Have cell phone, will tour
Jan 07, 2013 (The State (Columbia - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A cellphone lets you visit local landmarks in downtown Lexington.
The self-guided tour with brief commentary about each site is the latest attempt to drum up interest in the community's long-time downtown retail hub.
So far, 46 people have taken the walking tour covering a few blocks during the month it's been available, town officials say.
"It's another way to let people know about our history," said J.R. Fennell, director of the nearby Lexington County Museum. "It's a visit that people can do at their own pace."
Small signs mark each stop on the 10 buildings on Main Street and nearby roads that are featured.
Included are the 73-year-old county courthouse, 183-year-old St. Stephen's Lutheran Church and 122-year-old Palmetto Collegiate Institute that is now a town meeting hall set amid a garden.
Longtime town residents recorded the commentaries, blending in personal experience.
The tour is modeled after what's done at historic national battlefields and similar to a tour of Columbia's historic homes, officials said.
Chuck Corley, chairman of the town Historic Preservation Review Board, envisions an expanded tour with other landmarks on the outer edge of downtown such as the museum and a textile mill that is now a shopping mall.
"Our hope is this is just the beginning," he said.
Creating the tour isn't expensive, town officials said, with communications technology and signs costing less than $500.
Town leaders want to see how popular the tour is before adding more.
"We'll see how it goes," said town grants administrator Wesley Crosby, who helped design the tour.
Fennell already is a believer. He want to start a similar tour at the museum so visitors can proceed individually instead of waiting for his staff to show them around its 36 structures spread over seven acres.
Lexington's tour is the first of its kind in the county, with Fennell eager to create more upon request.
If you go
Visit www.lexsc.com/tour_index.htm to learn more.
Call (803) 358-7264 for commentary while touring.
Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.
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