The town originated about 1862 as a minor stagecoach stop that supported a few small and largely unproductive silver mines. It grew into a small railroad-camp for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad (a very minor contender in the rail wars). The rail line had already successfully crossed the Colorado River and was built towards this area of Arizona, but could not find an economically viable route across the canyon. They found a suitably narrow place to build a trestle and started to do so. A small town sprung up around the rail camp. Due to financial problems (with the rail wars), the A&P had to stop work between fall 1873 and spring 1875 and lay off most of their staff. During this time, many of the newly-unemployed rail workers turned to mining (and banditry) to support themselves. In the influx of manpower (and desperation), a few new silver strikes were found, some of which were far more productive than the original mines. Additionally, ghost rock was identified among the baked black stones in the Dog Buttes just east of town. Canyon Diablo swelled rapidly with miners and the type of strange folk that are always attracted to the presence of ghost rock. A regular stagecoach route from Flagstaff to Canyon Diablo began running (though it is often the victim of robberies). Within a short time the town had grown to it’s current size of approximately 2,000 residents.
Despite the railroad ending at the edge of the canyon, work on the railroad route still progressed. Crews were sent ahead to survey the route, prepare the grade and bed and to cut and deliver railroad ties and other supplies in advance of the iron rails that would accompany the trains once the canyon was spanned with the arrival of the new bridge. Supplies could laboriously be lowered into the canyon, ferried across the Diablo river, and hauled up the other side. In 1875 the engineers resumed working on the foundations and measurements for the trestle.
The small community catered to the needs of railroad men, in the sense that the town quickly produced numerous saloons, brothels, dance halls, and gambling houses to separate the railroad men from their pay. Sin Street (also called “The Alley” by the upright folks in town) operates 24 hours a day and is conveniently located near the railmen’s camp. Chicago Annie’s and Mary’s claimed the first spots on the street, and the two brothels have been engaged in a war for railmen’s gold ever since. Although one can get food, booze, drugs, prostitutes and gamble at every establishment on Sin Street at all hours, some establishments specialize in one of these entertainments.
The town was designed with two lines of buildings facing one another across the rock bed Main Street. The main street is also called “Calle Infierno” or “Hell Street” because “El Diablo” (the canyon) lives at the end of it. In general, the nicer homes are north of Main Street, and the rough area of town is south of Main. An area near fourth street (called “the Turn”) has some the nicest houses in town. Since the town has started to support the miners and rail workers, it’s grown to include many of the trades needed to sustain the population.
No lawmen were initially employed by the Canyon Diablo, so it quickly became a very dangerous place. The original population was mostly railroad workers, miners, passing outlaws, gamblers, and prostitutes. In 1875, the town received its first marshal. He was sworn in at 3:00 pm and buried at 8:00 pm that night. Five more town marshals have followed, the longest lasting one month and all were killed in the line of duty. The local cemetery sprouted up behind the behind the First Baptist Church at the north end of Third Street. Although the cemetery are only 15 years old, there are 122 graves in the cemetery. All 122 persons died of violence. God only knows how many bodies are buried in shallow, unmarked graves in desolation of the arid landscape nearby.
The metal spans for the bridge arrived from the Alabama factories in late 1876. It was a cause for great celebration in Canyon Diablo. The railcars carrying the spans stopped out of town, the spans were polished and hung with decorative bunting, and entered town in parade fashion. A band from Prescott was brought in to play marches and then perform at a grand ball that evening.
The town celebrated too soon.
The bridge spans were built incorrectly – the original measurements from the engineers were wrong. In the spring of 1877 the engineers furiously measured, and re-measured, and brought in other engineers to check their measurements. The original measurements they had made for the trestle were nearly 25% short! This is a mystery that is unexplained to this day. Some speculate that the plans were altered as an act of rail wars industrial sabotage, or perhaps the Pinkertons altered the plans to prevent the CSA from completing a major rail line. Several of the engineers quit in disgust, others were fired, and three of them committed suicide. A new team of engineers drafted new specifications for the bridge, and sent the plans back south (after having checked the measurements iteratively). The new bridge (pending the availability of steel due to the war effort) should arrive sometime in 1878.
