Frogtown

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13, -10.5105, 167.2631
Frogtown
Population
 • Estimate (2014)225,000

Frogtown is a city in southwestern Rhododactylia. It is known primarily for two things: its beautiful beach, maintained by the city government, and the best-kept pinball-only arcade in all of Rhododactylia, Rat Johnson's House of Pinball. For those interested in other pursuits, Frogtown also has nightclubs, bars, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and a decommissioned lighthouse which has been turned into a tourist attraction.

History

1817 - The brothers Anthony and Zachary Beck leave Beckville, the town founded by their grandfather, grandmother, and great uncle. They settle at the site of what is now a storage/industrial building at 2 East Avenue C (today at the corner of Surfside Boulevard, which was then a mere dirt path). They name the new city Frogtown after the plentiful frog population in what is then swamp surrounding them.

1822 - The Beck brothers begin clearing and extending the path (along present-day Surfside Boulevard) south of their location towards the beach. They had been to other beaches along the coast of Rhododactylia, but immediately noticed the difference here.

1823 - Word spreads of the new beach and others begin settling the new city. Rows of houses spring up and the population of Frogtown is an estimated 900 to 1,000.

1838 - The population of Frogtown reaches an estimated 5,000 to 5,500.

1839 - During the early morning hours of November 1, Anthony Beck dies in his sleep of natural causes. As the news spreads around town, most shops and all government offices close early. Almost all businesses in the city would close for the entire day of his funeral, November 5.

1841 - The population of Frogtown reaches an estimated 10,000 to 11,000.

1847 - Shortly after midnight on October 11, Zachary Beck is found dead by his nephew. No cause of death was determined but it is believed Zachary's addiction to alcohol in his later years played a role. Upon hearing the news, again most businesses and government offices close for the day, and would close again for the funeral on October 14.

1852 - The Frogtown Police Deparment is established.

1854 - The Frogtown Fire Deparment is established.

1855 - The minimum age to purchase both tobacco and alcohol is set at 21 by city council.

1889 - What is then known as Frogtown General Hospital is established at the corner of present-day East Avenue I and Third Street.

1891 - The first official census is taken and the population of Frogtown is recorded as 17,930.

1911 - The second official census is taken and the population of Frogtown is recorded as 31,195.

1931 - The third official census is taken and the population of Frogtown is recorded as 40,101.

1938 - Frogtown General Hospital is renamed Zachary Beck General Hospital and relocated to its present-day location at 1000 Third Street between East Avenue J and East Avenue K.

1952 - After a rash of medical incidents at the beach, some big changes are made. Swimmer's Lane is built as a one-way emergency access lane, connecting to a northbound-only Fourth Street signed only for destination traffic towards the hospital. Also, a helipad is added near the hospital to expedite transfer of patients arriving by air. Prior to this, a section of East Avenue K or (rarely) Third Street would be shut down to give the helicopters a space to land, a process which took several minutes and disrupted traffic flow in the area.

1956 - In March, plans to expand Frogtown eastward are stalled when it is discovered part of the newly built East Avenue H and Ninth Street are washed out by flooding from the nearby marsh. The streets are scaled back to their present-day length and turning circles are built at the new termini. A footway is built behind the buildings at 850 East Avenue H and 750 Ninth Street, retaining pedestrian connectivity; it opens on October 1.

1959 - Frogtown Airport opens. Initially the only motor vehicle access is via West Avenue F, which would feed into the Airport Loop.

1960-1961 - After a particularly busy and chaotic summer beach season, access control is set up for the Frogtown City Beach, and beginning with the 1961 season (April 1), parking permits are sold for vehicular beach access. A single entry point at South Surfside Boulevard is established, with a beach patrol shack set up for police to monitor the comings and goings. Some emergency access points are set up (primarily for emergency vehicles, but in theory available to support a faster evacuation of the beach as well) but the official public access point is via South Surfside Boulevard.

1969 - Lift gates are added to allow the beach to be closed off entirely. To complement this, a U-turn lane is added just before Surfside Boulevard merges back into an undivided road.

1971 - Construction of the Airport Expressway begins in April (accounts differ on the exact day; some have April 5, some have April 12, others still list April 13 or April 14). Also during this year in May (accounts differ, most state the evening of May 7 with a few stating May 8), Reggie "Rat" Johnson would open his first business in Frogtown, Rat Johnson's Cafe by the Lighthouse.

1972 - Zippy Mart opens its first location in Frogtown at 430 Second Street (corner of East Avenue E). On December 18, the Airport Expressway opens to traffic. It is heavily promoted as the preferred route to the airport for Frogtowners coming from parts of the city close to Avenue P and further south.

1973 - Smoking is banned in most public places effective September 1. Bars and nightclubs are exempt from the ban for the time being.

1975 - Rat Johnson's House of Pinball opens at 540 Seventh Street. At the time, it is merely a one-story building. Most games are priced at 250 stone/1 play, 500 stone/3 plays, with a couple of older tables priced at 100 stone/1 play, 250 stone/3 plays.

1977 - Smoking in bars and nightclubs is prohibited effective March 1. Merchants are prohibited from selling tobacco products effective October 1. Possession of cigarettes or chewing tobacco purchased outside Frogtown city limits is still allowed for adults 21 or over, at least for the time being.

1978 - On April 8, 24 Mart opens its first location in Frogtown at 2480 Eleventh Street, to serve the increasing amount of traffic headed to the beach from the East End.

1979 - Many traffic accidents, some involving fatalities and others involving serious injuries, occur between February and May this year at Penny Thompson Lane and North Surfside Boulevard. In an attempt to quash the carnage, the yield sign at this intersection is changed to a stop sign on June 1, and an aggressive patrol by Frogtown police is launched. Drivers were given warnings for violations in June, but in July police began writing citations. The patrol ended on August 7 with a whopping 239 citations, most during the first three weeks of July. To date this intersection is the only intersection in Frogtown with a stop sign. Also this year, a group of disgruntled smokers who reside in Frogtown form the small community of Hideaway across the southeast border. On October 4, a cigar bar called The Chimney (as in "smokes like a chimney") opens in Hideaway.

1980 - A second story is added to Rat Johnson's House of Pinball. Construction takes approximately six months, starting on January 1, with the arcade closed completely until February 8, and not fully reopened until March 10 or 11 (accounts differ).

1991 - After an intense battle at Frogtown City Hall, Rat Johnson wins approval to expand his House of Pinball to an additional building across the street at 501 Seventh Street. The construction plan for the Silverball Snack Bar is denied for the time being. Ground is broken on the new building on December 2.

1992 - Rat Johnson's House of Pinball's expansion building at 501 Seventh Street is completed on June 3. On September 30, the Silverball Snack Bar plans are finally approved, and ground is broken on October 8.

1993 - Construction is completed on the Silverball Snack Bar on February 5. An additional entrance ramp for the Airport Expressway is built southwest from the intersection of West Avenue P and O'Leary Street, accessible only from westbound West Avenue P and southbound O'Leary Street. It opens to traffic on November 1.

1998 - James Smith and Victor Darby, known for their investment in the local 24 Mart franchise, lead an effort to repeal the ban on selling tobacco products within Frogtown city limits. The effort is unsuccessful. On December 3, they open the Smith & Darby Emporium in Hideaway.

Further reading