Digital Exclusive: Wilkes-Barre’s ‘Walkitecture’ aims to bring history to life while promoting healthy living

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Wilkes-Barre ‘Walkitecture’ initiative aims to take you on a journey back in time with health and wellness in mind.

The self-guided free activity takes you on a scenic route past 23 historic landmarks in the city.

“Not only is it a physical activity of walking through downtown Wilkes-Barre on Franklin and River Streets, but it also incorporates the beautiful architecture that exists in our town on those streets,” Wilkes-Barre Health Department Director Henry Radulski said.

Radulski says the goal of the program is to motivate people to get active, while teaching them along the way. The first step on the 2.2-mile sojourn is installing the free, interactive smartphone app that goes with the experience.

“On that app you can actually see the building in its current presence, a history of the building, and also you can slide your app and you can see what it looked like 100, 150 years ago,” Radulski said.

One of the spots on South Franklin Street includes the residence where President Franklin Roosevelt stopped in the 1936 flood.

“My brother is actually a history alumni from Wilkes, so I grew up listening to everything about the buildings around here,” Wilkes University senior Nick Alfano said.

Alfano is a senior at Wilkes University, which houses Weckesser Hall, built in 1914. It’s situated at about the quarter-mile mark. Alfano tells Eyewitness News he appreciates the area’s history everyday as he walks to class and looks forward to participating.

“Some of the architecture around here is just beautiful so it would be really interesting to actually hear where things came from and why things look the way they do,” Alfano said.

Funding was provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health through the Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant from the CDC. You can complete the route at your own pace, on your own schedule.

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