Local Groups and Power Blocs
Atlantic and Pacific Railroad – This company is too small to compete in the rail wars with the big companies, but if it can get the Diablo Canyon bridge actually built, it can sell the bridge to one of the big players for an unimaginable fortune. Both Black River and Dixie Rails have expressed an interest. Jack Allen used to work for A&P until his crew was mostly killed in a disaster, and, in his opinion, the folks at A&P tried to brush the incident away.
The Ghost Dogs – The Ghost Rock Miners of Dog Butte are a union of miners that work for the owners of the Ghost Dog mine. The miners and the mine owners have a good working relationship (the miners are paid well).
The Confederate States of America – While Arizona seceded to from the US to join the Confederacy, the war and troubles and regulations of the CSA are a long way from Arizona. The Rangers and the Army do occasionally show up and make demands, however the CSA mainly wants the railroad bridge built so that the South can work towards having an operational transcontinental railroad. They don’t care what it takes to get the bridge built.
Navajo Nation – The “Diné Bikéyah” are a semi-nomadic tribe that are on relatively good terms with the government of the CSA. Their extended kinship groups have seasonal dwelling areas to accommodate livestock, agriculture and gathering practices. Navajo groups form some trading or raiding parties and have been involved in a few bloody conflicts with various parties over territorial rights. They are adept at taking the silver mined and smelted in this area and making jewelry and they also produce fine native textiles for trade.
Hopi – The Hopi are a pacifist tribe of cliff-dwelling natives that have a strong agrarian culture. Their territory is in the middle of the larger Navajo Nation and the Navajo do not trouble them. The Hopi are said to have complex and powerful mystical and spiritual traditions.
The Canon Peak Gang – The Canon Peak gang haunt the area between Canyon Diablo and Navajo Springs. They steal cattle and horses, rob stages and trains, as well as hire out for various underhanded work. The reason why they’re called the “Canon Peak” gang is because they have a serious artillery piece on top of the butte where they hide out, and use it to blow any unexpected visitors to smithereens. Theoretically, the head of the gang is a Mad Scientist of some sort. They held up Doktor Von Kraag’s stage on the way into town once which has started a rivalry between them and the Doc.
Places in Town
The buildings in dark gray are 1 story. The buildings in light gray are 2 or more stories.
North of Main
- Mine Owner’s House
- Mayor’s House
- Doc Halliwell’s House (Morgan Welch stays here, as do a variety of wounded people)
- Luxury Mansions
- First Baptist Church (has a steeple and the bells chime the hour)
- School House
- Nice Homes
Main Street – North
- Society Meeting Hall
- Livery and Feed
- First Southern Bank
- Mayor’s Office (Town Offices)
- Farm Supplies and Dry Goods
- Ghost Dog Mine Office
- The Silver Exchange (and mine offices)
- The Silver Palace Hotel (and Ice Cream Parlour)
- Rialto Theater
- Professional Offices, Small Eating Counters, Small Stores, and 2nd story apartments
- Gunter’s Grocery and Produce (biweekly farmer’s market)
Main Street – South
- Rail Yard (Stables, Rail Office, Shop, Warehouse)
- Jackson Hotel
- Stagecoage Depot and Livery
- Newspaper and Other Offices
- Professional Offices, Small Eating Counters, Small Stores, and 2nd story apartments Marshall’s * Office
- Stock Exchange
South of Track Street (aka The Wrong Side of the Tracks)
- Rail Camp (ramshackle temporary tents and corrugated tin shacks)
- Rail Foreman’s House
- Sin Street (aka The Alley)
- Two Grist Mills
- Small but neat housing for miners, millers, and some rail workers
The Alley – North
- Chicago Annie’s
- Texas Saloon
- Bughouse Joe’s
- The Last Drink
- The Road to Ruin
- Name Your Poison
The Alley – South
- Mary’s Home for Wayward Girls
- Keno Harry’s
- Colorado Saloon
- Small offices and Disreputable Businesses (includes a couple of eating counters)
- Bathhouse and laundry.
- Gunsmith and store.
Nearby Areas of Note
The action of the game takes place in 1876, but sadly, the best map I found was from 1870, so we’re going to have to agree that this is close enough. Not all of these places existed in 1870, so some of them are not labelled on those maps, but they’re all available in the game.
