Calvert City Chronicle
Welcome to the Sixth Ward, kid.
Calvert City. Calvertown. The Copper Harbor. The year is 1920 and the Volstead Act has just gone into force. If you wanna make it in Calvertown, you better know what you’re doing and know who you’re doing it to. This ain’t the Heights, kid… this is the Sixth Ward.
History of the Copper Harbor
Calvert City was incorporate in the late 18th century (1797) and is located along the shore of New Jersey, north of Atlantic City. The fortress at Black Point (Fort Adams, named after the incoming president of that year) began construction of the seventh ship ever to enter the United States Navy, the USS Senate to supplement the original six frigates commissioned by the Naval act of 1794.
In the mid to late 19th century, Calvert City was flooded with immigrants making their way southwards from the entry point at New York Harbor. Irish, Jews, Germans, Dutch, and Italians swamped the little city and rapid expansion was inevitable. The Atlantic Copper Refining Company (ACRC) opened offices in the harbor and made use of the immigrant labor to begin their New Jersey refining operation.
Deemed a neutral ground between New York and Chicago, Copper Harbor had, until the eve of 1917, never developed the brutal rivalries that characterized gang violence in those cities. However, in the summer of that year the “Black Hand” extortions so common in Chicago began to appear in Calvert City. Enrico Morrio, owner of Morrio’s Café in the Sixth Ward, received the first Black Hand notice and was later found strangled in his apartment, his wife shot dead and his children left to cry amongst the ruin.
It was originally believed to be a copy-cat organization, but in 1918 it was revealed that Jimmy Cosmano, supposedly dead after his run-in with Johnny Torrio in Chicago, had relocated to Calvert City and begun his own operation. A city-wide crackdown on crime followed and eventually the Jewish mobster Moishe Edelson cornered Cosmano and killed him with a shotgun. According to Edelson’s own words as reported to the Chronicle: “Cosmano had to go. He was making life unlivable for the rest of us.”
The floodgates were open. The gangs had come to Calvert City.
Fort Adams and the Outer Harbor. The First Ward deals with shipping problems and terminal issues. The Federal Office of the Prohibition is located here to better interdict ships carrying illegal alcohol in from the sea.
Raritan Harbor. The Second Ward is characterized by warehouses and trucking depots. ACRC has their main facility here and a large number of German immigrants working at the copper plant have earned it the name Germantown.
West Calverton. This is a poor slum where a lot of black folk have been forced to live on the edges of the city. The farther from downtown one goes, the worse the roads and buildings become until they are little more than shacks on dusty tracks at the city’s edge.
The Financial District. This is downtown Calvert City, where the main police station is located as well as City Hall, the City Courts, and pretty much every other organ of government in Calvert.
Smack in the center of the 5th Ward is the Carlton Club and Hotel, the #1 destination for visiting rich folks, politicians, and the favorite spot of the City Council to kick back and relax with the Ward Bosses.
Little Italy. Sixtown. The darkest, dimmest, most despicable place in Calvert City. Near Saint John’s Hospital the region known as Pikestown has become known as Kikestown for its large Jewish population.
Pikestown. This area is the preserve of Moishe Edelson and his crews. The area is one of tiny winding lanes, few major depots of any kind, and insular communities that see little of the outside world.
East Calvert City. The 13th Ward is populated mostly by Polish and Hungarians down by the water, though northwards there are more lower-class rowhouses and brownstones. The 14th Ward has some Bohunk population in the south, but its center is mostly staid Protestant anglo-saxons. North, bordering on the 18th Ward, are a number of Chinese-owned businesses and buildings which were opium dens until 1907 when they were closed down in a spectacular series of police raids.
The Heights. The Wealthy and Elite live up on the Calvert Heights. This includes the mayoral mansion and various city officials.
Middle class homes and [[St. Ignatius of Loyola of Calvert City]], the only university in the city limits.
Places Outside Calvert City
While not technically outside the Maritime Limits of Calvert City, Cider Island is a little visited knoll sitting in the deep waters off the Raritan. It once had its own lighthouse (until the Spanish Flue of 1918 carried away the entire family that lived there). Now, it crouches in the mouth of the Raritan, abandoned and dark.
A small town just north of Calvert City on the long road to New York. County Cross is along the postal route that travels south down to Washington from Boston (also known as the Boston Post Road).
The high mountains of northern New Jersey are some 3 hours from Calvert City or more, but they provide the perfect hiding place for massive still operations. Rumor has it that every little town up in Kittatinny Country is floating.