a.k.a. The best report I can write up about a place no one knows about…or a place with very carefully guarded secrets. I like the later explanation, but who knows?
February 16th 18xx ((2018))
207B Loner Lane
I was awoken by a beating on my door. It was unusually early for me and by the time I had got sat up and found my voice the little urchin had already picked the lock and walked in. The room was dimly lit, just the barest bit of light peeking through the doorway as the morning sun crept down the alley. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and squinted making out the outline and bit of blonde marking this wee intruder as Nellie.
She had not been by in days, perhaps even over a couple weeks. I would have been worried, but I had heard news and knew she was alright. This morning however, she was not. What had her distraught? The selling of Steampunk Park. At that time I never set foot in it, nor even been to Canals. She had never even mentioned it before today. What came next was an argument I don’t even remember the details of. Lesson: Do not argue with an urchin in the early hours of the morning, especially when said urchin is for the most part more intelligent than you are.
The argument ended however with me digging through my trunk and safe for whatever we could scrape, Little Nellie throwing in all she possessed as well. We tallied it and stared at each other, we only had a little over half of what we needed. Honestly it must be admitted I was thinking now I’ve won the argument. I was wrong. Before the lack of funds could be added to my previous argument she was out the door, leaving me abandoned on the rug with our inadequate pile of coins.
Our mess tidied up and I now dressed for the day, nestled in my chair and set about some reading. I had assumed perhaps she had given up or found another cause to distract her attention. Again… I was wrong. It was several chapters into my book before the door swung open, and in she came. She goes straight to emptying her pockets on the rug and retrieving our previously counted coinage from the safe, to which she by now knew the combination. I kept reading, glancing over every so often, as she gathered it up and recounted. When she was done, she looked over at me and smiled. She had won. Not a word was said as I closed my book and set it on the top of the safe beside my chair. She gathered the money into a pouch, and out the door we went to see about this lot in Canals she refused to let go.
The park has seen change since that day. The old walls remaining, however it no longer sports the amusement rides it had before, the overgrown grass and weeds tamed into flower beds and statuary. The clockwork bird that resided here no longer hopping about, however he is being repaired and perhaps soon shall roam once more. The carousal that was here was replaced by a new one. I could not persuade the old one to work. A family of cats that was previously here remain and have multiplied. I believe there are thirteen or so currently. And a building added on the corner in which my home on the upper floor of for most of the first year.
This spring I decided the park could use some work. A larger amount than normally inflicted upon her. While drawing up my plans and tending to some new seedlings, a thought occurred to me. Not a new one, I have several times before attempted to learn about the park’s history. This time the attempt made a bit stronger and still came up with very little. Silver lining … it is substantially more than the last few times the attempt was made. So before I get any further with the “now” I’d like to share what was found. If anything has been left out, misinterpreted, misquoted, or anything else noticed, please do let me know.
If you want story, sadly there was a severe lack from before my time here, however I do have some photos and my own assumptions. I’ve been told the park dates back to ((2007)) and was first held by an urchin, name unremembered, nor how long the urchin had the park. There was no mention whether it originated with the name Steampunk Park or not, until learned otherwise I shall assume it was.
Mayor Tenk has graciously found and provided an older photo than I had previously. I am very sorry it took me so long to see it and add it. This one, as far as I know, is a photo of the first version of the Steampunk Park ((2007))
The following photo was taken for, from what I gathered, a scavenger hunt of sorts ((2011)). People looked at the photos and either knew, or hunted out, where the photo was taken. Number sixteen was Steampunk Park…or from what I see, a cavern under Steampunk Park.
It appears to be a cavern, where else but under? Today there is no “under.” The cavern more than likely lost to flooding, no entrance to be found, and digging has been a no go. I could not figure the owner of the image to ask for permission or know who to credit. Please inform me if further credit needs to be noted, or the picture removed.
The next two photos are from ((2012)). Taken by Wildstar Beaumont. I double checked, but these two were the oldest of the park that I found in his collection. I believe the only two I found period. But I am prone to overlooking things.
