Metals: Copper and Lead

    Gems

    • Semi-Precious: Onyx

    Grains

    • Cool Seasons: Buckwheat, Triticale, and Farro
    • Food: Buckwheat, Triticale, and Farro

    Vegetables

    • Leafy: Spinach
    • Stem: Celery
    • Alium: Garlic

    Utility Crops

    • Fiber: Kenaf

    Assets

    Stone Quarries

    Rock Pit

    • Gathers Marble
    • 5 workers

    Ore Mines

    Forage Mining

    • Gathers Lead
    • 4 workers

    Flora and Fauna

    • Prey: Mice, Rat, Elk, and Moose
    • Aquatic: Anchovies, Brill, Bass, Trout, and Smelt
    • Trees: Peach Tree, Boxwood, Pine, Fir, and Locust
    • Grass: Feather Reed, Oat Grass, and Tufted Hair Grass
    • Shrubs: Black Chokeberry, Bean Bush, and Sagebrush
    • Moss: Haircap Moss and Baby Tooth Moss
    • Vines: Traveller's Joy

 


Please Login in order to comment!
22 Feb, 2022 20:57

Kill them all!!! o,o   Always a shame when a village dies, but it is how it is.

22 Feb, 2022 21:23

Maybe some farmer might return there in the future, you never know with them.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
23 Feb, 2022 01:42

While it's sad how it ended up, you have to give credit for perseverance. The town really tried to keep up it seems, with steam power forcing them to switch things up and the like. Well done. I love the detail depth you have here.

23 Feb, 2022 15:00

Thank you Dylon, how it would end was my first idea, so that was always going to happen. All the details and depth came during writing

23 Feb, 2022 12:14

This is a great story Jacob! I don't mind at all the text, ad it's broken up very nicely. I love the realistic detail you've put into this, not to mention the first credit I've seen of vantablack in fiction anywhere!

23 Feb, 2022 15:01

I've been wanting to use vantablack for a while now! I'm working on an article to explain it, and how they got it :D

24 Feb, 2022 17:22

Nice entry for the challenge. Pretty interesting to read about it flourishing only to become a hub for illigal activities due to the new technology :/ Also pretty neat to add that section about the buildings, makes it easy to navigate since it is put in spoiler tages.

Feel free to check out my River challenge article and my Secrets in the swamp Adventure article if you want to see what I am up to!
24 Feb, 2022 20:14

Thank you Kefkejaco, yeah the town got an interesting life cycle, but not an impossible one. The spoiler thing was a last minute effort to make it less of a text wall :D and to get rid of the white block below the cold store ware-house part compared to the longer mansion part.

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
12 Mar, 2022 17:20

I love the way you've written the story of this towns and how its fortune has gone up and down over time. And nice ending XD

To see what I am up to, my latest article is Geography of magic for the River Challenge
12 Mar, 2022 18:02

Thank you, Amélie!