Shelbyville Daily Union

June 7, 2013

City walking tours offer history, fun

Valorie Eversole Daily Union Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union

---- — A person’s smart phone can guide them to restaurants, hotels, and interesting sites while traveling on vacation.

Now that same technology can introduce visitors to Shelbyville in a series of walking tours that can be accessed by their smart phones and tablets as well as by computer.

A series of City Walks gives visitors and residents a chance to see and hear Shelbyville in a historic and artistic light. By visiting www.shelbyvilleillinois.net/shelbyville-illinois-citywalk-tour-series or picking up City Walk brochures, visitors may tour Historic Downtown, Victorian Homes, Lincoln Memorials, and Painted Figures. Scanning the QR code on the brochures will take you to the website where you can hear and learn more about the highlights.

“This was a tremendous collaboration of about every organization in the community,” said Economic Development Council of Shelby County chairman David Young. “It began with the Downtown Works walk with Anthony Rubano in June 2011 and October 2013. The survey following the walk showed that people thought tourism was the best way to market Shelbyville.”

Partners involved in the project are the Downtown Works committee, local artists Carol Kessler and Dan Modzelewski, Shelby County Historical and Genealogical Society, Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce, the US Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Shelbyville, Shelby County Tourism Office, IIRA-WIU Peace Corps Fellows Program, Lake Land College, and the Shelbyville High School Welding class.

“The City Walks project is designed for the development and preservation of downtown Shelbyville and to promote tourism in the area,” Young said.

Signage at the Lake Shelbyville Visitors Center can also be scanned to get Lake visitors started on the tours. The signs were installed by Isaac Moore and Luke McConnell of the high school welding class under the direction of instructor Greg Reynolds.

“There were over 1,000 community service hours involved,” said Reynolds. “It may not look like it but there was a lot of work in designing and the metal framework for the signs. Then the bicycle rack had to be removed and the concrete readied for the installation.”

“It looks like a simple project but it was really involved,” Moore said.

The GIS class at Lake Land College, which included some Shelbyville area students, was instrumental in the mapping of the sites for the brochures.

The Painted Figures art tour highlights the features and businesses in town through figures attached to different buildings throughout town. They were created over a period of eight years by local artists Carol Kessler and Dan Modzelewski, commissioned by businesses and organizations in Shelbyville. The painted figures is an on-going project with the most recent one at the Lake Shelbyville Visitors Center in 2012. In the tour you can hear the story behind the figures as told by the artists.

The Victorian Homes architectural tour includes some of the original homes built during the mid-1800s along Washington, Morgan and Broadway streets. This area, known as the Shelbyville Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

The Historic Downtown tour highlights some of the original buildings and businesses in Shelbyville’s business history along Main Street. Many of these buildings are included in the National Register of Historic Places.

Shelbyville’s history tour would not be complete without a Lincoln Memorial tour. Shelbyville was one of the circuit stops for lawyer Abraham Lincoln between 1847 and 1857. This tour includes wayside exhibits, paintings and markers.

Tour brochures may picked up at the Shelby County Tourism Office, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Lake Shelbyville Visitors Center.