While strolling along the historic streets of St. Augustine, visitors now can listen to the stories of the people who lived there more than four centuries ago. They can learn about the tall ships and adventurers who came ashore from far flung parts of the world, the battles and pirate raids and raging fires that almost destroyed this Spanish colonial city, the political intrigues—and much more.
“Florida Stories”, a new walking-tour mobile app, brings this important human drama alive. Produced by the Florida Humanities Council, this 10-stop self-guided, illustrated audio tour is now available for free download to mobile phones. It is also available online for listening and download to computers.
Janine Farver, executive director, Florida Humanities Council, affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities said, “We are excited to provide this convenient way for Floridians and visitors to hear the fascinating stories of our oldest city. People can listen to the behind-the-scenes stories of St. Augustine while exploring its historic buildings and streets.”
The app is available just as the city celebrates the 450th anniversary of its 1565 founding. Visitors can download the app directly onto their Apple or Android mobile phones or via a QR code shown on rack cards in St. Augustine’s Visitors Center. The Florida Humanities Council developed this app with funds from the State of Florida and NEH. This is the first in an anticipated series of “Florida Stories” walking tours of distinctive communities around the state.
The St. Augustine script, written by public historian Elsbeth Gordon and read by actor Chaz Mena, brings this city’s past alive. Gordon is author of the book, “Walking St. Augustine: An Illustrated Guide and Pocket History to America’s Oldest City,” published by the University Press of Florida. In it, she focuses on the people who lived in what was once a little wooden city at the edge of a vast ocean and untamed wilderness—and on the landmark events as the city evolved and key points to visit today. Mena, a Miami-based actor, has portrayed St. Augustine’s Spanish founder Pedro Menéndez on stage in the Florida Humanities Council’s “Dreamers & Schemers” programmes.