Three Cities by Night
The Redding of our World and the Redding of the World of Darkness are two very different places. A single change in historical events set the cities down divergent paths to create the foundation for Redding’s dark twin.
In 1907 the area around Redding was producing more copper than any other county in the United States, but by 1910 the smelters used to refine the copper were creating so much pollution that the people of Redding united into one of the nation’s first major environmental movements and shut down the copper mining. By 1919 the last of Redding’s copper smelters had been shut down, and even though the environment of Iron Mountain was ruined, the rest of the area was spared.
In the World of Darkness things proceeded differently. Influential forces behind the early government of the area interceded and used a combination of environmental grants and legal action to placate the people of the county. Copper mining continued at a brisk pace, and even expanded into zinc and gold mining. By the time environmentalists were able to rally, new smelting techniques had been developed and Redding had grown into a major industrial center.
In the depression era of the 1930’s the Dark Redding’s industrial economy nearly collapsed, but enough local corporations survived that the area was revitalized by World War II. Redding’s copper and zinc mining, and the manufacturing businesses built upon them, made Shasta County one of the leading producers of munitions used in the war’s Pacific Theater.
For decades after the end of World War II the economic momentum continued and Redding rapidly grew. In the 1980’s a boom in local housing and retail brought about a rapid increase in population, and the cities of Anderson and Shasta Lake, and the towns between them, were absorbed into the growing city.
Redding’s growth finally stalled in the early 2000’s, and after the recession and housing collapse of 2008 the population actually began to decline. Businesses that had existed for nearly a century in the county began to fold and the economy began to follow. Like other major industrial cities such as Detroit, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh, Redding had become a city on the decline.
Today the Dark Redding still has a larger population than the Redding of our world, and the area between Redding’s center and the former city of Anderson is dotted with abandoned industrial buildings and urban decay.
Outside of the city circumstances are similar. In our world the area of Iron Mountain is a ruined environment of toxic mine shafts where nothing can grow, but in the World of Darkness the unrestricted mining of the previous century has left the area much worse. Iron Mountain has become a rampant blight with a water table so toxic that the area around it has become an empty wasteland.
For those who know what lies in the shadow’s of the World of Darkness it is easy to see the influence of supernatural creatures on the destiny of Redding. It is common knowledge among the Kindred that the Prince and the Tremere were the first Vampires to live in Redding, and that they used their power to prevent the end of mining and smelting in the early 20th century.