Big Inca

To: The Boss

From: Bill

Date: July 28

How can I be your personal assistant? I’ve never even met you. Now, for what you call the “postcard view,” there’s nothing picturesque about the place. The mills are in disarray, many of the windows broken or boarded over, and the buildings sit on the other side of what seems to be an abandoned railroad spur, isolated from the town itself. Downtown is uphill from there, with an old town square that’s really just a triangle with a statue of a Union general in the middle. City Hall, the courthouse, public library, and the bank, as well as a few storefronts, face the green. Most of the retail buildings sit off to the side, on Congress Street, while some fine old houses lead off along Court Street, many of them overlooking the river. The third major street, Mill Street, leads down through some slummy housing to the millyard.

The economy took off in the Civil War years, making shoes for the Army, and then boomed from the 1880s to 1920s, when many of the jobs moved to lower-paying towns in the South. As I said, the yrUBbury mills went kaput in the 1938 flood devastation.


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