Torrington, D.K. (District of Kennedy) is the capital city of the United States of America since 1991, de facto at first, then by law once the restored United States dropped its "provisional" label in 2008. It is geographically located within eastern Wyoming. Politically, it is located within a federal district called the District of Kennedy, similar to how Washington had been located within the District of Columbia. Because of this, Torrington is often referred to as Torrington DK. In terms of population, the World Census and Reclamation Bureau considers it the fastest-growing city in North America as of the 2010's (with Newport, OR being the second-fastest).
Older residents who lived in Torrington before Doomsday have marveled at the fact that what was once a sleepy little town on a sparsely-populated prairie has now risen to become the busy, monument-dotted US capital city that one visitor dubbed "the most exciting city in North America" in 2020.
Torrington, Wyoming was founded by pioneer W. G. Curtis along the historic Mormon Trail, and near the California and Oregon Trails. It is situated along the North Platte River. Curtis named his new town after his hometown of Torrington, Connecticut (which was itself named after the town of Torrington, Devon, England, now part of the Celtic Alliance).
The settlement began during the pioneer era with W.G. Curtis's farm, located roughly three miles west of present day downtown Torrington. Curtis established a small post office for his family on this farmland in 1889, calling the post office station Torrington.
Gradually, more settlers started trickling into the area, and the town was incorporated in 1908. As of the 1910 US Census, Torrington was still an extremely tiny settlement, with a population of only 155 permanent residents.
One of the major employers in the area from those early days until the present has been the Holly Sugar Factory. Work ceased for a period after Doomsday, before resuming to help maintain the local resource supply.
Another major point of interest left over from the pioneer days was the Union Pacific train station, which had played a role in the settlement of the Wild West.
By the mid-to-late 20th century, Torrington, Wyoming was still a small, modest town that wouldn't look out of place in a Western movie. The region's economy was mostly agricultural, with sugar-processing at the Holly Sugar Factory serving as another important employer.
As of the 1980 US Census, Torrington was listed as having a population of 5,441 residents. This would still be the town's approximate population on September 25, 1983, when events would suddenly change the whole world...and literally everything about Torrington's existence.
Doomsday and the Continuity of Government Plans
As soon as the US military detected the launch of Soviet missiles, the US government sprung into action to respond. Deep beneath Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado, General James V. Hartinger of the US Air Force was directing NORAD to launch all US bombers in response to the Soviet assault. Gen. Hartinger confirmed that President Reagan and Vice President Bush were on their way out of New York and Washington and en route to safe locations.
Unbeknownst to anyone outside of the President and the highest-ranking military and intelligence officials, the most recent set of Continuity of Government plans had selected Torrington, Wyoming as a potential rally point from which the remnants of the US government could regroup and begin reasserting control of the country after a potential nuclear attack. Torrington's remote location guaranteed that it was far from any likely targets. Its position in the American Heartland meant that it was roughly in the center of the parts of the country that were least likely to be targeted (aside from the likely targets of Omaha, NE and various military bases). Thus, although planners couldn't be 100% sure, they felt it was likely that Torrington would be roughly near the center of the most viable and livable lands left in America after a theoretical atomic attack, making it a good strategic point to use as the new capital city when the dust settled.
As chaos broke out on the ground, Reagan and Hartinger spoke via the special hotline between NORAD and Air Force One, and launched Continuity of Government plans into action. Fax machines in Torrington began receiving an encoded message containing instructions to reconstitute a provisional US government in the area, while General Hartinger's secretary was faxed the text of President Reagan's inaugural address. The pages printing out of fax machines in Torrington were numerically encoded to the text of Reagan's address. The NORAD officials were given instructions to eventually feed this cipher to local officials in Wyoming if the remnants of the federal government were unable to reestablish order. "If all else fails," Reagan grimly instructed Gen. Hartinger, "get the message to the government at Torrington."
These instructions were also faxed to the office of Wyoming Governor Edgar Herschler. In the years after Doomsday, Governor Herschler would play a major role in stabilizing Wyoming and helping set the scene for Torrington's rise. Unknown to most local politicians, but crucial for the eventual survival of the nation, was a cadre of bureaucrats and high level state government officials in the five founding states, that established the ground work for the provisional status of a continuing United States. With underground communications, connected by state-of-the-art (for 1983) fiber optics and shielded electronics, these officials had kept contact with the office of President Reagan for months.
Meanwhile, Governor Herschler and his staff rolled into Torrington to set up their new headquarters, as per Reagan's instructions. For now, Torrington would serve as a temporary base for the Wyoming state government, but Herschler knew that he and Reagan were to eventually set up Torrington as the new capital for the entire country.
