The Pikesburg Chronicles
Pikesburg was founded a little over two hundred years ago as a missionary outpost. It gradually grew in stature as a minor shipping hub thanks to the river and roads leading west that intersect in it. When the industrial revolution hit, the little town exploded almost over night. It was in the perfect location to receive raw materials and ship out finished goods. The river provided a seemingly limitless supply of power and the means to dispose of industrial waste. Money was plentiful for anyone with capital. For the working class, the city was a hell with nightmarish working conditions for minimum pay, exorbitant rent to pack far too many people into far too little space, and virtually no way to break free. Still, workers flocked to the city with tales of easy money and no way to find out the truth until it was too late. Organized crime and corruption became rampant.
Eventually, things got better as workers organized and the unions gave rise to a middle class. The situation settled into an equilibrium of sorts that lasted for most of the 20th century. It was during this time that the city modernized and underwent a more healthy expansion. Enrollment in the private university originally founded for the children of the wealthy industry barons expanded as Pikesburg offered tuition assistance for residents. Local businesses diversified the city’s economy, but manufacturing remained the engine that drove Pikesburg. Unfortunately, what seemed to be a limitless foundation proved to be unsustainable.
In the 1970’s, the factories began shutting down as manufacturing fled the nation. Nothing moved in to take the factories’ place since nearly a century of industrial pollution made the land unusable for anything else. Economic hardship gradually spread throughout the city like a cancer. The only area that seemed immune was the financial sector. Over the next few decades, the financial and banking district became a forest of glittering skyscrapers while the rest of the city rotted. In 2008, even they began to crack as economic downturn gripped the global economy.
Today, Pikesburg is once again a city of extreme wealth and abject poverty. Unemployment officially stands at close to 20%, but those in the know suspect the actual number is higher. Crime and corruption are once again rampant. At night, people flock to the clubs and bars as an all too brief escape from the insurmountable problems of the day.