Early history of Bridges
1400 AC (After the Catastrophe): Benjamin Kerr I charters the domed garden city of Bridges June 21, 1400 as a independent neo-Edwardian cultural city-state with the North American Federal Oversight Authority. The dome is completed August 17th, 1500 AC by his grandson, Inventor Benjamin Kerr II, also known as The Inventor King.
Over the next 200 years, the Kerr family [Main article: Kerr dynasty] functions as a benevolent hereditary monarchy.
Bridges maintains an early Edwardian cultural ethos with an agrarian economic base, becoming a major NorthAm region food producer as well as an artistic and financial center.
[Main articles: Gilded Age United States, Victorian/Edwardian England, (list)Pre-Catastrophe cultural eras sanctioned by the Cultural Correctness Committee for city-state use]
Around 1700 AC, mismanagement and greed causes the rich/poor gap to widen. Corruption of the police and bureaucracy increases, and street gangs begin to form in the swath of slums at the outer edge of the opulent city center known as “The Pot of Gold.” (see editorial: Why Bridges Fell)
Around 1750 AC, several dozen crime families emerge, engaging in racketeering, extortion, bribery, etc. Wrought-iron fences are completed in the late 1750's, keeping the hungry from coming into the wealthy areas of the city. A religious group called the Dealers, based in the Cathedral, raise charity houses just outside the fence to help feed and clothe the poor. (see Religion in Bridges)
1799 AC: The Alcatraz Coup. A coup d'etat led by Palace Head Guardsman Xavier Alcatraz, this was the most destructive conflict in the history of Bridges. [Main article: The Alcatraz Coup]
On March 1, 1799, opposition leaders dynamite the bridges on each side of the Pot. Hungry mobs, backed by Opposition forces, stormed the Pot of Gold, while Kerr loyalists, at first surprised, retaliate in force. Bombing, ray cannon, and torching leave the Pot of Gold a ruin.
Many flee to the countryside. King Polansky Kerr and his family, unable to flee after the zeppelin station falls to the Clubbs of Justice, are hunted down and publicly executed one year later.
Bridges falls into deep financial straits due to trade disruption, resulting in food shortages. Financial markets fluctuate wildly and social drugs such as Party Time become modes of exchange as the city falls into a deflationary recession. (see Economic Analysis of the Bridges Collapse)
Over the next forty years, the Bridgers, a radical religious group, lobby for Party Time to be made illegal, linking it to the decadence of the Kerrs. [See: Party Time Prohibition Act of 1838] Once made illegal, dozens of gangs seize factories and convert them to production of the drug, with all-out war over its distribution.
After several decades of mob warfare, four Families emerge, seizing the four quarters of the city. The Families are led by Caesar Diamond, the first Acevedo Spadros, Charlie “The Cowboy” Hart, and Johnny Clubb. (see The Four Families [Declassified Federal Case Files])