- “My enemies are all gathered here in the Historic District. Kessler's preparing them for the final battle. Yeah, this is the finish line. Just wish I wasn't crossing it alone.”
- — Cole MacGrath, upon entering the Historic District for the first time since the Blast.
The Historic District is the third island that makes up Empire City and is the final part the city that Cole gains access to, although it is the area Cole first wakes up in after the Blast.
This district holds the epicenter of the six-block detonation of the Ray Sphere that unlocked Cole's powers, but also set in motion the events that shaped Empire City into the hellhole seen by Cole now, two weeks after the explosion. Fremont Bridge, the drawbridge that once connected the Historic District with the Neon had only received minor structural damage from the blast, but as Cole approached the bridge, another surge of electricity ran through him, making him lose what little control of his power he had to begin with.
When powerful bolts of lightning manifested themselves around Cole, Zeke screamed that the terrorists were attacking again and calls for Cole to cross the bridge into the Neon, but the bolts of lightning followed Cole, obliterating the rest of it, turning the bridge into just a gap of scrap-laced water between the two districts.
The shady organization known as the First Sons, who were already operating out of Empire City, quickly seized control of the Historic District due to a lack of any sort of law enforcement. Led by Kessler, they wear dark trench coats and gas masks. Because of the First Sons' involvement, the Historic District is arguably the most dangerous of the three districts. Due to their more professional attitude, they have left many traps for Cole to stumble upon within the district, including ground based mines on most of the roof tops and large proximity bombs hooked to TVs found in random places in the city streets.
The Historic District is home to the Art-Deco style Staton Building, the tallest pre-Blast structure in the city with the Eagle Point Penitentiary coming in second. Even in its ruined state after the Blast, it still stands tall, although it would appear that it could collapse at any moment. The area appears to be based off Brooklyn, NY and Queens, NY.
The substations of the district were never updated—the northern half of the island is actually powered by a substation in the Warren. The southern half is powered by above-ground substations, which can be activated during the mission Vengeance. These substations are above the ground probably to accommodate the new ability Cole acquires during the mission: Lightning Storm, which is only effective outdoors. The southern end holds the ruined site of the Blast.
Points of interest
Cole MacGrath wakes up injured in the middle of the crater generated from the explosion and is told by the police and his best friend Zeke Dunbar, to head over to Fremont Bridge and escape into the Neon District. Utilizing his parkour skills, he weaves his way through the parking lot adjacent to Ground Zero that now lays in ruins. His newly-discovered electrical powers go haywire, resulting in him accidentally destroying the Fremont Bridge, using an uncontrolled form of Lightning Storm. He falls unconscious for four days, as outlined in the Prequel Comic. During the First Glimpse mission, The Voice of Survival broadcasts a message revealing that Cole was the one to detonate the bomb, turning the people against him.
In the climax of the game, Cole confronts Kessler in a final battle at Ground Zero in retaliation for the latter's murder of Trish Dailey. When Cole downs Kessler, he shows him one of his advanced forms of the Psychic Vision power. Kessler is revealed to be Cole himself from the distant future, when he married Trish with Zeke as his best man only to have a powerful Conduit called The Beast kill his family and devastate Earth. He used his newest power of time travel to far back in time to take take over the First Sons, engineer and create the Ray Sphere, organize The Blast to give Cole his powers and prepare him for his ultimate battle with the unstoppable Beast.
In Infamous 2, Nix leads Cole out to the swamps where Bertrand activated another Ray Sphere. Cole identifies it as "A little piece of Empire City." Ground Zero flashes on the screen for a few seconds.
Ground Zero (which may have been known as Cathedral Square before the blast) appears to be the only part of the city with a dead-end road. Looking at the city map in-game will show that all roads in the city, including bridges and tunnels, lead to an intersection or roundabout/traffic circle. The road within Ground Zero doesn't appear on the map but can easily be found in-game between the Staton Building and the bridge to the Neon. The raised section in the middle of the crater, where Cole wakes up, has a single yellow line that lines up with the others on the larger section of road leading to the bridge. It appears as though this road led directly from the bridge to the base of the Staton Building, but it can't be properly determined where it went from there, as there are no other road markings within the blast area. There are no other roads leading in or out of Ground Zero and the only other gap that appears wide enough for a road is next to the entrance ramp to the parking garage, but that area is fenced off.
The 22nd Precinct consisted of the police forces that would patrol the Historic District. These cops were rarely seen outside of side missions.
Blue Canyon Building
The Ashford Building was an old and worn structure where John and Cole met on one occasion, when John mentioned to meet him at this building, namely. After this, no further interactions between Cole, or any other character for that matter, and the building, have been made.
The Staton Building is located to the north of Ground Zero. It is the single largest structure in the game next to Alden's Tower. In the first mission where Cole wakes up after the The Blast, you can clearly see the building. The police tell him to make his way past the building and through the parking lot to the bridge connecting the Historic District and Neon District. Also, in the final mission, Kessler tells Cole to meet him in front of the Staton Building. In the evil ending, Cole is shown to be narrating the conclusion of the game while overlooking a destroyed Empire City from the Staton Building.
The burial ground served as a makeshift graveyard for those who lost their lives as a result of the Empire City Blast. It used to be a normal park, complete with a playground and several terraces. After the explosion, it has become a place where the survivors of The Blast have buried their loved ones. Situated in the Historic District, it was located very close to Ground Zero.
After Kessler kidnapped Trish Dailey and tied her to a building rigged with explosives, Cole MacGrath had to choose to save her or the doctors Kessler also captured. Either way, she was still dropped to her death. Cole then buried her in this park with her picture on a cross. It was also here that Cole began sleeping next to his girlfriend's grave, since he didn't trust his friend Zeke at the time. He continued to sleep here until the time came to deal with the Ray Sphere and Kessler.
All of the wooden tombstones say the same thing: "Here lies Obadiah Wood. Died at age 36. Wood was his life, now in wood he stays."
- It is interesting to note that on the bridge Cole crosses (when pursuing Alden), there appears to be detachable poles much like the ones found under the Stampton Bridge. However, the gap in the bridge is too far for Cole to cross even with Static Thrusters, and the other end that Cole used to enter before it is blocked off just as it was before the mission Alden's Rampage. Whether this meant the crossing the bridge played out differently, or would have been another route back to the Warren for Cole, is unknown.
- During the brief moments in the very beginning of the game just after the Blast, if you observe the cityscape just before you cross the bridge into the adjacent district, you can view Alden's junk tower in the Warren District - something that (according to Moya during The Arrest) was built in the subsequent weeks after the Blast.
- This area's side-missions leave it at 87% completion. The remainder (what appears to be three territories around Ground Zero) is automatically awarded when Kessler is defeated.
- Since both bridges that lead to the Historic District are too damaged to cross, civilians in the area would have no access to the other two boroughs.
- One of the destroyed buildings in around Ground Zero is reminiscent of the real-life Chrysler Building, a prominent landmark in New York City.
- Ground Zero is also the nickname of a real-life terrorist attack famously known as 9/11.