In spring 1984, President Reagan informed General Hartinger and Governor Herschler that he had come to believe that to stabilize the continent, they would need to accept outside help. Reagan and Bush would travel to Australia to solidify the government's control over its Pacific territories and simultaneously lobby the Australian government for aid. Reagan hoped that he would eventually be able to secure not only funds, but an Australian military force to help him and the surviving elements of the US military reassert control over the crumbling homeland. However, after receiving word that the President and Vice President were en route out of the country, no further word came. In May of 1984, therefore, Governor Herschler, put into effect the sealed instructions that had been faxed to his office and that of the other governors of the area days after Doomsday. The states remained under emergency orders until a constitutional convention was called to form a "temporary" government.
The Provisional United States of America
In 1991, a convention was called in Torrington with representatives from the five surviving state governments. The delegates agreed to create a "reformed" United States.
A New America, and a New Torrington
After Torrington was declared the official capital city of the provisional United States, the nature of the city began to change. One immediate change was that Congress declared that Torrington, like Washington DC before it, would exist within its own federal district, separate from the rest of Wyoming. The federal district was given a much larger size than Torrington's then-current city limits in anticipation of future growth. In the process, Goshen County lost a large chunk of its territory to the new federal district. Reportedly, some Goshen County officials grumbled about this, but most were willing to support the change; after all, the loss of a chunk of its territory to the capital district would likely be offset by the increased commerce that the US capital city would attract to the entire region.
While Washington had been in the District of Columbia, Torrington would be located in the District of Kennedy. The District of Kennedy name was chosen in a vote by Torrington residents after being proposed by a local schoolteacher to honor President John F. Kennedy for his role in averting what could have been an earlier Doomsday in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. "Let us hope and pray that his example will inspire future leaders to work just as hard to prevent Doomsday from ever happening again," declared the teacher in the speech where he proposed the name.
The Torrington Town Council voted in 2008 (during the year-long centennial celebration of the town's incorporation) to create a flag for the city. It had not had one before (although Goshen County had had a county flag), but now that Torrington was the national capital city (and no longer part of Goshen County), it was felt that it deserved a city flag. The design that was chosen was a patterned after the flag of Washington DC (which was itself based on George Washington's family crest), but with the bottom field colored blue (unlike the white in the original DC flag) both to represent the city and the nation rising up from the tears that were shed after Doomsday and also to give the flag a red, white, and blue palette to match the national colors of the United States of America.
The flag was approved overwhelmingly in a vote by Torrington residents, and soon afterwards the first physical Torrington flag was raised at the Town Hall by the students who had designed it.
As representatives from around the provisional USA increasingly set up shop in town with their staff members, along with the military leadership, new buildings began to be constructed. And as more government officials began coming and going in Torrington, more merchants began setting up shop in town as well.
By 2008, the population of Torrington had doubled from its 1991 levels. Around this time, many Federal officials (and the Torrington Town Council) began proposing the idea of building grander headquarters for the new American government. Mining in the Rockies had once again begun, and officials discussed the possibility of trying to recreate some of the monuments of Washington DC in Torrington. One major boon to this proposal was the fact that the reconstituted US state of Colorado controlled the Elk Mountain range, where the original Yule Marble that had been used for the Lincoln Memorial had been quarried. The Torrington Town Council was particularly eager to encourage the idea of buildign new monuments, as they hoped a New National Mall would encourage the fledgling tourism industry as transportation became easier. The proposal passed, much to the delight of miners in Colorado, and planning soon began.
Initial plans were to build a replica White House and Washington Monument, with plans to eventually construct a new Lincoln Memorial further down the line. Architects mostly worked from old encyclopedia articles, photographs, and postcards of the original structures. Although they were able to accurately replicate the exteriors, photos of the interiors of the White House were much more limited (aside from the famous Oval Office and the more famous reception areas), and architects took much more artistic license with many of the interior rooms.
The new White House was mostly finished by the time of Mike Simpson's 2013 inauguration as President. Construction was still ongoing, but it was deemed safe for habitation, and Simpson was eager to invoke the symbolism of moving into a new White House on his Inauguration Day. After being sworn in, President Simpson and his entourage made a ceremonial procession through the streets of Torrington, eventually arriving at the new White House. Simpson's inauguration also marked the first time the newly-designed 11-star flag was flown on public buildings.
The last stages of construction were still ongoing during President Simpson's first year in office, and the First Family and staff often had to deal with clutter, noise, and a rather large amount of dust. Nevertheless, President Simpson cheerfully noted the similarity to the opening of the original White House, when President John Adams had moved in as that structure was still finishing construction, and that Adams and his family and staff had dealt with similar conditions.
As the New National Mall was planned and constructed, designers had eagerly taken another step at recreating the original National Mall: planting cherry tree saplings throughout Torrington. The cherry saplings and seeds were transported in from the area in and around Salem, Oregon, which had been known as "the Cherry City" since before Doomsday, as it had been a regional center for growing the trees. As the cherry trees grew, they evoked the beauty of the original capital city.
The new Washington Monument was completed in early summer 2014. It can be seen for miles and miles around. Since then, it has frequently hosted tours for travelers to the region. The new White House is also often opened for tours as well, though typically with an armed escort.
