New App for Charlestown History Looks to Spread Out Tourist Experience

Tourists are a fun part of living in Charlestown, and every summer the neighborhood gets to enjoy a healthy throng of visitors following the red brick paths through the neighborhood to the various historic sights.

However, a new effort by the Charlestown Preservation Society (CPS) looks to get people off the bricks and deeper in to the history of Charlestown.

“It’s the first time I believe there is a walking history tour app for Charlestown,” said Ellen Kitzis of CPS. “Visitors to Charlestown often come to the USS Constitution and to the Monument and then want to know where to have lunch. That’s it. We want to get them deeper into Charlestown. The app is going to highlight and include 15 stops in Charlestown. It has a write up and description of each site, pictures of the site and artwork about the site. It’s a great app and I’m excited about it because I think it’s something the community can be excited about.”

CPS member Amanda Zettel headed up the effort using money from the Wynn Boston Harbor funded Charlestown Community Fund. Using the money and volunteer power, she and the CPS were able to construct the app and provide excellent content, which Kitzis said is the key to creating something that people will use.

The app guides folks from the Monument, which is typically where visitors to the Town end their journey. They will be directed to the Training Field, City Square, Mt. Vernon Street, the Warren Tavern, Thompson Square Triangle, the Charlestown 5 Cent Savings Bank building, through the old Federal-style homes on High Street and ending at the Phipps Burial Ground. Every stop mentioned and those not mentioned will have rich histories that are written by CPS members, as well as double-checked by the CPS Design Review Committee and local historians.

“One thing about it is that this is just version 1.0,” said Kitzis. “Now that we have it up, we’re getting all kinds of suggestions on additional content. The Navy Yard folks have asked us to coordinate with them to include other sites there. The great thing is as we add more sites, we can also layer things in so that it can be personalized. If someone doesn’t want to look at burial grounds and only old houses, they can do that on the app.”

The app will go live on May 12 with a large ceremony that will work in conjunction with the Abraham Lincoln Post’s celebration/fundraiser for Memorial Hall – a celebration that CPS is partnering in as well. On May 12, during the day, the CPS will unveil the app and lead a group tour using it to several sites. In conjunction with the Memorial Hall celebrations, it’s going to be a full day of fun in Charlestown.

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