ALPENA, Mich. — The Alpena Library’s Special Collections added a new historical tour to its roster.
The Alpena Library offers a number of audio tours through the Special Collections department. Its latest, “Alpena’s Places of Worship,” released on the Izi.Travel app last Friday.
This tour takes the listener on a four–mile journey through the formation of Alpena’s religious congregations in the mid–to–late 1800s.
Don LaBarre, head of special collections, said he learned a lot about Alpena’s ethnic diversity during the research process.
“They weren’t all English–speaking. They were speaking their mother tongues. So, like Grace Lutheran, for example. The majority of its congregation was Norweigian… Everything is in Norweigian until the 1920s when it switches over to English.”
LaBarre told WBKB a request from the Temple Beth–El synagogue to cover multiple faiths inspired the project. He said he hopes this project will help people learn more about the numerous cultures and histories that make up Alpena.
“I think a lot of times people go like ‘oh it’s up north, it’s Northern Michigan, it’s kinda homogenous. It’s got a singular history’ and I want to show the diversity and the different histories and the different stories that are going on here. But I also want to highlight different stories than what are usually focused on.”
Labarre says you can walk, bike, and even drive the tour.