DUVALL – More than 100 years after the Duvall's foundation, there are still remnants of its earliest days.
The town recently celebrated its 108th birthday, having been incorporated on Jan. 6, 1913. City council met for the first time Jan. 7, 1913 in the home of Mayor Lon Brown, said Duvall Historical Society President Country Roney, and one of its first acts as a council was to approve liquor licenses to the local taverns.
This century's residents and visitors are able to learn about many of the structures that formed the foundation of the town along the historical society’s new self-guided virtual walking tour, available via a smart phone app.
The tour is focused on the downtown area and includes stops such as at the site of Duvall Flowers & Gifts, once known as Hix’s General Store, a fixture of Main Street since 1913.
Through the free app Distrix, which is available on smart phones via the Apple App Store or Google Play on Androids, tourers will learn about their surroundings as an audio recording will automatically play once they come within approximately 20 feet of beacons located at each of the 16 stops, Roney said.
Although it’s self-guided and may be done in any order, the tour officially begins at Depot Park. If done in its entirety on-foot, it takes about an hour and a half.
With the continued closures and restrictions due to the pandemic, Roney said, the historical society sought ways to continue providing services to the public.
“Once we heard the museums would be closed for the year … we jumped on the band wagon and did research on how we could still provide that public benefit,” she said.
The app is used by several organizations in the U.S. as a way to inform about and market local Main Street businesses, according to its website. Through a grant from the King County agency 4Culture, the historical society was able to create the walking tour, Roney said.
Many of the society’s volunteers are in the vulnerable group for COVID-19, she said, and it has been too risky to hold fundraising events or open the Dougherty House to tours.
However, a young historian and Cedarcrest High School graduate with the society helped curate the walking tour content.
“This project would not be possible if it wasn’t for Taylor Hill,” Roney said.
Hill's voice can be heard on the tour and she also created a helpful tutorial for downloading and using the Distrix app, available on the Duvall Historical Society’s Youtube page.