Have you ever found yourself in the embarrassing situation of not knowing that there are 10 historical markers in the King William district? Yes, I know. Maybe you do know the location of one or two markers, but can you remember what they say? Can you accurately describe to a visitor the shortest route to the Altgelt-Isbell House Historical Marker? Fear no more my fellow King Williamites! There are plenty of options to satisfy your historical marker hunger. Here are your options:
First, the basics. If you are using a computer, type “San Antonio Historical Markers” in the Google search page. This will produce a list with a link to Google Maps. For some algorithmic reason I cannot get the same result by typing the same query from within the Google Maps website.
Now, you can also use your smartphone. All apps do more or less the same things: they can give you a list of nearby markers, as long as you have your geo-location option activated, and they display the text of the marker. In the Google App Store I found four apps with very creative and distinctive names: Texas Historical Markers, TX Historical Markers, Historical Markers of Texas and Texas Markers.
The one that loaded the fastest was Texas Historical Markers. This one has a thumbs up or down feature to rate the marker. The TX Historical Markers has no rating feature, but it compensates with a read-aloud mode. It was probably the slowest app to load up, though. I guess the read-aloud feature would come in handy whenever you are driving around town and do not want to step out of the car into 100 degree weather. The TX Markers app has a beautiful picture of bluebonnets as the splash screen, it loads up fast and has a nice mapping feature and reads aloud. Finally, Historical Markers of Texas had the annoying feature of first displaying a regular map. You have to tap on the search lens and then choose “in vicinity” to display the markers near you. No read-aloud option, but you can ask for directions.
There is at least one more app in the Apple Store called Texas Historical Landmarks. They claim that the app will work with your new Apple Watch; unfortunately, I have a particular contempt for Apple products so my unbiased review ends here.
So next time you find a tourist in need of information or need to impress your in-laws you can use the aloud feature in one of these apps with a very discrete earphone (too bad Google Glasses flopped). They will be impressed.
- Fidel Santamaria