My next finding was the first, and only, mention of the park in a story that I came across after several hours of searching archives. ((2013)) The Steam Hare sets fire to a wall of bushes surrounding the park. What became of that, your guess is as good as mine, however the rest of the story may interest. (( https://cityofnewbabbage.net/playing-with-firebugs/ ))
This one I found from Steadman Kondor dated ((2015)). It’s titled “Steampunk Park Revitilization Project”, of which I have no information on further than that. At some point between the previous set of photos and this one the trees seemed to have taken over.
There was a second later that year from another, however I could not get it to show up here.
Lastly, for my list of historical information I found a mention at a Town Hall meeting, Autumn ((2016)). Dr. Evelyn Heim-Vögtlin is noted as the fourth caretaker of the park. The first actual name I have come across in my search, the previous three caretakers still unknown to me. Dr. Heim-Vögtli was asking for historic images of the park and new items to refurbish the lot and Halloween decorations. I do not know if she ever received an answer or not. I do believe though they were the last to have Steampunk Park before I, unless wrong that puts me as the fifth caretaker, and as long as I am breathing and able I plan to be the last.
There was a photo from that year that showed the park almost as it was when I acquired it, however when I went to retrieve the source of the photo it had been removed. It is saved to my own archives, however I did not feel right adding it here with the source being erased. It’s assumed the owner of the photo wanted it gone and so it is.
Now I sit here on a park bench with journal and pen, overlooking my work proudly. The list of things I am truly proud of is short. My name listed as owner of this park, the length I’ve had her, and the work done, is very near the top of that list. If not at the very top. Over three quarters of my first year in Babbage were spent here. Even though I haunt other places more frequently now, she is still my home.
There has been some story here since she became mine. Some fleeting and some I’d rather forget ever happened at all. Some tidbits may find their way into a later posting. For now I finish with today.
The flower beds have been redone. Not only redone actualy. Some have been added, some taken out. The walls have been torn down and replaced. No longer grey stone, they are now done in brown bricks. I find the park looks better with the brown background. The grey took something away I believe. The walls and paths have been realigned. Things were not quite lined up before, not to my liking anyway. Something that was put off for too long. The paths have also been changed. They now match the sidewalks surrounding the lot.
The carousal has been refitted with new animals. The last one having only brown horses, now it has several different creatures in lovely colors. My favorite of the six are the goat and rabbit. There are plans to change the paintings on the carousal, but at a later date.
The greenhouse is gone, however for those of you partial to the strawberries, there are still some growing this year not far from where the greenhouse stood. You will find fewer roses this year, there are some, but the ones around the middle circle have been replaced by two flowerbeds done up as close as I could get to the Babbage Shield. It was not the easiest of tasks actually, not as easy as thought it would be when started. But perhaps that makes the work all that more worthwhile.
The corner building remains. It’s current inhabitant, Lunette Shore, keeps the carousal running smoothly and will be working on that poor clockwork bird in the upcoming months.
The park has also undergone a name change. I had intended leaving the name as is, however the lack of history dampened my attachment to the name. Thus allowing my previous reasons for wanting to alter it overshadow the one that was keeping me from it. She is now called Finchy~Wilde Gardens. A ‘formerly’ tacked on, for those who’s tongues do not like change, for easy finding, and perhaps a bit of nostalgia.
Final note or two, I would like more posters for the outsides of the garden walls. If anyone is interested in putting theirs up or would like one made for their business or whathaveyous, please do let me know. I am also interested in any comments, suggestions, or stories relating to the park. Anything anyone would like to share.
I would also like to hold dances or gatherings perhaps once a month or so during the warmer months, if anyone is interested in such a thing. Suggestions on days and timings would be most appreciated, or even comments on “fors” or “againsts”.
I do hope others find some enjoyment from the park and what has become of her as much as I have enjoyed her and making her into what she is today.
Have a wonderful day and take care.
~Toby de’ Borel