Everything has a life span. The virtual town that I called home for over two years is coming to the end of its existence. Our sim owners Caed/Percy, Deac and Estwee decided that this weekend would be the weekend that we will "burn down the town." Then we will temporarily close the sim while they install the new build that will take us back to the spring of 1876.
Here's how Caed explained it on our Deadwood community forum:
"The Deadwood Fire begins on Saturday the 27th of 1879 sometime in the mid afternoon so as to allow as many as possible to show up. The day before (Friday) can be the run-up to the events on Saturday. After all the destruction, Sunday the 28th will be the closing party in the late afternoon/evening.
Fri the 27th, events leading up to the fire.
Sat the 28th, Deadwood Fire.
Sun the 29th, Closing OOC Party & final day to pick up prims.
Mon 30th thru Friday 2nd, Deadwood Rebuild
Friday 2nd 1876, Deadwood Grand Re-Opening at 5pm SLT
Rentals for merchants and players will operate much the same way as before with only a few 'minor' changes, and as always, rentals will be first come first to be served.
There will be plenty of space, tons of new buildings, more special 'named' buildings (Cricket, Senate, Progressive Hall, Shingle's, the Custer House Hotel, Bella Union, Iowa Restaurant, California Chop House Restaurant, Grand Central Hotel) and more, many un-named saloons, shops and residences will also be available to choose from."
The idea, if you missed the previous discussions of this, is to turn back the clock and recreate what Deadwood looked like when it was newly established, an illegal gold mining camp located on land that had been promised in perpetuity to the Sioux under the Ft. Laramie treaty of 1868.
You may recall that our first version of Deadwood was a remarkable experiment in historical roleplay as time moved forward in the sim: we started as mid-1876, and experienced the passing of the days, the turning of the seasons--and the progression of events as our own roleplay storylines mingled with historic events such as the murder of Wild Bill Hickok. We also witnessed the town developed, becoming more "civilized" and developing a more sophisticated social and architectural fabric.
It is now early 1879 in the Deadwood sim, and we are about to include one last historic event--a recreation of the great fire of 1879 that destroyed much of the early town. When the sim reopens, many of us will have new characters (I'm going to be splitting my time between Malachi--an older Black miner--and a Sergeant Major OHanlon, up at the fort). The environment will be very very different as well. We have done a great deal of research on what early Deadwood looked like, and Caed has been working for months on new structures and new terraforming that he will install during the brief hiatus. I think people are going to be surprised and impressed. The Deadwood build--even in it's first iteration--never looked like the other western builds in SL. This new build will look even less so: it will be a mixture of tents and cabins, some with canvas roofs, and a few others looking a bit fancier with plank false fronts dressing up their facades. It certainly is not going to be just another standard mish-mash of "old West" buildings.
Other folks have been working on new accessories and equipment as well--from mining gear, to new weapons, to more accurate clothing and furnishings. Everyone has learned a lot in the last two or so years and we're putting that knowledge to work.
Sadly, I am going to miss the end of the old build--real life work has me on the road for the rest of this week and into early next week. So this evening I went in and pulled up all my stuff (I didn't want to have it all returned as one big mass into Lost and Found over the weekend). So I started at the laundry--the first place I had in Deadwood.
From there, I went to the Blacksmith shop that I had set up for someone who suddenly decided to leave the sim, but I liked how it looked, so I kept it. Clay and I had a great time trying to make a forge for this shop because we wanted something that looked more realistic than what you usually see in SL blacksmith shops. I have always enjoyed collaborating with Clay. We give each other ideas, we share information and our different skills, and it's...well, it's just been a whole lot of fun.
Next, I went and cleaned out the wholesale liquor and tobacco shop I had set up with Blackjack--part of our "silent partner" storyline. Blackjack/JF has been a co-conspirator in some of the best rp I ever was a part of. I have had fun with a lot of folks--so many that I can't name them all. But there were always a few very special friends like Blackjack who--along with Elizabeth and Carrie Anne/Rachel, Roku and Sal, Clay and all his goddamn alts, Mahaila and Meri, and Lefty/Hawk and Brook--often had me moved to tears or laughing so hard I thought I was gonna puke....
Finally, I headed over to the hotel and cleaned that out. Sharing that with Cookie/Coodnank was a truly fascinating experience. I really loved working on fixing that place up and furnishing it as the town evolved, and places like the Grand Central became less primitive.
Then I went up into the hills and collected my shooting targets. I was thinking about the fun we had with the Deadwood shooting society--and the many happy hours spent talking about guns with Lock and Ernst and some of the other boys.
There's a few odds and ends left, but I guess it's ok if Caed just returns them during or after the fire. Street signs; a couple outhouses...oh hell's britches, there's probably something else I have forgotten. But I know one thing that won't be forgotten...all the friends and all the good times...learning and building, laughing and crying, shooting the same stupid griefers on different alts over and over...and creating some great characters and some wonderful stories.
I walked over the bridge one last time...
So I will let you know how the next stage of this experiment turns out.