About the setting:
Like its fellow upstate New York towns Armonk and Purchase--homes to IBM and
Pepsi, respectively-- Schuyler Falls has, for many years, been synonomous with
its most famous resident (OmniCorp, the closely-owned company run by the Campbell
family). Unfairly, its charms as a lovely place to visit have been overshadowed
by its significance as a home to this huge corporation. Let's try to rectify that.
There are about 30,000 people living in "SkyFalls," as it's
often referred to by its residents. This prototypical upstate New York town is
populated by old money WASPs; the nouveaux riche of more varied ethnicities who
earned their money post-WWII; dairy farmers who live in the rural northwest portion
of town; people on welfare, most of whom live in the gray area known as "The Numbers";
and members of the young working class, striving to live the lives their parents
wanted for them.
Watervalstad (literally, "Waterfall Town") was founded by the Dutch in the
mid-1600s, with an eye to its strategic importance--located close enough to the
Hudson River to be easily accessed by the south, but distant enough to be independent,
not under the eye of the state capitol (at the time, located in NYC).
In the late 1700s, the town was renamed "Schuyler Falls," in honor of Philip
John Schuyler, the noted 18th century New York politician, army general and
businessman. Run by old monied European families such as the Van Dorens (cousins
of the Schuyler family) for the past two centuries, SkyFalls' quiet, sleepy nature
didn't change until it was forced to by the influx of immigrants in the early
The primary mover-and-shaker was the infamous Winston
Campbell (1930-1974), whose lofty name hid a background of poverty back in
his native England. (If you want to cause a town historian distress, ignore her
diatribe on Philip Schuyler and ask her to relate the sordid history of Mr. Campbell's
Campbell and his cousin Egbert Brooke came to SkyFalls and
brought ambition and commerce to its reluctant midst. In the prosperous years
after WWII, their successful venture into the retail clothing market (the famous
Campbell & Brooke department store chain, now known as C&B) transformed
the town from upper-crust enclave to home of OmniCorp, the conglomerate eventually
founded to control the cousins' growing empire. Of course, a huge company means
many employees. A new district was built to house these workers, lending an urban
flavor to valleys that had once been grazing fodder for sheep.
Links to the map, the official
city pages, and a guide to local hotspots.