Seconderth (a deep map) : Boardman

05-19-2003 15:15

Announcing the grand opening of Boardman – a new, distinctly different region designed for those looking for a simple way to establish a home in Second Life.

We will cut the ribbon on this new area on Tuesday, May 20th, at 4 pm. Boardman is located north of Clara. Use your landmark for the Amphitheater and fly north. A Linden will be there to answer questions.

Welcome to the land of palm trees swaying gently in the fresh sea breezes. Designed in a southern California style, Boardman is host to “Pre-Fab”. Structures here are limited to an easy-to-assemble pre-fabricated mini version of “House-In-a-Box”.

This region is designed to especially appeal to newer residents who may not have developed expert building skills. While all structures are pre-fabricated, you can customize them to express your true inner spirit. It’s a no-hassle, inexpensive way to get started making a home in Second Life.

The center of the region also offers an open-air market where any residents can offer their products. Owning a home in Boardman is not required.

[source: Haney Linden; SL Forum Archives]

Zoning “ordinance”, dated Jan 19 2003, five months before Boardman appeared.

Boardman: The first, but by no means the last, of Linden Lab’s attempts to inject the quiet order of suburbia into the behavioral and aesthetic chaos of the Grid. As with subsequent attempts (Lusk Estates excepted), it didn’t last long:

By the time 2004 rolled around, Boardman seemed to have failed as an experimental Linden-zoned, suburban area. The Lindens had relaxed their rules about the use of Linden pre-fab houses only and the sim fell into disrepair. Many of the road pieces had disappeared, and much of the land was unused and unwanted. Land dealers at the time indicated that it was a hard sell to get people to buy land there for even as low as 3L$ per square meter.

In early 2005 a group of Second Life residents decided they wanted to see this unique sim brought back to life and began to slowly buy the land as it became available for purchase. In addition to resident efforts, Jack Linden, a liaison who had replaced Haney Linden in early 2005 as the watch dog of the zoned sims, redid the roadwork, planted new trees and completely overhauled the old market in the center. By the end of 2005, Boardman was much improved and home to an active little community.

[source: Second Life Wikia]

You see, I have this dilemma: There’s almost no trace of Boardman’s earliest history left on the land, yet its history after the period this series is intended to cover is — or rather, was — rich and varied, if the collection of Boardman photos at Snapzilla is any indication. Most of those are from 2005 and 2006; many of them were taken by Ingrid Ingersoll, who appears to have been a central figure in the restored life of Boardman, post-2004. Since I began researching the written record to augment my photos for this series, I’ve come to rely on Ingrid’s prolific contributions to Snapzilla during those years. She is also the creator (January 2005) of the Second Life Nondenominational Church, which can be seen at the left of the overview (above), as well as a large multilevel house in Boardman’s northwest corner, seen here to the right of Joan and Harald Nomad’s “Stonecreek” home:

Dilemma or not, there are a few scattered artifacts with creation dates reaching back to Boardman’s first incarnation. They’re all generic, Linden-built items used everywhere in those days; for example, the sign for the Market.

… or this notecard-giver (where the zoning info came from), placed at various street corners in the sim.  Also, the streetlamps by Alberto Linden, which — by their creation date (May 14, 2003) — lead me to think they were first created for use in Boardman.

Well… perhaps not all of the Linden items are generic.  Boardman has a soccer field (another of Ingrid’s builds, June 2005), but the goal nets were made by Ben Linden (April 3, 2003), and the digital score indicators above them were made by Philip Linden (February 18, 2003).

There is also this house, a Bill Linden prefab (and the only one of its design I’ve found, so far) which, even if it was not rezzed in Boardman when the sim was new, certainly encapsulates the spirit of the place when only Linden prefabs were permitted:

As you see, it’s the home of Aradia and Apollo Aridian, who also happen to be the Boardman Preservation Society:

Touring Boardman today, one finds on Inspecting that almost all of the parcels are group-owned by the BPS, and the builds on them list Aradia Aridian as their owner.  At least half of those are tasteful stone, wood, and glass constructions built by Ingrid’s partner Barnesworth Anubis in 2005 and 2006 — which rival, in style and quality, the homes of a similar era (RL, as well as SL) by Juro Kothari, to be seen in Stillman.

There’s another point of comparison — or rather, contrast — between the collection of Kothari houses in Stillman and the Anubis (and others’) houses in Boardman:  they’re both empty, but for different reasons.  Kothari’s land, even after all these years, is an open-air showroom to sell copies.  Boardman only looks like a showroom; that “active little community” spoken of in the Wikia has evaporated.  None of the empty houses are for rent; neither can you buy a copy to rez elsewhere (except for the Nomads’ “Stonecreek”). Even the Ice Cream Shop is a shell now, missing the counter and the prim ice cream.

Oh, the sim is preserved, all right — like a museum exhibit, but without any explanatory notecards.  I had the pleasurable and informative company of Marianne McCann for one of my photo-foraging expeditions; at the time, we bandied the expression “Potemkin village” about, but that’s not exactly correct.  Potemkin villages, no matter how apocryphal the story of their origin (but see also Theresienstadt) were built to intentionally deceive.  It’s impossible to determine if a zealous urge to preserve Boardman discouraged the BPS/Aridians from permitting the houses to become homes… Regardless of the reason, the result is an attractive, well-kept, peaceful ghost town.


Note: The Linden “Houses in a Box” can be seen here and here, and can be obtained in the freebie barn at Park’s Fireworks in Taber. Many more present-day photos of Boardman are in my online album.

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7 responses to “Seconderth (a deep map) : Boardman

  1. I've seen that same lamp post in other locations: most notably at the early Ahern Welcome Area (as seen now in Plum) and in archival images of the boardwalk in Varney (you'll see such – as well as the old Alberto Linden Bench) in a photo in the Governor's Mansion).

    I love Boardman. It was one of my first stomping grounds on the grid when I was a noob in SL. At the same time, it has always felt empty to me, reminding me (as do many things in the Metaverse) of an episode of The Twilight Zone, perhaps “Stopover in a Quiet Town” or “Where Is Everybody?”

  2. Those are not the original Boardman items, October is pretty late in SL's “history” (by then it had already started to hit mass media and the noobs were pouring in, so Linden stuff was redesigned, such as the Welcome Area)
    Months make a very large difference – in the beginning things changed a LOT and very quickly :)

    — Eggy Lippmann

  3. @Marianne: One of the many problems I have with “authentication of provenance”, as it were, is the creation dates returned by Inspect; prime example being Steller's Beanstalk, but there are many others. Virtual archeology can be tricky; you can't carbon-date a pixel. ;)

    @Eggy: Delighted to see you here :) …and yes, realtime months can be like years in SL. Best I can do (see my comment to Marianne) is Inspect, record with photos, and compare to what I find in the various and scattered archives.

    If I limited my photos and write-ups strictly to what remains of the very first things on each sim, there wouldn't be a lot to show or tell. :-\

  4. I always remember one of my teachers describing a ghost town as 'a place of long shadows'..a town or village that lay along the road to whatever your final destination was. It was always a place you passed, never where you stopped…
    Whatever the final destination for Second Life, this particular newbie thanks you (yet again) for making me stop to look along the way. It's been a fascinating ride…

    Wow, just realised exactly who else has commented…

    By the way, does this comment make me no 6000?

  5. Pingback: Seconderth (a deep map) : De Haro | Telling: Like it Is

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