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The historic Old West End neighborhood has something new to call attention to the collection of elegant homes and properties that line Main Street and adjacent side streets: markers with QR codes.
Mixing technology with tradition, 56 markers have been installed along the edge of the sidewalk in front of the properties to bring tourism into the 21st Century and better promote the historic district.
“What a great project and idea to promote these beautiful homes,” said Lisa K. Meriwether, tourism manager for the Danville Office of Economic Development. “Visitors love learning about the history of older homes, and many will travel to a destination making this activity their number one reason for the visit.”
Quick Response, or QR, codes are a type of barcode loaded with information that, when scanned with a phone or other device, can open a web page, social media site or video.
Each marker in the Old West End has two smartphone-readable codes. One code links to a story map on the City of Danville’s website. The second code links to information on a website maintained by the Friends of the Old West End, which is a nonprofit 501(c)3 community organization that promotes the historic district.
The two websites provide information about the property, including historical highlights and maps.
The markers were installed last month. The project is a partnership between the City of Danville and Friends of the Old West End. Most of the cost of the markers was offset by a Certified Local Government grant from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
The Old West End is a walkable neighborhood located immediately south of the River District that boasts what many believe is Virginia’s finest and most concentrated collection of Victorian and early 1900s residential and ecclesiastical architecture.
The area represents an era of growth and prosperity in Danville when the tobacco and textile industries were thriving. It also contains a broad spectrum of architectural styles popular in Danville from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century.
The neighborhood is part of the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.