The creation of the fledgling New National Mall has led to the rise of a tourism industry, just as the Torrington Town Council had hoped, and an infusion of new cash into the region. This has encouraged local officials to continue to expand the New National Mall. To aid these efforts, local high school students have often volunteered their time and labor to help build the monuments faster, in exchange for credits towards their graduations.
One addition to the New National Mall that isn't a copy of a pre-Doomsday structure is the Ronald Reagan Memorial, unveiled in 2011, honoring the man who was President of the United States on Doomsday and who had designated Torrington as the new US capital, essentially remaking the city into what it is today from beyond the grave. .
In 2015, construction began on the New Lincoln Memorial. Once again, architects and engineers used old encyclopedia articles, photographs, and postcards of the original Lincoln Memorial to help them replicate the design, as they had during the construction of the new White House and Washington Monument.
The planners of the New National Mall Project strategically chose a location for the new Lincoln Memorial so that it was roughly the same distance from the New Washington Monument that the original monuments were from each other.
Designers also planned to put a reflecting pool between the two monuments, again echoing the design of the original National Mall. As with the previous structures, the construction companies enlisted the labor of local high school students who worked alongside the professional construction workers in exchange for academic credit.
The final touches of construction were completed in early summer 2019. The New Lincoln Memorial was officially opened to the public at a special ceremony of the 4th of July that summer. Since opening, the site has become a frequent gathering site for supporters of the American Spring to hold rallies cheering on the idea of welcoming American survivor states across the continent back into the United States. This is due to the historical significance of Abraham Lincoln being honored for saving the Union in the days of the Civil War. Thus, supporters of the American Spring have naturally rallied to the New Lincoln Memorial to voice their support for reunifying the entire Union once more. The Memorial has also become the site for other patriotic celebrations and ceremonies, such as for Veteran's Day and Memorial Day, and re-naturalization swearing in ceremonies for repatriated Americans from other survivor states.
As more residents move to Torrington, the city's boundaries continue to expand as new housing is built, along with new venues for food, new schools, and new stores. As the tourism industry continues to grow, there are now stores that specifically cater to tourists as well. Local Torrington residents with woodworking skills have often taking to handcarving and selling miniature wooden replicas of the monuments of the New National Mall.
As more residents move in, and more travelers pass through, the importance of sports has been growing as well.
Torrington, DK is represented in the United States Baseball League by the Torrington Tornadoes.
There are also local school and amateur teams for baseball, basketball, football, and hockey.
Transportation and other amenities
Torrington was already located along several pre-Doomsday Wyoming state and US highway routes. In the decades since Doomsday, travelers still use these routes, albeit often on horseback or by wagon. Since the foundation of the new US government in Torrington, government officials sometimes use classic cars for special occasions (since they didn't rely on electronic parts that would've been neutralized by the EMPs of Doomsday). Car use across North America has been mostly restricted to elite government officials. However, as of the late 2010s, as the USA has tapped more sources of oil and natural gas, availability of occasional car use has started to spread to wealthy merchants and businessmen.
Trains, however, have become a widely-used form of transportation among the common man. Many in the region were already enthusiasts of the history of trains in the Wild West, and 1800's-style steam engines have become a booming industry.
As the new United States has grown larger and more prosperous, Torrington's status has risen in turn. As a result, several railroad lines have been constructed to and from the capital city. The largest railroad station in the city is the former South Torrington Union Pacific Depot, renamed the Ray Hunkins Torrington Station in 2015, in honor of the President who first served the reborn US government.
One major railroad route is the Torrington-Newport line, stretching from the Ray Hunkins Station in Torrington to Newport, Oregon, the nation's first major port on the Pacific Ocean. Stops along the line include:
- Casper, WY
- Idaho Falls, ID
- Salmon, ID
- Salem, OR
- Newport, OR
The city also had a small airport called Torrington Municipal Airport. Starting in 2010, this airport has been expanded. In a ceremony that year on July 4, the President was on hand to officially rename it Reagan National Airport, in honor of President Reagan, who had set into motion the continuity of government plans that had designated Torrington as the site from which the United States would be rebuilt.
Though small, Reagan National Airport plays an important role, as US government officials are among the few who are able to use aircraft for the most part, though it is hoped that biofuels will make air travel more accessible to the masses again someday in the future.
Besides these, Torrington became the first city in the new United States to see the rise of "pedal pubs," a mobile bar that can travel through the streets of town by having each guest pedal, sort of like a group bicycle. The Torrington pedal pubs became enormously popular, particularly with visitors to the city, and the idea started taking off in other American cities in the 2010s.
As "repats" (repatriated Americans from other territories) have settled in the new USA, particularly in Torrington, some have opened restaurants featuring the cuisines that have developed in other areas. This, along with the New National Mall, has helped make Torrington a major destination.