The Crossroads of the Aether
I too am a Dreamer... Without Dreams There Can Be No Reality. Your idea and Dream is a fantastic idea and has been given some thought by a few members of the Steampunk Empire. Check out the below link to the Collaboration Corner group within the Empire and the associated discussion thread similar in thought to your idea.
.....................-~< Sky Marshall >~-......................
Gideon Alexander Cornelius Thaddeus Prime
A dreamer as am I too.
I adore the very idea of this even existing. And if it were a liveable place? If it were big enough? Good gravy. A holiday spot. A place to truly immerse oneself in such a fantastical style.
If this idea comes to light as a project, you'd have a good many number of Steampunkers, or even just fun, open-minded people, there are certainly no end to the amount of people who'd want to help make it happen.
No doubt sometime in the future this sort of thing will be springing up, it's a slowly developing popular idea.
Now to find contractors and developers and fat cats who can see it being a profit. Ahaha...
I brought this up to Arnavaz once (she's essentially my sanity function for my business and general life). My idea was a little different. I wanted to relocate old Victorian houses (originally, and very stupidly, to the "empty" bit of land along my drive leading up to my house, later to an empty lot out near Riverside, CA or some place similar) and open them as a museum/steampunk fair-theme park thing.
Financially though, she pointed out a similar area in LA and noted that something like this takes the budget of a city + THOUSANDS of average donors, plus a few completely insane "patrons" (or high-end donors if you wish to call them that) and a LOT of time and patience.
My dreams were squished, as I can't fill that entire void.
I think it could be done, but it would have to be done in convenient reach (30 minutes to 2 hours) of a heavily populated area. Upstate New York, Greater LA area, the Bay area. All those places would have not only a denser local populous of the actual intended demographic, but also are close enough to places where curiosity of unintended demographics will lure them in, including the large, already touring tourist demo.
I mean, it could be done anywhere, but to really pull in money to keep it running and turn a profit, and to make it appeal to investors, it's best to have it somewhere "accessible".
I would really like to see something like this done. A place of beautiful architecture, wooden roller coasters, creepy fun houses, dirigible rides tea-shops, and corsetiers, etc. But no one has yet designed a cohesive attempt at it, much less actually gone after investors for it. And the former needs to be done so that the latter may buy into it.
...It's the dreamers like you that will end up like the stories, with dreams that come true.
I would move in a heartbeat to a steampunk town, and it doesnt have to be expensive with the right designs and materials. I work with Geek Squad and im a Leathersmith in my part time as im sure many of you are also artist, leathersmiths, metalsmiths etc. I strongly believe that we could get together as a community and put our skills to the test. All we need is a town to remake over with willing residents to join in our style or a large peice of land to which we could start a new town. An island would be the best place to start a new town as it can be more managible and we can include more in styles and design.
True this is a dream but it only take one individual to create and make a dream come true. imagine what a dozen individuals could do!
Failing finding one of these, we moved onto our shantyboat :) Perhaps we could do this on the water if the land turned out unhospitable.
A worthwhile dream.
The thought reminds me a little of: http://www.thesteampunkempire.com/group/steampunkthemeparkproject
It might be cheaper and more authentic to buy into an existing community whose heyday was around the 1890 like:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownsville,_Pennsylvania (both Victorian and post-industrial decay plus cheap)
http://www.mariettaoh.net/ (lots of haunted Victorian and a great sternwheeler fest)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hay-on-Wye (a whole town of used book stores)
I have also seen very cheap and even free houses for sale IF you move them out of the way of new building.
Set up some nice SP clubs, internet tea rooms, B&Bs, etc... for folks who are not at a point in life to be able to move to such a community.
How about a Western town for sale? http://www.donnapride.com/55420OldTown.html
There are a number of resonances here for me. First of all, as I posted earlier, at the beginning of this year we built and moved aboard a shantyboat, built with 19th century and modern technologies. We're going on 6 months aboard now, and it's been lovely. I've also been involved in the tiny house movement, which supports a number of steampunkish off grid applications. Jay Schaeffer and a lot of the tiny house folks are actively building tiny house villages, which resemble medieval or colonial villages in many respects.
My point is, this needn't be massively expensive. If each of the participants rolls their own structure (within agreed guidelines) the only land with a convivial zoning need be obtained to begin the process (you may find this to the the most challenging, most zoning boards being dominated by bankers, developers, and contractors who wish to limit all construction to high Sq Ft. modern structures).
I love this shot on four lights houses website:
somewhere between the Shire and a rural village in Cornwall.
A few concrete ideas: Having successfully completed one large, ridiculous project, I am, of course, hungering for another, even more absurd one. It is my nature, and happily so. Were I to attack this: the founding and operation of a steampunk themed village, I should very much like to ask the group what your level of interest might be? For example: In order to make this sort of thing happen, would you be willing to pre-buy tickets to a guaranteed four festivals a year? Would you be willing to make a deposit if it assured you the right to put a tiny home of your own design on the property? Would you be willing to finance a small cabin on the property, which would be rented out when not in your use and would become your home at retirement (successfully done at The Farm)? Would you be willing to reserve a space for an art gallery/studio or commercial space on the property? In general, were I insane enough to attempt this, setting up a 501c3 nonprofit and finding the space, would you be willing to pony up to be part of it.