Special to NKyTribune
Northern Kentucky resident Rick Villines has joined forces with his college fraternity brother, Jeff Wilson, to create a comprehensive walking tour app of Cincinnati featuring 43 historic sites.
They have expanded the app for Apple and Android devices.
Wilson, who lives in Hilton Head, S.C., also developed a Historic Walking Tour-New York City. The NYC audio app features 58 historic sites in Manhattan.
The new apps join Wilson’s prior Audio Walking Tour Apps of Charleston, Savannah, Beaufort, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Aspen, San Francisco, Washington DC, Montreal, Quebec City and Chicago (all released in last 24 months).
“Plans are being made for 45 sites in Havanna, Cuba,” Wilson said.
“Tentative plans are being discussed to add Northern Kentucky, specifically Covington and Newport, to the list of sites,” Vilines said.
The GPS guided tour route for each city features 42-65 historic sites and takes 5-8 hours to walk, view and listen to the audio for each one.
The Cincinnati tour has two days including a biking or driving tour on one day.
For Cincinnati, the tour includes downtown historic sites as well as others in Over The Rhine.
“You can start your tour from wherever you are along the route or just listen to the histories at your hotel or home with family. A written history and photos are also available for each historic site,” Vilines said.
The apps have a fully functional city map and offer a GPS auto movement tracking system linked to Google Maps.
Wilson says Havana and Nassau are in the works for launch in early 2019.
A franchise option is being discussed in order to get other historic cities online as soon as possible.
“We did that in Cincinnati and Philadelphia,” Wilson said. “We are also working with two Chambers of Commerce to develop their own walking tour app. We have our eyes on 35 other major tourist markets including Paris, Berlin, London, and Rome.”
“I started with the intention to do Charleston, but it has been so much fun and educational, I decided to expand it,” Wilson said. “There have been over 48,000 downloads of the 14 cities to date.”
Wilson developed commercial real estate income properties in six southeastern and midwest states. When he retired in 2016, he needed a hobby. “We do all of our own research and compiling of the histories.”
“I am taking my first history course since college and loving it and, of course, sharing it. Rick was a better student so he was a natural choice as a partner in Greater Cincinnati.”