Macktown Geography & Layout
Founded in 1805, Macktown was a seaside port city and was built from downtown outward as many other cities off the ocean shore. The city skyline was a picture of smoke-stained buildings abused by the times, choked by the smoke stacks of the Jackville Stockyards. The stockyards of Macktown were known for the production of furnace coal and metal and with a strong wind from the ocean, the smell of coal could be sniffed throughout the city, and then some. Macktown was more of a blue-collar town. The workforce consisted of mostly a hammer and nail type thing. Its one skyscraper held the majority of its paper work and nine to fives and the rest of downtown Macktown consisted of the usual; courts, hotels, utility offices, and financial institutions.
There were two main streets that branched out from downtown and up throughout the city limits; one was Front Street, which ran into the far northwest side, and the other was Rosa Parks Drive, which ran all the way to the north side directly through the east side of the city. There were three main streets that ran east to west which was Jackville Drive, Lester Avenue, and Villy Boulevard, the Boulevard being at the most northern part of the city and Jackville Drive closes to downtown and ran along the coast. Lester Avenue ran straight through the middle of the city east to west. Macktown is divided by its sides of town, the east, west, north and south. View the city map and get an idea of its layout.
The story opens on the east side. The east side; a bit ragged and run down, occupied by many vacant buildings that were abandoned by the affluent businesses which moved northward after the war. The empty train-yards were an eyesore to many who passed through, but to the residents, it was home. There were a few housing projects that scattered the east side; home to those who left the south to reside in the north but never saw the light of the dream. From generation to generation, grandmothers and fathers passed down their sorrows and hopelessness to the next breed of projectees. The east side was divided into three sections: Rosa Parks Community, Uptown Macktown, and Perryville.
Rosa Parks Drive
Rosa Parks Drive stretched from the mist of downtown upward for about seventeen miles and stopped at Villy Boulevard. It was home to the city's most infamous pimps, hustlers and players, and from downtown outward the drive consisted of clubs, bars, theaters, adult movie houses, strip joints and other pleasurable night owl hangouts. The main attraction was the prostitution which was as old as the Macktown twenty's era when booze flooded the streets, the thirties and forties which brought hard times for everyone. Then the fifties and sixties that brought about all the minority movements and riots, and then the seventies, in which the much of the city's political powers changed hands.
Ferry Park is one of Macktown's nicest suburban areas. Most of the residences in Ferry Park are in the high income brackets and work for the government or for well established businesses. The families are two income families and most are two parent families. The children of these families attend private schools and the best of the public school system. It covers a large part of the northeast side of town and is divided in two by Ferry Park Drive. The crime rate is low because it is patrolled by its own private police force in addition to the city's police department. The Ferry Park area is home to the North Park Race Track and the Macktown Fairgrounds where many events and social functions are held by city officials and high end city rollers and hustlers. Ferry Park is off limits to the low-income people of the city and holds a reputation for that reason.
Uptown Macktown was also a hot spot, but not for prostitutes, pimps or thugs, but for the upper elitist class, the politicians, the high rollers and big spenders who sought out the glamour of gambling and the thrills and erotica of high-paid call girls, and guys. The Boulevard grew in a time span of a decade and brought high end night clubs and bars, restaurants, cafes and after hour speakeasies. A casino row was also built to serve the high stake gamblers. Nevertheless, when these upscale folks were not on the town, brought history and awareness into Macktown such as the museums, theaters and educational institutions. But they left behind a lower class of souls that would soon rise to their level; the very ones that society feared most.
Perryville is where they lived. Ghetto bred, anger filled, white-folk blaming, baby-having, baby-making, so-called leeches of society lived and walked the streets of this once beautified community. Its main source of income, Plenty's Department Store, packed up after the riots of 67 and move northward taking the middle-class and income with it. The bricks of the buildings in Perryville were a smoky brown; a dull haze all around that mixed with the ever-changing smoke cycles that blew in from the south side's Jackville Stockyards. The sky was not very blue in Perryville; it was brown in the eyes and minds of many. Most of the trees (which were not many) were dying or dead, giving the neighborhood a matching shade of dark brown. The streets were a gloomy gray, pitted with potholes and puzzled with cracks. The mentality was moody just like the scenery, gray, with a mixture of many browns. Walking up the main street of Perryville - East Lester Avenue - you could see the mood, feel the mood, and you would shiver because of the mood. Bitterness with a smile of deception, anger suppressed so deeply only to make any soul wonder why. The children of Perryville carried this mood without an inkling of the possibility that success and happiness even existed. Success in Perryville came once in a while, but it was a dark shade of gray, almost black. The money was black money; unlawful money. It moved around the community touching almost every hand, passing into another, and never left the hood.
