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New 'Story Maps' a virtual walk through time

City intern Tyler Galde stands in front of a screen showing one of the two "Story Maps" he created for the city, titled" THe City on the Kinni." The maps went live on the city's website last week. (River Falls Journal photo by Gretta Stark)

Thanks to the work of a city intern, there is a new way to explore River Falls.

Intern Tyler Galde has created two new Story Maps. The interactive websites allow people to explore the city from the comfort of their own home, or from afar, or take a walking tour of the city.

"They're for anybody, whether it (would) be someone who lives in the city or someone who's visiting," Galde said. "I know there's a lot of history, especially in the city, and especially downtown. A lot of the buildings that are used every day for business are over 100 years old, and I think a lot of people don't know that some of the buildings have their original faces on them."

One story map, called "The City on the Kinni" offers a comprehensive history of River Falls, starting from Joel Foster's arrival in 1848, through the city's early development years.

"The City on the Kinni" is ideally experienced via a desktop computer, Galde said. It can be found at:

Another story map called "A Walk Through Time," is optimally used on a mobile device. It allows users to click on different buildings and locations around River Falls and learn about them.

It can be found at:

Galde worked with the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) to gather the historical information used in the maps.

He used a website called ESRI that creates story map websites.

Galde said he's seen many bigger cities that have story maps, for example, the city of Georgetown did a story map of its comprehensive sidewalks plan.

"Today, technology is... everything," Galde said. "Everyone has mobile devices."

Galde said he'd like to continue to expand the Story Maps when he can. He said anyone who has information they'd like to suggest adding to the maps can contact him at

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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