- Las Vegas, NV (much larger city, 300 mi West)
- Bullhead City, AZ (small city, 250 mi west)
- Gallup, NM (small city, 150 mi east)
- Page AZ, (small town, 150 mi north)
- Prescott, AZ (large city, 130 mi southwest)
- Navajo Springs, AZ (small city 100 mi west)
- Grand Canyon, AZ (natural feature, 100 mi northwest)
- Petrified Forest “La Xara Spring”, AZ (natural feature, 75 mi east)
- Sedona “Camp Verde”, AZ (small town, 65 mi southwest)
- Bear Spring, AZ (very small town, 50 mi west)
- Flagstaff “New Years Spring”, AZ (large city, 40 mi west)
- Carlton Lake, AZ (small town, 35 mi southwest)
- Wupatki Pueblo “Ruins”, AZ (small city, 35 mi northwest)
- Winslow “Log House”, AZ (small town, 30 mi east, has a bridge over the Little Colorado River)
- Bonito, AZ (very small town, 25 mi west)
- Two Guns “Rains”, AZ (very small town, 25 mi southwest)
- Colorado, AZ (very small town, 20 mi west)
- Yavapai Mine, AZ (silver mine, 9 mi southeast)
- Chiquito, AZ (very small town, 4 mi north)
Adda Roundtree – An elderly widow and devout churchgoer in the lower second street area. Malin paid her $10 to get the mess from the Hammer Rocket Test cleaned up.
Alice Shehan – The blacksmith of Canyon Diablo. An Irish immigrant. Has a high-temperature forge courtesy of Doctor Von Kraag.
Andrew Jewell – One of Jack Allen’s crewmen that survived the attack. He’s slowly convalescing at home.
Atsidi Sani – An old Navajo medicine man and healer that is also a famed silversmith. He speaks a little English. He is more-or-less the chief of the Ats’osi Diné (Feather People clan of Navajo.) Atsidi lives in Wupatki Pueblo, about 35 mi NW of Canyon Diablo. He’s older, very nice guy, and he’s got very strong medicine. It’s rumored that Brother Bear and Brother Coyote lend him their skins from time to time (id est, he’s got shapechanger powers). He also leads the medicine dances at the full moon and new moon.
Black Bart McClusky – A lieutenant of the Canon Peak Gang that foolishly called Doktor Von Kraag out and was gunned down and incarcerated. He was killed in an escape attempt.
Catalina Elias – A maid at the Jackson Hotel. Her son, Guillermo Elias was found dead in Pastor West’s house. She is dating Juan Gastero, a handyman at the Jackson. The boy’s father is her previous boyfriend, Luz Ortiz, a manager at the Jackson.
Charles Lascalles – Runs the feed store.
Dante Callow – A handsome “magician”, an illusionist that performs in Las Vegas, NV.
Deidre Halliwell – Tombstone in the cemetery shows she died in 1867.
Doc Bert Halliwell – The best doc in the tricounty area… when he’s sober. Also, an accomplished naturalist and photographer. Lets Morgan live with him. Doc Bert Halliwell is a blimp of a man, who is clearly trying to kill himself with overconsumption. He eats too much. He drinks way, way too much. He spends too much time on Sin Street drinking and gambling and consorting with loose women. He’s a widower. He’s got the calluses of a professional gunfighter. He doesn’t talk about either of those things. Doc lives in a relatively nice place on north 2nd street. Clearly the house has feminine touches, but the late Mrs. Doctor Halliwell has been dead for at least a decade.
Ecelzia Daniels – A hostess at Mary’s that’s made some time with Morgan Welch.
Eden Kennedy – Runs the illustrated express office in Canyon Diablo.
Edwin Ashfort – A gambler that won $1000 at Keno Harry’s and left a $50 tip at the Ice Cream Parlour. He has reportedly left town.
Ellen Redondo – Owner of the Texas Saloon. Can get the good stuff smuggled in from Mexico.
Flora Bayhart – A plump, kind woman who runs Flora’s Counter, a small, neat eating counter at the SW corner of 1st and Main.
Frank Dubois – A tall, weedy man who serves as secretary to the Mayor. He’s smarter and more perceptive than he lets on.
Freedom Patterson – A traveling revivalist and ex-slave that preaches the word of God. He has a reputation for good works and for having a very strict stance against many activities that might be going on down in the Alley.
George Rowell – Bridge engineer.
Guillermo Elias – A boy found murdered in Pastor West’s house. See Catalina Elias.
Hermalinda Flores – A hostess at Chicago Annies.