The easiest and fastest way to move through Perryville was on the one freeway that towered above the neighborhood. The Jackson Freeway was a freeway that stood on columns. It began as a tunnel downtown then emerged level to the ground and then up upon the columns. It ran north and south dividing the east side from the rest of the city. As it raised above Perryville, below the columns were Perry Projects, made up of fifty-two buildings with eight living units apiece. Stretching along East Lester Avenue for almost a mile then reaching as far back as a quarter mile, it was literally a world within itself; with its own laws of human nature and survival; its own judicial system based on vengeance; and its own source of income supplied by the underworld. Its mood too, was gray with a mixture of dark browns, hazy gray, smoky brown, but darker than the rest of Perryville. As time moved pass, the mentality would get harsher, meaner. The smiles were more deceiving, and the money was tainted from the illegal activities of the ghetto. Instead of a department store or factory as a source of income, Perry Projects supplied the area with its income and its dream. Yet, through all of the despair in Perryville, and its project father figure, it was possessed with something overlooked by society. Something they thought they had destroyed with their attempt at isolation and prejudice, with their handouts and liberal distributions of dependency. Unseen and unheard by their indifferent eyes and sealed ears was something among the community of Perryville called a common bond, a combined accord. Something felt and naturally expressed by every resident, old and young, understood only by themselves; and though they were ignored by officials and emptied into the ghetto, Perryville was the fear of the city, but for the souls living there, it was a sanctuary.
Jackville South Side
The Jackville Stockyards was Macktown's largest source of revenue. On the deep south side of the city touching the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, the stockyards redistributed the coal it received from regional coal mine shipments to cities along the eastern seaboard. Generations of families were raised from the stockyard's production. Coastal winds blew the smoke from the stockyards throughout the city, stained the buildings of Macktown and tainted the air with a brown-like haze for miles. The production area of the stockyards covered a three mile area of land and another 2 miles stretched out the train yards. Jackville Drive divided the stockyards from the neighboring blue-collar community that stretched up from Jackville Drive to Villy Boulevard, about twenty miles north. The farther north traveled, the better the neighborhoods and schools. The residents of the Jackville Community Organization (the JCO), held it together for many years, fighting off drugs, gangs, and many other types of street hustling and corruption, from the early 1920's well into the present. As generations of families grew over the years, there was always a struggle against poverty, crime, and under-development.
The West Side
The west side of Macktown was the side to move to on the way up the ladder of success. Unlike the city' east and south sides, there was more green from the trees and open fields, and the streets were laid out on a checkered grid that made travelling pleasurable. Urban plight was non-existent except for the lower west side, which was close to the Jackville Stockyards rail road system that branched out into the neighborhoods but then blended with the emptiness of underdevelopment farther west into the outskirts. The lower west side, Jackville West, was one of three sections that made up the entire west side, which included the deep west side, West Hills, and the northwest side, Rolling Heights. Recent city demographics reveal that the unemployment rate for the west side was low, crime rates were low, and the population rate was growing due to more people migrating to that side of town to escape the poverty stricken east and south sides. Its main source of production and employment was the Donovan designer clothing factory in North Heights. A few generations of families earned a good living working there and the Donovan Foundation did a lot for the community financially, as well as for its morale and reputation. Also, the West Hills Gentlemen's Society, a community activist organization, lobbied the city officials often for services and resources and pushed their agenda through the town hall, council square meetings that would bring positive change to its residences. They vied for more jobs by offering sponsorship to the Macktown Promise Land programs, hosting the little league games and entertainment productions the program used to earn money for the city. These ventures helped stave off poverty and crime on the west side and was currently stabilizing its community economically.
The Jackville West was on the lower west side and merged with the Jackville Stockyards and the city's south side. Its main streets were Jackville Drive and South Tenth Street. Poverty was more prevalent in Jackville West than the rest of the west side. Rowed with small, frame houses, many abandoned and second-rate businesses owned by local residences and very small mom and pop store owners, the area was ripe for street crime and gangs. The residences often petitioned the local community association, the JCO, to include them in their request from the city for beautification services and economic support, but the JCO were only concerned with the south side so the residences had to go to the other community associations on the west side, who would also slight them. So they were often neglected.
The lower and middle class lived in the West Hills section. Nice single family home neighborhoods and successful businesses ran up and around Front Street, the main street that ran through the west side. The other main street, Tenth Street, ran north to south; the north side being the better side while south Tenth Street ran deep into Jackville West. The only other eyesore in West Hills was the West Hills Homes government project complex. Sitting on the far end of the west side, the Homes, as they called them, were occupied with low-income residences that were the last of the social services occupants. When the city cut our welfare and food stamps, this area was hit hard by poverty but was trying to recover. The residences were offered jobs with the Promise Land program but things were still tight for many families of the Homes. The other, working families of West Hills worked at either the Donovan Clothing factory or in one of the many businesses along Front Street.
In the far upper northwest side of the city was the Rolling Heights area. Most parts of it were ell kept that the residences were hard working blue and white collar workers. There was a suburban area of Rolling Heights and there was another government project area called the Rolling Heights Projects. Rolling Heights projects was the second largest housing complex in the city next to Perry Projects. Here, was another troubled area of the city. They too, were recently released social services victims trying to survive, but drugs and the dog fighting rackets kept the project subjects in crime and poverty.
There were three main interstate freeways that passed through Macktown; The Jackson, the Franklin and the Grant Freeway. There was an airport on the bottom side of Macktown near the ocean, and Brinks Prison was also located on the south side on the outskirts of the Jackville Stockyards. The city had two race tracks that ran the greyhound dogs, one track was on the north side in Upper Macktown, and one was just outside of downtown off Rosa Parks Drive. There were two little league stadiums in the city, one in Upper Macktown and the other one in the Jackville community. The fairgrounds were located in Upper Macktown also.