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New Rochelle Uses Tech To Tap Into The Past With Self-Guided Cell Tours

The Pioneer building on Lawton Street is one of the stops on the History Hop tour. Photo Credit: Zak Failla
The “National City Bank of New Rochelle” Building, now Chase, at 491 Main Street (1906-1908) in New Rochelle. Photo Credit: Zak Failla
New Rochelle is introducing self-guided cellphone tours. Photo Credit: Contributed

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - History buffs interested in learning more about New Rochelle’s rich 325 year history will now have unlimited access to self-guided, cellphone-based walking tours.

On Monday, the Downtown Business Improvement District launched the “New Rochelle Downtown History Hop,” at the Ruby Dee Park at Library Green, which features 33 stops at some of the city’s most prominent locations.

The tour uses satellite technology to send information directly to the tour taker’s cellphone. Each location on the tour is marked by a blue sign that will “invite participants to scan a specific QR code or enter a web address that will bring the tour taker to a page with a brief, breezy description of the site,” complete with archival photos and audio clips.

New Rochelle City Historian Barbara Davis said that the tour allows for participants to learn more about the city’s rich history that spans back to 1688.

“The History Hop is a great way for all ages to connect with New Rochelle’s amazing history,” she noted. “Just walking along the street, pedestrians will be able to see rare archival images, hear audio clips and gain fascinating tidbits, all with a quick sweep of their cell phones.”

Maps of the tour’s stops are available at the train station, New Rochelle Public Library and City Hall. Stops include one of Norman Rockwell’s former studios, TrinitySt. Paul’s Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church of New Rochelle, which was designed by John Russell Pope.

“The History Hop is a great way to experience New Rochelle’s fascinating history,” BID Executive Director Ralph DiBart said. “New Rochelle is entering a new phase in its history, with great plans for the coming decade. This tour helps us look back at the many interesting and important places and moments in the city’s past to appreciate the foundation on which we will build our future.”

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