Library launches walking tour app

A gravestone at Alpena’s Evergreen Cemetery is seen on Wednesday.

ALPENA — If you hear voices while you’re walking through the cemetery, don’t worry. It’s just your app.

The Alpena County Public Library has made use of an open-source, globally used storytelling app to create a walking tour that lets your smartphone be your tour guide through Alpena’s historic Evergreen Cemetery.

Introduced to the public Monday night at a presentation about the history, deterioration, preservation, and restoration of the Evergreen Cemetery gates, the izi.travel app offers a narrated walking tour of the city’s oldest cemetery.

Tombstones dating back to the cemetery’s beginnings in 1877 are brought alive by the app’s narrations, voiced by special collections librarian Bob Lingos.

Lingos’s pleasant voice shares stories about select residents of the cemetery, such as the turn-of-the-century motor car company president who wanted to name his daughter after his favorite racehorse or the state wrestling champion from the Great Depression era who never lost a match.

News Photos by Julie Riddle A gravestone at Alpena’s Evergreen Cemetery is seen on Wednesday.

Cemetery strollers can hear or read snippets at 38 different stops within the cemetery, learning about the past as they enjoy the peaceful present. Location services on the user’s smartphone alert the app to begin the narration as each destination draws near. A map is provided with the app, which also offers alerts telling users where to turn as they continue about the grounds.

The tour takes about an hour, according to the app, but users are welcome to linger and enjoy the serenity of the cemetery as long as they like.

The library partnered with izi.travel to create the experience, titled Through These Gates: The Evergreen Cemetery Walking Tour. The library also provides a walking tour through historic Alpena through the app, taking users on a half-hour walk past some of downtown and near-downtown’s most beloved landmarks.

Headphones are recommended for either walking tour.

Interested users may download izi.travel from their favorite app store and search for “Alpena” in the search field. Location service must be enabled for the app to detect the user’s path and provide location-sensitive information.

An informational brochure is available in the special collections room at the library.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or jriddle@thealpenanews.com.

Download the app

Search for the izi.travel app in the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

Once the app is installed on your smartphone, search “Alpena, Michigan” in the app’s search tool.