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Interactive walking tour app launching for downtown Fort Lauderdale

An interactive walking-tour app, where you can learn about downtown Fort Lauderdale’s history while listening to audio narratives and looking at photos at your own pace while you hoof it around town, will be launched by the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society on Oct. 23.

What it is

The initiative allows users to walk around downtown with access on smartphones to archival photos, architectural renderings and audio histories. The research covers 12 locations, and the audio descriptions run five minutes or less.

“There will be 20 to 25 images at each of the 12 stops along the tour,” explains Patricia Zeiler, executive director of the society. “Most of the stuff that was old in Florida is not here. You’ll be walking in a modern city. But on your phone, it’ll have the photograph of 100 years ago right where you’re standing.”

How to get it

“You download the app for free on your phone,” Zeiler says. Search for “Florida Stories.” For Android phones, go to Google Play at Play.Google.com/Store/Apps. For iPhones, go to the App Store at Apple.com/IOS/App-Store.

The Fort Lauderdale stops

1. The banks of the New River and the Bryan Homes (now the Old River House Restaurant).

2. The New River Inn (built in 1908)

3. The King-Cromartie House (built in 1907)

4. Philemon Bryan House (built in 1905)

5. Hoch Heritage Research Library

6. The Tom Bryan building designed by Francis Abreu (now the Himmarshee Public House)

7. Railroad crossing on Second Street (The first train pulled into the station on Brickell Avenue on Feb. 22, 1895.)

8. Bus Station, Pace Furniture and Bivans Hotel at 200 SW Brickell Ave. (across Brickell Avenue from the AutoNation Building)

9. Burdines Department Store (where the Government Center is now)

10. Broward County Main Library (an example of Brutalism architecture)

11. McCrory’s Store building at 219 S. Andrews Ave. and the NSU Museum of Art across the street.

12. Bryan/Shepherd Building (The DeSoto Hotel was on the second floor and attorney and judge Ennis Shepherd rented the first floor, so locals began calling it the 1914 Shepherd Building — where the Hideaway speakeasy bar and the Las Olas Pizza Company are now.)

And it’s not just Fort Lauderdale

Created by the Florida Humanities Council, the Florida Stories Walking Tours is also available in Key West, Pensacola, St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee and Tampa’s Ybor City.

rhagwood@southflorida.com

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