In a seemingly unrelated tale, we at TDG became interested in QR codes. Those squiggly squares pack a lot of digital information, which can be scanned by smart phones. They seemed like a cool idea. But what do you do with them?
What if you could stand on the sidewalk and view a vintage photo captured more than 100 years ago in nearly the same spot where you're standing? You'd see that the shop where you're sipping your latte was once a frontier dry goods store. And what if seeing such images could help people appreciate the value of the history around them, courtesy of the Rapid City Historic Preservation Commission?
With that in mind, we created Picture Rapid City's Past. We took our idea to the Rapid City Historic Preservation Commission. Together we picked 20 great sites within the historic district, wrote nice descriptions, and created QR-coded stickers to link those sites to a web gallery of fascinating historic photos depicting the same spot, long ago. These QR codes can now be found all over downtown Rapid City. By using a smart phone, iPad or tablet computer to scan the QR code, you can call up the historic photo and description, learning a little more about Rapid City's past.
Picture Rapid City's Past was a hit. Tourists visiting Rapid City have enjoyed their high-tech glimpse into local history. Locals love it, too. It's always exciting to get a new perspective on a familiar sight. Best of all, seeing how some familiar Rapid City sites have changed through the years and how others have stayed the same helps Rapid City residents develop a new appreciation for the city's great downtown architecture, and better understand the importance of protecting it. This allows the Rapid City Historic Preservation Commission to be seen as an educator, not a regulator. Success for everyone involved!