Pokemon GO highlights local history

Do you ever stop and wonder how a Pokestop came to be?

No, really.

Sure, it’s no secret that Niantic, the company Nintendo partnered with to make Pokemon GO, previously had a game called Ingress, where players could submit portals – places of cultural or historical significance. Many of those portals later became Pokestops and Pokemon Gyms for everyone’s favorite new app. In addition, though, the Historical Marker Database, which tracks, well, historical markers and functions on a crowdsourced basis, provided many of the locations that later became significant to the game. (Apparently, they’ve recently seen an uptick in fake submissions. There’s a shocker.)

What both these methods for aggregating potential Pokestop and Gym locations have in common is that there’s historical or cultural significance to the places you pick up some Pokeballs. In Lancaster City, of course, the dozens of churches around the city proper all serve as Pokestops – but the Fulton Theatre, for example, is a Gym. The building was erected in 1852, but parts of its foundation are even older than that, and it’s hosted some of the great luminaries in theatre history, like Sarah Bernhardt. The Lancaster Public Library, another building with some incredible history, is a Pokestop. So is the Lancaster Cemetery (and, before you start, the Lancaster Cemetery board, for one, welcomes their new Pokemon GO-playing visitors, so long as they’re safe, respectful, and able to abide by the rules of the cemetery.)

The next time you pick up some Pokeballs and maybe an Egg or two, then, actually look at the Pokestop. Take a gander around. Maybe pull up Google real quick after you catch that Clefairy and get yourself educated on the history of your community.

Unless, of course, you’re at the one outside Isaac’s. Then maybe just grab a sandwich or something.

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Posted in Articles, Arts+Culture, Lancaster

Ed Hirtzel is the Summer 2016 Fly intern. She’s currently an English Honors student at Millersville University. Her hobbies include scribbling, writing both fiction and nonfiction, and compiling useless information about cryptids.

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