The Wichita Public Library is launching a mobile app this weekend to take Wichitans on a walking history tour of Douglas Avenue. It's part of Sunday's Open Streets ICT event, when four miles of street will be closed to traffic.
The building on the northeast corner of Main and Douglas once housed the studio of photographer Nereus Baldwin.
If you don't know who Nereus Baldwin is, you're not alone. Most Wichitans probably don't--and most likely don't know who Lorentz Schmidt was, or where the Victory Arch once stood. But they're important parts of the city's history, and they're all included in the new Wichita History Walk, built by the Wichita Public Library and Bike Walk Wichita.
Wichita Public Library's Erin Howerton says a team collected stories and photos for dozens of historical sites along Douglas.
“A lot of this stuff, even we didn’t really realize some of it existed," she says. "Once we started looking for old photos, and we started doing research, we started learning very interesting things about Wichita’s history, and stories people may never have heard before.”
The app takes users on a guided audio tour along a set route. Users can also contribute their own stories about the locations.
"We want people to contribute," Howerton says. "We want people to feel as though this is an interactive way for them to connect with the history of this locality in a different and exciting way."
The history walk is available on the Pocket Sights app starting Sunday. The free app includes three tours, about 1 mile each, covering East Douglas, downtown Wichita, and Delano.
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