The New Philadelphia AR Tour App

The New Philadelphia AR (Augmented Reality) Tour is designed to be downloaded and used by visitors to the New Philadelphia National Historic Landmark in Pike County,  Illinois. This App allows visitors to view virtually reconstructed portions of the historic town and learn about the town’s history while walking through the landmark. Creation of the App was made possible by support from the United States National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom and the Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative.

New Philadelphia is historically significant as the first town in the United States to be founded and platted by an African American. The founder, Free Frank McWorter, was a slave who purchased his own freedom through money he had earned while being leased as a laborer. Free Frank moved west from Kentucky into Illinois and purchased land which he then platted and sold as lots, in the process founding the town of New Philadelphia. Free Frank used the proceeds from those lots to successively purchase the freedom of first his wife and later his children and grandchildren, all of whom had remained enslaved in Kentucky. Over the course of the mid-19th century, New Philadelphia grew modestly in size as a multi-racial community of whites and blacks peaking around 1870, however, the town was eventually abandoned in the early 20th Century and reverted to farmland.

The New Philadelphia AR Tour uses Augmented Reality technology to reconstruct and tell the story of a lost historic community.