By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer
(July 9, 2020) The audio walking tour of Berlin unveiled last month has its own background story, considering that it was almost lost to history itself.
“The Globe had a cassette tape audio walking tour that I found in a file folder when I was going through some of the files in my office, and I found a script, but I didn’t find the actual tape,” said Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells. “So, there was a script there, and it said ‘Cassette Audio Recording,’ but I never found the actual cassette tapes.”
Wells wanted to use the script to make a talking walking tour rather than just a printed version, to accommodate a wider audience
“I thought that it would be a good idea to be able to have it as a link on the berlinmainstreet.com website,” Wells said. “People, if they’re looking into the town, they can listen to it while they were here … or listen to it in advance and have something as context.
“We’re always mindful of welcoming everyone to our town and for people who may not be able to see the beautiful structures and buildings in our downtown — at least they can hear about them and listen to a description about them,” Wells continued.
Wells and her assistant, Allison Early, reviewed the old script and edited it for relevancy.
Then, Wells approached Savanna Hastings, who had been a volunteer, to record the script, which details the devastating fires in the downtown area in 1895, 1902 and 1904 as well as the origin of the town’s name.
“I always thought she had such a beautiful voice,” Wells said of Hastings. “I wanted to be able to allow her the chance to record this because she’s also a history major.”
Hastings, 21, who is studying public history at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, recorded the script on her phone via Voice Memos. Wells then enlisted technical help and merged the memos into a 10-minute recording.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” Hastings said. “I’ve had experience in theater, but I’ve never actually had my voice recorded before.”
The audio tour is accompanied by a Berlin history walking tour map that was also discovered in the file.
“It had been stored for many years, and I just decided to resurrect it.” Wells said.
For more information, visit www.berlinmainstreet. com/berlin-history/.