Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A little history with your walk

One of my missions in life is to get Minneapolis and St. Paul outfitted with top-notch neighborhood heritage trails. The DC Cultural Tourism office already has a great model that we could rip off. Heritage "trails" let you take a self-guided walking tour of a neighborhood where signs along the way alert you to areas of cultural and historic importance. These same signs also have a map of the route so that you don't even need a guidebook (although you could sell guidebooks for people to keep as a reference and/or souvenir).

There are lots of benefits to these kinds of trails. They bring people off of the beaten path to explore neighborhoods that they might not have visited. They get people walking. They educate. During the planning phase, they bring together neighbors who know the local history and who can help to tell the story of the neighborhood from an intensely local perspective. Once the trail is up, it's a nice source of community pride. And, they're kind of like an urban scavenger hunt for grown-ups who appreciate history.

Images: DC Cultural Tourism.

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