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Text, photos and audio for Heitman-Evans Hardware Store on Otocast


Art Southwest Florida previously reported that text, photos and audios have been added to the Fort Myers Guide on Otocast for thirteen historic points of interest. Included in that number is the Heitman-Evans Hardware Building located on the northwest corner of First and Hendry Streets.

When you listen to the Otocast audio, you’ll hear about how Harvie Heitman and Ed Evans included a freight elevator in the building so that they could display large and bulky farm equipment and implements on the second floor of their state-of-the-art hardware store; what the inside of the store looked like and what other merchandise Heitman and Evans carried; and how and why Harvie Heitman insisted that the store be equipped with the town’s very first fire sprinkler system.

As the audio recounts, the new store was completed as 1914 drew to a close. But stocking the new store wasn’t as simple as moving merchandise from Evan’s general store across the street to the new location. That’s because Heitman’s rival and nemesis, Walter Langford, purchased and tore down Evans’ former location in 1913 to make way for the First National Bank. This compelled Heitman and Evans to move all of their inventory across First Street to temporary quarters in one of the storefronts in the Bradford Hotel. Then they had move their inventory a second time once their construction was completed. Fortunately, Heitman-Evans Hardware stocked wheelbarrows and hand trucks, and the staff put them to good use marching merchandise across Hendry to their new location.

If you are new to Otocast, the app is free and available for download in your phone’s app store and on Google Play. Otocast works through geo-location mapping. Users don’t need to know anything about an artwork or historic building they happen upon. There’s no need to look for a plaque or QR Code.  Simply tap on the app and the guide automatically comes up, providing access to an array of information about the historic building you’re looking at. The app will also identify other historic points of interest that are located nearby.

In addition to the 14 historic points of interest now on Otocast, the Fort Myers Guide also contains narrative, photos and audios for 49 murals and 30 other artworks scattered about town.

By virtue of its audio component, Otocast is like having your very own tour guide who knows all the facts, figures and inside stories about the artworks and historic buildings you see. In fact, in the other towns and cities where Otocast is already in use the app serves as a platform for self-guided audio tours that encourage exploration and discovery, helping people gain a better appreciation of their cultural legacy. This feature is particularly useful in a town like Fort Myers, where many of the century-old buildings and pieces in the city’s public art collection encapsulate tales about the pioneers who built a rough-and-tumble cow town out of the remnants of an old wooden frontier outpost in the years following the end of the Civil War.

Otocast currently hosts guides containing in excess of 4,500 points of interest in more than 200 cities in 90+ countries.

Watch this space for more articles on the historic points of interest that are already live and that will be added to Otocast in the coming weeks. For more information, please contact the City of Fort Myers’ Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

Visit the Fort Myers Guide on Otocast here.

January 30, 2024.


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