Shades of Arkham
This narrow two-block stretch lies on low, level ground near the river. Perhaps 75% of Arkham’s stores and shops can be found here: Church Street is the most important artery, and Main is of secondary importance. People ordinarily call such an area downtown; here they say instead “Goin’ to Merchant” since Downtown is a part of town north of the river.
The old East Church and West Church are found here, and several rows of early eighteenth century Georgian-style warehouses line the river. These latter mostly stand unused, though one serves surreptitiously as a bootlegger depot.
The heart of the district is the long block bordered by Main, Garrison, Church and West Streets, where stand two- to four-storey early nineteenth-century brick row buildings.
Church Street, from Main to West, is cobblestoned, originally laid down in 1733. Occasional alleys, barely wide enough for skilled truck drivers to get in and out of, give access to the service courts in the rear of the shops. These dingy courts are more often than not cluttered with crates, packing materials, and machines that don’t work but are too good to haul away.
River Street was once heavily trafficked by stevedores moving goods between docks and warehouses, but the stretch between Garrison and West Streets is now abandoned to decades of litter, requiring skill for a driver to negotiate.
The two blocks of warehouses east of Garrison, mostly made of wood, were long ago converted to tenements and settlement houses. Here the street is clearer, the result of a volunteer effort in 1926.
The two shopping blocks east of Garrison and south of Main are composed of shops housed in buildings older and less impressive than those along Church street. Many are tightly crowded converted residences. The tall Georgian steeple of Christ Church dominates the skyline.
This neighbourhood’s western edge is of older residences, growing very old near Boundary Street. Boundary north of Church Street is unlit; north of Main the street is sparsley populated.
Known and visited locations within the Merchant District :