James Beacham – The last sheriff of Canyon Diablo. Was murdered 8-9 months ago.
James Groves – One of the town drunks. Took Paolo Lopez to Doc Halliwell.
James McDowell – The preacher at First Baptist.
James Thorpe – The unflappable young man who is the manager of the Ice Cream Parlour.
Jean-Marc Laurent – The immediate supervisor of the “guy the PCs bushwhacked and gave to the Navajo”. The PCs have no more information than that.
Jethro Haas – A strong, pleasant man with a gift for patience with horses and wood-working that runs the Canyon Diablo Livery and Stable. His daughter, Manuela (“Manny”) is about 10 or 12 and has blonde pigtails and big blue eyes. She loves horses and is an accomplished rider and teamster.
Jimmy Dengler – A pudgy kid that works as a soda jerk at the Ice Cream Parlour. He’s got a fantastic imagination and wants to be a writer.
John Hull – A blues pianist from Kansas City that plays at the Colorado Saloon.
John Millen – The undertaker.
Jonathan – A gruff rail crew supervisor who has an uncertain opinion of Jack Allen.
Joseph Dixon – The boy that belongs to the “new family” in the lower Second Street housing. He sometimes skips school with the other boys to catch frogs and splash in Diablo Creek near the grist mills.
Juan Gastero – A handyman at the Jackson Hotel. See Catalina Elias.
Kate O’Shea – A tough Irishwoman who publicly advertises as being a “paranormal investigator” in Flagstaff.
Luz Ortiz – A manager at the Jackson Hotel. See Catalina Elias.
Lyle Henderson – The head engineer for A&P Railroad in Canyon Diablo. He’s got a lot of pull in town.
Marcia and Marcial Corta – Their son is missing. He worked on Jack Allen’s crew. Carlo was last seen at school.
Martha O’Keefe – Arizona newspaper publisher and art aficionado.
Mary-Jane Breen – A woman who’s been a hostess up and down the alley. Has been seen out with Doc Halliwell. She’s blonde and blue-eyed.
Nellie Brady – A gorgeous and engaging black woman who works for Bayou Vermillion. She’s staying at The Silver Palace with her entourage and the desk staff sure seems to like her. She was run out of town by Von Kraag and Jack Allen.
Nita Granillo – A maid at the Silver Palace.
Norman McCloud – One of Jack Allen’s crewmen that survived the attack. He’s back at home and convalescing.
Paolo Lopez – Blew off a couple of fingers because he was drunk. Sold his mine to Hermalinda Flores.
Pedro Alacabaron – “Canyon Pete” makes a good living helping people cross Canyon Diablo. He’s got a precarious burro-path hacked into both sides, and a ferryboat at a small dock down at the bottom. For a small fee, he can get you down one side, across, and up the other.
Radhi – Atsidi Sani’s nephew. He is one of the foremost hunters and trackers of the Ats’osi Diné (Feather People clan of Navajo.)
Ramirez de Falco – A Jesuit priest that seems very interested in Malin LeBeau.
Ramon Hernandez – Canyon Pete’s 2nd in command.
Rupert Hennessy – A young, freckled boy who is the junior soda jerk and server at the Ice Cream Parlour.
Samuel Gates – The owner of the Rialto Theater.
Sarah Levine – A young lovely lady who is a secretary at the Kanab-North Mine and occasionally writes for the Gazette. Married.
Sarah Silverthorne – A lovely lady in her early thirties that works for Black River. She’s kind, empathetic, and utterly ruthless. Has fair skin, dark hair, and wears green dresses to match her green eyes.
Sonneillon – A demon that was possessing Pastor West’s son’s dead body. PCs pent him in White Sands.
Sosario Gotaris – One of Jack Allen’s crewmen that survived the attack. He ain’t quite right in the head after having been in a coma for several days. His son Felipe was murdered by Danny West.
Teddy Wise – A handsome, grandfatherly man that works for Dixie Rails. Urbane, patriotic, fun and utterly ruthless. Has grey mustaches and wears fine brown suits.
Thomas Sheridan – The mayor of Canyon Diablo. Kind of a windbag, but a canny political animal for all that.
Widow Parson – An elderly, pruned-up schoolmarm and Bible study teacher.
Yiska – A young brave of the Ats’osi Diné (Feather People clan of Navajo.)
Go to a list of pages for this campaign.