History buffs in Frederick have a new source of information for the city’s history — and it might already be in their pocket.
The Frederick Walking Tour phone application is the brainchild of Scott Grove, of Frederick, who said the initial idea for a self-guided walking tour came to him years ago.
At the time, however, the technology to use it had not been invented.
But with the advent of smartphones, and the help of a few partners, the app is now available for Android and Apple devices.
Frederick-based technology firm Enforme Interactive did the coding for the app and representatives from the Tourism Council of Frederick County and the Historical Society of Frederick County helped with fact-checking and providing some of the 250 historical and current images included in the app.
Users can choose to take a 46-location, two-hour tour on 1.5 miles of city streets or one of seven smaller tours, which highlight a specific era in Frederick’s history. The app also has GPS functionality, which allows users to find tour stops near their current location.
The mini tours include topics such as the founding of Frederick, the Civil War, African American history and the rebirth of Frederick from 1976 to today, among others. Each of these tours features multiple stops where the app’s narrator, a voice actor, explains the historical significance of the site. Stops on the tour include the Houck Mansion at 228 N. Market St. — now home to VOLT restaurant and Enforme Interactive’s offices. The mansion was built in the 1890s. Another stop includes 79 S. Market St., near Carroll Creek Linear Park, where the guide details the devastation of a flood in 1976.
“One of our goals was to have people leave the city and have a sense of how it developed over time, and the storytelling really does that,” Grove said.
Grove said the app isn’t intended to replace the other tours and museums available in Frederick, but rather supplement them and fill a specific niche.
“There’s nothing better than a good guided tour,” Grove said. “There are a lot of good tours that are being offered, but sometimes logistically it doesn’t work out. Maybe it’s not at the right time, or you’re traveling with others and it’s not necessarily their thing.”
The app costs $6.99, with $1 of each sale going to the Tourism Council of Frederick County and $1 to the Historical Society of Frederick County. Grove’s partner, Carrie Delente, of Enforme Interactive, said the app has had about 12 downloads since its November launch, but she expects more after further advertising and in warmer weather.
Michelle Kershner, marketing and communications manager for the Tourism Council of Frederick County, said the council helped fact-check the app, ensuring that the stories about the city were accurate.
She said the app provides another way for people to explore Frederick. The council plans to have a kiosk at the visitor center with information about the app beginning March 31.
“It really does compliment all the other tours that we have,” Kershner said. “It just lets people have more choices in how they experience Frederick. We do have a self-guided walking tour, an African American heritage sites walking tour, the Frederick bicycle loop. ... It’s just one more way that people can experience Frederick.”