This article is about the cursed town from Season 1-6. For the cursed town in Season 7, see Hyperion Heights (location).
Storybrooke is the main setting of the ABC series Once Upon a Time. It's where most of the Enchanted Forest habitants were sent as part of the dark curse.
During First Curse
In the Enchanted Forest, the Evil Queen cast a Dark Curse, which sends all of the inhabitants to a newly created town in a Land Without Magic called Storybrooke. The curse, prophesied by Rumplestiltskin, can be broken in twenty-eight years by Snow White and Prince Charming's daughter Emma. To protect their infant daughter, a magic wardrobe is constructed that brings her to another land just before all of the Enchanted Forest is engulfed in the curse. In a secret deal with the Blue Fairy, Geppetto guarantees his own son, Pinocchio, is one of the two to be saved. Both children end up in the Land Without Magic and are placed in the same foster home, but Pinocchio later abandons Emma.
In the days after the curse is enacted, the Evil Queen lives as the mayor of Storybrooke, Regina, and while at first pleased with the other residents' miseries, she grows bored with her new life. One flaw in creating Storybrooke is it becomes visible to outsiders, and when two strangers, Kurt and Owen, arrive in town, Regina attempts to usher their leaving. Eventually, she takes a liking to Owen and wishes for him to stay, although Kurt refuses. Through her manipulation, Sheriff Graham arrests Kurt, who flees Storybrooke with his son, however, they are caught at the town border. While Kurt surrenders himself, Owen escapes town, with Regina's permission. Later, she kills Kurt and buries him in the woods.
Eighteen years later, Regina adopts a baby boy, who she names Henry. When he shows signs of possible illness, she sleuths for information on his birth parents, eventually learning his birth mother is Emma Swan, the prophesied savior. After deciding to keep Henry as her son, Regina drinks a memory potion to forget his birth mother's identity.
Henry, at ten years old, gains a fairytale book from his teacher as a means to inspire hope in his life. Within its pages, he finds a photo of Snow White and Prince Charming's infant daughter and mysteriously realizes her name is Emma. Coming to believe Storybrooke is under the Evil Queen's curse, Henry brings Emma to Storybrooke, and she later stays in town out of concern for his happiness. With her arrival, the curse gradually weakens and time begins to move forward again. After a few days, Emma becomes a sheriff's deputy, and after the sheriff's death, she gains her predecessor's job. As sheriff, she is unknowingly reuniting people who would otherwise be separated due to the curse's effects.
The town becomes rocked by a scandal when Mary Margaret's affair with David is made public. Kathryn, David's wife, opts to allow them to be together as she decides to leave for Boston. Regina, unwilling to let the lovers be happy, sets up Mary Margaret for Kathryn's death, leading to her arrest when evidence is found. With help from August, Emma figures out Regina's plot, just before Kathryn is found alive after being secretly freed by Mr. Gold. To make Emma accept her role as curse savior, August attempts to make her believe in magic, but she refuses. Believing Regina is dangerous, Emma then tries leaving town with Henry, but the boy persuades her out of it. Regina, on the other hand, extracts a poisoned apple from the past Enchanted Forest, in a bid to get rid of Emma. However, Henry ends up eating it, falling into a coma, and later dying. In a final farewell, Emma kisses his forehead, accidentally emitting true love's kiss, which breaks his curse as well as the Dark Curse. As everyone regains memories of their past lives, Mr. Gold combines a bottle of true love, Mr. Gold combines it with well water to bring magic into Storybrooke.
During Second Curse
After a year, Snow White recasts the Dark Curse, bringing everyone back to Storybrooke, but due to the Wicked Witch's machinations, they forget the past year in the Enchanted Forest. The only clue, as proof a year has gone by, is Mary Margaret's pregnancy. The Wicked Witch, brought along by the curse, blends into town as a midwife named Zelena. In her farm cellar, she keeps a revived Mr. Gold as her prisoner. Through some means, she also causes some of the townspeople to vanish and turns them into her pet monkeys. Regaining her lost memories with Hook's aid, Emma returns to town, where she teams up with Regina to sleuth out the curse caster, who manages to escape before they apprehend her. After David and Hook witness someone turning into a flying monkey, it is believed the Wicked Witch cast the new curse.
Zelena, desiring to change her past with a time spell, requires several ingredients; Mary Margaret's child, David's courage, Regina's heart and Mr. Gold's brain. After Zelena collects David's courage, Mr. Gold escapes and reverts to Neal. Following recovery at the hospital, Neal helps Emma look for Mr. Gold, not knowing he and his father are in the same body. Upon realizing the truth, he begs Emma to separate him from Mr. Gold's body, although it'll kill him, so his father can reveal the Wicked Witch's true name. After being exposed, Zelena escapes and reappears at the diner during a funeral wake for Neal, where she reveals herself as Regina's half-sister and challenges her to a duel. There, she fails to steal Regina's heart, which has already been removed and placed under Robin Hood's care. Threatened by Emma's light magic, Zelena curses Hook's lips so he can take away her powers, and not if, the savior's family will die. Desperate to break the curse, Emma attempts to make Henry believe in magic by giving him the storybook. From touching it, he regains his lost memories, but it is Regina's true love for him, which breaks the curse.
- Storybrooke lacks a prison, so anyone who has committed serious crimes are locked up in the asylum.
- Mary Margaret was mayor temporarily; otherwise, Regina has been mayor without any complaint (cursed or un-cursed memories)
- Inhabitants from the Land of Untold Stories have also taken residence in Storybrooke.
- In real life, the clock tower doesn't exist. It's CGI from outside and a set for inside.
- The Sorcerer's mansion is the only house abandoned.
- After the Final Battle, Storybrooke was at peace for years.