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Canyon Diablo - Recreating the deadliest town in the West 
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About 5 years ago, I had planned on starting terrain for Old West gaming, based on the the real-life town of Canyon Diablo in Arizona around 1880. But I could never devote the time to finding out more and bringing it to life in miniature…until now.

Located about midway between Flagstaff and Winslow, the actual geological feature of Canyon Diablo was the biggest obstacle to the completion of the main East-West line of the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad. Like the Union Pacific, the A&P built the line from both directions, hoping to meet somewhere in the San Fransisco mountains east of Flagstaff. The canyon would be crossed by a steel truss bridge assembled off-site and delivered in 1880. But, someone measured wrong – the bridge turned up short – and westward construction of the line was halted overnight. This was the genesis of the shantytown of Canyon Diablo….below are a few of the buildings I've started. The largest will probably be "The Cootchy Clatch" (under construction), the 2-story will probably be the Dry Goods Store, the large 1-story will be "The Road to Ruin", the small pitched-roof will be the Grocer, and the smallest will be one of the "houses of ill repute".

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You can read more about the town and see a map below:
link

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Sat May 24, 2014 5:21 pm
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The General Store is almost complete. I added a small addition to the side of the building which will become a dry goods storage area which will include bushels, sacks, and barrels. Dry goods storage was almost universally unheated with bare earth floors at the time, as abrupt temperature and/or humidity changes caused by indoor heating could easily spoil the contents. Speaking of which, I added a stove, stovepipe, and bed to the back room for the owner's comfort.

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.....this is the first 100% scratchbuilt structure - the Chicken Merchant. It's a big guess, but meat and animal by-products would have been in high demand locally. Even with the railroad's ability to deliver consumer goods far and wide, meat and food production was still fairly localized in the West, even by the early 1900s; so I figured I needed some food sources for Canyon Diablo. The chicken coop itself is based on a real design from 1910 - it's large enough to accomodate a good amount of poultry and a small storage area for feed and tools. It's elevated and screened to keep out predators - Coyotes were (and still are) a problem, and it's possible Mexican Gray Wolves would have roamed this area of Arizona at the time. There will be a fence as well.

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More info and pics below:
http://empireofghosts.blogspot.com/2014 ... icken.html

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Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:26 pm
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Work continues on the buildings of Canyon Diablo, slowly but surely. First up this week is the Dance Hall (described in the contemporary literature as "little more than houses of ill repute"), as such I started adding a large moonshine still to the rear of the building. Don't be alarmed by the bright red fire hydrant look, the shape will be half hidden by dried earth along the bottom half (shown sometimes on old stills to contain heat), piping will be added, and the entire thing will be painted an aged copper color. The fence framing has been added and I'll be adding the boards after painting the groundcover.

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More pics and info below:
http://empireofghosts.blogspot.com/2014 ... ivery.html

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Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:15 am
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Well, they won't win any awards but this was a quick project. More pics and info below:
http://empireofghosts.blogspot.com/2014 ... erers.html

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Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:47 pm
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It's been two long years almost to the day that I posted anything for my "Canyon Diablo" Old West project. It's been a real scorcher around here this past week, and when the weather gets hot and nasty like this, I always sit around with a cold beer and listen to The Refreshments and RCMP a lot...which inevitably leads to me wanting to pick up some western miniatures to paint.

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More pics and info:
http://empireofghosts.blogspot.com/2016 ... ditos.html

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Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:34 pm
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It only took several years but I'm happy to say I've completed many of the Hell St. buildings for Canyon Diablo.

More pics and info below:
http://empireofghosts.blogspot.com/2016 ... ll-st.html

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Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:43 am
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That's super cool! Great looking colors, theme, and construction!


Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:05 am
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