Andrew Smith wants to dispel the stereotype that downtowns are no longer relevant.
For the past five years, he has been organizing tours that allow people to see the hidden beauty and history of downtown areas. Now, the urban explorer is bringing his tour to Hanover.
Locals interested in architecture, history or just supporting local businesses can take Smith's upcoming Inside Hanover walking tour.
More than 50 Hanover businesses, landmarks and government offices will open for a 2-mile tour on May 2. The tour will loop through Hanover's downtown area and cover landmarks like the Warheime-Myers mansion, the Eichelberger Performing Arts Center and the Neas House, Smith said.
Normally, visitors pay an entrance fee to the historical landmarks, but Smith said he coaxed the Hanover Area Historical Society into opening the buildings to the public for free for the event.
"The fact that so many businesses did jump at it shows that there is a real community spirit downtown," Smith said. "I think they'll really be surprised how many older businesses are thriving and how many new ones have opened."
The idea for the walk is based off of the concept of photography tours, where amateur photogs snap differing pictures while walking along the same area. Smith has planned nine over the course of five years in places like Harrisburg, York, New Oxford and Lancaster.
Those who wish to take photos along the way will be able to post them to a public Flickr page and view those taken by others.
Still, photography is not mandatory for the Inside Hanover tour. Smith said he is hoping that people will use the tour as a way to take a closer look at town landmarks and learn a little more about local businesses.
Highlights of the tour include Young Manor, the old post office building and the Wirt Park firehouse and fire museum.
"People overlook the places right in their backyard," Smith said. "I will bet anyone that goes on the walk that they will spot something they haven't see before."
If you go
What: Inside Hanover walking tour
When: May 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Begins at St. Matthew Lutheran Church at 30 W. Chestnut St.
How Much: Free
About It All
Absolute Skin Images
Big Mike's Crabhouse & Grill
Borough of Hanover Office
Carriage House Market
Conference and Heritage Center
Dark Ronin Films
Darrell M. Sipe Opticians & Hearing Aids
Diamonds & Designs by Ashley Lauren
Diversified Cuts Barbershop
Eichelberger Performing Arts Center
Famous Hot Weiner
Frame Shop & Gallery
Furs by Susan
Guthrie Memorial Library
Hanover Area Arts Guild
Hanover Clothing Company
Hanover Fire Museum
Hanover News Agency (Culp's)
Hanover Valley Presbyterian Church
Kessler's Bicycle Center
Law Office of Amy Erhart
Life in Balance Yoga
Neas House - Hanover Area Historical Society
Old Post Office
Our Family Stock Pot
Pennsylvania Theatrical Arts
Senator Richard Alloway II
Grounds of the Sheppard Mansion
St. Matthew Lutheran Church
St. Paul's Lutheran Church
State Representative Kate Klunk
Unabashed School of Dance
Visiting Angels Living Assistance
Grounds of the Warehime-Myers Mansion -
Wirt Park Fire Station
Young Manor/Blue Ridge Holdings