Solomon Wayne discovered what he was convinced was Gotham's salvation when he met Cyrus Pinkney, a young architect who appeared in his court as victim of an assault. Pinkney, several years out of the university and yet to find a commission, showed Judge Wayne a portfolio of sketches and plans, and found his patron. Pinkney's vision coincided perfectly with Solomon Wayne's. A few months later, in a speech to the Property Holders Association, Wayne asked, rhetorically, "What is a city, gentlemen? A sanctuary! A stronghold! A Fortress! A bulwark against the godlessness of the wilds wherein we may nurture the gifts of Christian civilization and be protected from the savagery which lurks in untamed nature."
In Pinkney's buildings, Wayne saw his fortress. He sold most of his businesses, borrowed as much money as he could, persuaded anyone who would give him a hearing to do likewise and commissioned the first of the so-called "Gotham Style" structures to be built in what is now the center of the financial district. Although vehemently criticized by Wayne's fellow Gothamites, the ediface pleased the judge and, in fact was highly successful in that it attracted others to locate their ventures nearby - became, in fact the focal point for a thriving commercial center. Together Wayne and Pinkney raised no fewer than a dozen other similar buildings. Pinkney's style was, for a time widely imitated, both in Gotham and elsewhere - this despite vilification from virtually every architectural journal in the world.
Pinkney died while still a young man, on the eve of his fortieth birthday. Solomon Wayne lived to be 104, long enough to see all his dreams realized; Gotham City became the bustling hub of industry he had imagined. But it also bacame a haven for crime, known more for it's poverty, the squalidness of its slums and the utter corruption of its government than for commercial and cultural achievements. On his deathbed, Solomon Wayne said, "I wished to lock evil out of men's neighborhoods and hearts. I fear that instead I Have given it the means to be locked in."
Pinkney's saw his designs an organic whole, almost a living being that would itself fight against evil. Gargoyles, to frighten people onto the path of righteousness. Rounded edges to confuse malevolent beings. Thick walls to lock in virtue. It also had many elevated walkways, with some buildings connected to each other in such a way as they could not stand alone. This didn't help the city any when the earthquake depicted in "Cataclysm" struck.
1992 DC Comics concept art by Nigel Phelps
In Other Media
- In Batman: Arkham City, the ruins of Old Gotham are under Arkham City, with most of the buildings rotting and the former streets filled with icy water. These ruins lead to Wonder Tower and the old Wonder City. Joker's thugs and TYGER operatives can be seen patrolling down in the ruins.
- Old Gotham appears in the fourth and fifth season of Gotham as the district that includes Gotham Clock Tower. In the episode Legend of the Dark Knight: Year Zero, Old Gotham appears as the territory of the LoBoys gang, who claimed the district during No Man's Land.