February Membership Meeting: Historic Walking Tours

Assisi Conference Room in St. John’s Hospital
Tuesday, February 14th, 7 pm

EPNIA.com QR codePlease join us to find out more about the podcast videos, QR codes and Historical Tours being created and coordinated by the Robert Morris University students.

We will be reviewing some of their projects and how new technology can be used to revisit and revitalize our past.

Did You Know from Enos Park Banner Newsletter February, 2012
Steve Combs, President

Your smart phone can be used as your tour guide on the historic walks being prepared for Enos Park. If you have a smart phone to scan a QR code like the one to the right, you can link to a website or download and view a video about a home or distinguished resident of the neighborhood.

The QR code here links to the EPNIA website, www. EPNIA.com. Future plans may incorporate GPS technology to allow effortless access to online information based on a visitor’s location within the neighborhood.

Intern students from Robert Morris University are preparing online videos as part of the Association’s efforts to bring Enos Park’s history and people back to life. In addition to using enactors for the tour programs, we hope to set up a live enactment later in the fall as part of our Historic Homes Tour.

Stephan A. Douglas started his 1858 Senate campaign in the black walnut grove (4th and Dodge) just north of Edwards Place, Abraham Lincoln and Mary attended the 1860 wedding
of Ozias Hatch and Julia Enos at the Enos home, 1005 N 7th, his last social event in Springfield before he left for Washington, D.C., and General John McClernand, who lived at 801 N 6th, was in charge of local arrangements for Lincoln’s funeral and burial in Oak Ridge Cemetery which included the 10th Illinois Cavalry, a current enactment group.

The historic information and pictures in this newsletter have been taken from the 1997 study of Enos Park by Fever River Research, Floyd Mansberger and his staff. Additional information can be obtained from the Sangamon Valley Collection at the Lincoln Public Library.

Smart walk:Enos Park uses technology to promote its history
By Patrick Yeagle
, Illinois Times
Thursday, February 16,2012

Steve Combs just upgraded his cell phone. Combs, who is president of the Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association in Springfield, admits he’s still a bit perplexed by the shiny new device that replaced his old flip phone. But Combs is excited to learn the new technology for one reason: his neighborhood will soon feature walking tours that use cutting-edge smartphones as electronic guides.

Expected to debut sometime this year, the walking tours will use digital square barcodes called “QR codes” that smartphones can scan to bring up photos, audio or video clips, GPS-enabled maps and a variety of other interactive content. In a modern spin on the audiotape tours used in some museums, the tours will focus on historic or significant landmarks in the Enos Park neighborhood, which is located north of Springfield’s downtown. Formerly known as “the Jewel of Springfield” during the late 1800s and early 1900s, the neighborhood is undergoing a revitalization effort to restore its former luster.

“We want Enos Park to be a destination,” Combs says. “We’ve got to get people out there walking around and realizing, ‘Gee, this is pretty neat.’ We have so many houses that can contribute something from a historical or architectural standpoint. Enos Park really has a greater concentration than any other part of the city.”
Combs said he hopes to see other neighborhoods connect similar walking tours to those of Enos Park once implemented.

“We’re trying to get more people involved and attracted to certain areas,” Combs said, emphasizing possible links to the downtown area. Combs said he moved here after he retired because his son, Andy, was accepted to SIU School of Medicine in Springfield. “When I retired, Springfield would not have been on my list of places to retire to,” he says with a sly smile. “I knew nothing about Enos Park, but the more we did research and fixed up our home, the more we realized this is a unique, historical home in a very special neighborhood.”

Several different walks are planned to highlight different features in Enos Park, such as historic homes and churches, city parks, Springfield’s first horse-drawn trolley line, and Abraham Lincoln’s tomb. Students at Robert Morris University in Springfield are creating the content featured on the tours.

One such presentation, created by RMU senior Sydny Morris, focuses on Combs’ own house at 821 N. Fifth St., which was built in 1881 and owned by Guy Mathis, who opened Springfield’s first camera store in 1894. About 1,700 photographs taken by Mathis of Springfield’s people and places are contained in a collection at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

Combs says the tours are just part of a larger effort to make Enos Park and Springfield as a whole more attractive to tourists, families and businesses.
“Let’s change our image, change our perceptions,” Combs says. “We have to overcome the hurdles of this being a blighted neighborhood. Let’s get it straightened out and restore its image.”

Read the full story at IllinoisTimes.com…

Enos Park neighborhood to create high-tech walking tours
By JOHN REYNOLDS (john.reynolds@sj-r.com)

The State Journal-Register

Posted Feb 08, 2012

One of Springfield’s oldest neighborhoods is going high-tech with its new walking tours. The Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association is putting together four walks that people will be able to access on the association’s website via smart phone. Smart phone users will be able to view the routes on a map,and call up video podcasts with audio and text about historically significant houses or locations.

Steve Combs, president of the association, said the high-tech approach should appeal to young adults. He hopes the walks will provide an activity for tourists interested in history and highlight the positives of the neighborhood. “When the name Enos Park comes up, we don’t want people to think about drug dealers or prostitutes,” Combs said. “We want them to think about unique, historical old homes and the historically significant residents who lived there in the 1850s to early 1900s.”

University partner

Combs’ group is getting help from Robert Morris University. Students are putting together the podcasts, which could include text about the architectural significance of a house or historical information about who lived at a residence. The students also are including pictures of what the houses looked like in the past and photos of former owners, when available. In some instances, the podcasts will feature houses that have been torn down. Those podcasts will be linked to the addresses where the houses once stood. “All those gorgeous homes we lost — we can bring them back to life,” Combs said.

Robert Morris senior Stephanie Seward of Beardstown is one of the six students working on the project. She said they were given information about the houses, but also have done research of their own.

“The presentations talk about who lived there and what they did. It’s kind of like a mini tour in a video presentation,” said Seward, who’s interested in marketing and human resources.

Walk, relax, visit

All of the walks are less than a mile. One runs between Gehrmann Park, Second Street and Calhoun Avenue, and Enos Park at Seventh and Enterprise streets, and another would connect Edwards Place, 700 N. Fourth St., and the Bretz Home at 1113 N. Fifth St. Both homes are on the National Registry of Historic Sites. The other two walks connect neighborhood parks to nearby hospitals. One would run between Enos Park and St. John’s Hospital, and the other between Gehrmann Park and Memorial Medical Center. Combs hopes the walking tours will be ready by spring or summer, although he’s not sure how many podcasts will be operational by then. It will be possible to add podcasts or expand existing ones later, he said.

Read the full story at SJ-R.com…