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Altoona City Guide

Altoona City Guide: Discover Altoona, Pennsylvania attractions, restaurants, neighborhoods, and nightlife. Read Altoona news, meet others in your area, and make travel plans.

About Altoona

An industrial linchpin of central Pennsylvania, Altoona is located on the eastern slopes of the majestic Allegheny Mountains, about 100 miles fro m Pittsburgh. Nicknamed "The Mountain City," Altoona was founded in 1849 as a switching station and repair complex for Pennsylvania Railroad locomotives that chugged across the Allegheny Plateau.

With roughly 50,000 residents, Altoona, in Blair County, is the 10th most populated city in the state. The city continues to be a railroad-industry hub for construction and repair shops. In addition, fabricated metal products, food, electrical equipment, chemicals and machinery are produced as part of Altoona�s diverse economic base.

The city is also the retail center for the region. Situated in the Allegheny Mountains, Altoona lies at the foothills of Brush Mountain within Logan and Pleasant valleys. The town is 9.8 square-miles. The headquarters of one the largest convenience store / gas station chains in the U.S., Sheetz, are based in Altoona.

The name "Altoona" is said to be derived fro m the Latin word �Altus� which means "high." Others believe the city was named after Altona, Germany. A third theory is that "Allatoona" was a musical-sounding Cherokee name.

Visitors and citizens are enriched by the noteworthy landmarks of Altoona. Railroaders Memorial Museum offers a window into the railroads� illustrious past. Their "traveling trunk" and video program bring a valuable, hands-on learning experience to children studying daily life in the early to mid-1800s. Built between 1845 and 1849 with Elias Baker�s fortune fro m selling iron, the Baker mansion was a �Greek Revival style� and had the regal look of a temple in ancient Greece. The total cost was $15,000. When the final Baker family member died in 1914, the mansion was closed. In 1922, the Historical Society of Blair County reopened the elegant home as a museum. Visitors can see how the family and its servants lived, worked, and traveled over 150 years ago.

Fort Roberdeau, built by Daniel Roberdeau, was created as a fortress in the area now known as Altoona, to protect the lead mining and smelting operations necessary to manufacture lead bullets and musket balls as much-needed ammunition for the Revolutionary War soldiers.

Tourist attraction and National Historic landmark the Horseshoe Curve is considered to be �a world-famous engineering feat.� The curve was used to raise trains to a proper altitude to cross the mountains of the Allegheny without resorting to a steep constant grade. Horseshoe Curve was sel ected as a potential target by eight Nazi agents who had come to the U.S. during WWII.

Another interesting sight to see is America�s first railroad tunnel, called the Staple Bend Tunnel, in Altoona.

Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona houses a rare collection of wistful albumen photographic prints taken by Pennsylvania Railroad official William H. Rau. Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts holds �cultural and performing arts series, and theater productions� in the Paul R. and Margery Wolf-Kuhn Theater. In addition, the center houses the McLanahan and Sheetz Art Galleries. The Mishler Theater is a �cultural gem�, with beautifully maintained architectural details and ornate interior decorations, all restored to their former glory. The theater hosts many family-friendly productions that are both entertaining and educational. Altoona also boasts a Blair County Arts Festival, the Allegheny Ballet Company, the Allied Motion Dance Company, and community theater. The 75-year-old Altoona Symphony Orchestra is now under direction of Teresa Cheung.

Altoona is home to Penn State-Altoona, the third largest of the Penn State Commonwealth campuses.

Written by Kathleen Cooney

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1 floor Altoona City Guide [*.*.*.*] published in 2014/01/02/ 09:29:00
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Altoona City Guide: Discover Altoona, Pennsylvania attractions, restaurants, neighborhoods, and nightlife. Read Altoona news, meet others in your area, and make travel plans.

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