In honor of Local History Week, the St. Joseph Public Library teamed up with a smartphone app to offer historic tours of the city.
Mary Beth Revels, director of the libraries, said citizens in St. Joseph are excited about history, which is why the library is hosting several events throughout the week and offering tours through the mobile app, Clio.
“One of the wonderful things about St. Joseph is so many people are interested in history,” Revels said. “We’re doing this local history week for the second time because it was so popular last year. This is a perfect week to get out. Last week it wouldn’t have been so nice to do a walking tour.”
The app, which can be downloaded for free through the App Store or Google Play, allows users to see historic sites nearby, view photos of what they would have looked like in the past, read information about each site and listen to an audio tour of the area. The historian of the local library system worked with the app’s developers to create two walking tours specifically for Local History Week.
“The first is the Ghosts of Progress tour, and it talks a lot about historic buildings, some of them are no longer with us,” Revel said. “But you can see with the app where those building were and what’s there now. So you get a little snapshot of the building then you can see what’s there now in the community.”
The other tour is for those who enjoy architecture.
“We will also have up an Edmond Eckel tour,” Revels said. “Edmond Eckel was a very famous architect in St. Joseph. A lot of beautiful buildings, including the Downtown Library, were designed by Edmond Eckel.”
Revels said that while the app does allow a fun experience for those looking to get outside and explore, it also can be utilized by those who may be homebound.
In order to access the walking tours, download the app called “Clio — Your Guide to History,” allow it to have access to your location, click the menu in the upper left-hand side, go to tours and go to either the Ghosts of the Progress tour or the Edmond Eckel tour.