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Research for the a locale in the Noir Era

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  • Research for the a locale in the Noir Era

    I live in El Paso, TX - and I want to make a home-brew Deadlands Noir setting for this city in the 1930s. I love this region, I think there is cool stuff that happens in both the real history of the era, and the Deadlands history, with the big Bayou Vermillion Depot set in the city, and I picture a great place to set a "Western Noir" story.

    I can find surface level history from cursory google searches. But I want to go a bit deeper to help the city feel alive. For those who have done similar projects, where do you go to dig up more obscure facts? What thought processes to help you determine whether weirdness is just weird, or "Weird West"? What general tips for designing a setting might you share beyond standard fare in GMing book? How deep/ far to go with the setting before you say "yep, good enough for the game table!"

    I've been into RPGS since the 90s, and home-brewed a lot on the system side of things. Weird as it may sound, this is the first time I have strayed into working on my own (piece of a) setting.

  • #2
    Have you checked out the Border Heritage Center at El Paso Public Library? http://www.elpasolibrary.org/research/archives

    I'm in a different part of Texas, but Public Library historic archives are absolutely priceless for historic research.

    Comment


    • Akerbakk
      Akerbakk commented
      Editing a comment
      This is incredible! You have given me at least an afternoon of research at this site alone.

      There is a local museum I plan to check out too. Thanks for your response.

  • #3
    You are very welcome!

    You might also checkout the Portsl to Texas History at UNT (https://texashitexashistory.unt).

    If you are really interested I can put together a short post on Texas History resources when I am back at my computer.

    Comment


    • Akerbakk
      Akerbakk commented
      Editing a comment
      I will not turn your offer down, that sounds wonderful! I've also planned a day trip with my kids to the local history museum. This is fun.

  • #4
    I'd recommend actually (physically) going to the library as well. Not only is it a great way to spend an afternoon, but there is usually a ton of stuff the websites won't have. Looking at old maps of the area should be very helpful, and don't forget to check out some old newspapers on microfiche. You should be able to print a copy (on paper or CD) to take home.

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    • #5
      Originally posted by Doctor Crunch View Post
      You are very welcome!

      You might also checkout the Portsl to Texas History at UNT (https://texashitexashistory.unt).

      If you are really interested I can put together a short post on Texas History resources when I am back at my computer.
      Sorry for the delay! It's been a heck of a week.

      So after checking out the local library and UNT's Portal to History there are a couple of great resources.

      The Texas State Historical Society's Texas Handbook Online Series (https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook) is a really useful basic reference for Texas history. Check it for brief biographies and summary length histories of places and events.

      The Perry-Castaneda Map Collection at UT has a useful but somewhat disorganized legacy page here (https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/)

      And if you end up deep diving Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) is a searchable collection of primary source archives (https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/taro/)

      For general historic resources -

      The Chronicling America Project at Library of Congress collects newspapers from around the country (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). This will for sure include the El Paso Herald for the 20s. I've used these Newspapers as this basis for mockup papers or just for flavor

      Also the general Library of Congress digital collection has tons of cool stuff like this (https://www.loc.gov/item/2018652837/) historic 1908 photo of a Smelter near El Paso.

      The USGS Historic Topographic Maps Collection is also very cool (https://www.usgs.gov/core-science-sy...map-collection). They have El Paso back to 1896.

      Comment


      • Akerbakk
        Akerbakk commented
        Editing a comment
        This is fantastic - thank you. I look forward to my deep dive in the coming weeks.
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