Altoona Area Historical Society

Altoona Area Historical Society The Altoona Area Historical Society is established to collect and secure artifacts and historical records representing Altoona, Iowa AND surrounding area, Ivy, Bondurant, Mitchellville, Runnells for the purpose of preserving our American Heritage.

Our museum windows shine blue this week for National Police Week and Peace Officer Memorial Day.
05/16/2019

Our museum windows shine blue this week for National Police Week and Peace Officer Memorial Day.

A reminder that 1st Avenue is closed just north of the museum. It is expected to remain closed until at least August 18.
05/07/2019

A reminder that 1st Avenue is closed just north of the museum. It is expected to remain closed until at least August 18.

Stop by the Altoona Volunteer Fair at Brightside Aleworks!
04/11/2019

Stop by the Altoona Volunteer Fair at Brightside Aleworks!

Stop by @brightsideales tonight for the Altoona Volunteer Fair!
04/11/2019

Stop by @brightsideales tonight for the Altoona Volunteer Fair!

100 years ago today, John Houbolt was born in Altoona! His ideas and contributions to the Apollo program made it possibl...
04/10/2019

100 years ago today, John Houbolt was born in Altoona! His ideas and contributions to the Apollo program made it possible to achieve the goal of landing a crew on the Moon and safely returning them by the end of the decade. Time Magazine called Houbolt “Apollo's Unsung Hero.”

Altoona Area Chamber of Commerce
04/04/2019

Altoona Area Chamber of Commerce

AMERICAN PICKERS to Film in Iowa
Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, and their team are excited to return to Iowa! They plan to film episodes of the hit series
American Pickers throughout your area from May 27th-June 9th.

AMERICAN PICKERS is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique “picking” on History.

The hit show follows Mike and Frank, two of the most skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s
most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizeable, unique collections and learn the interesting
stories behind them.

As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, Mike and Frank are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten
relics. Along the way, the Pickers want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items. The pair
hopes to give historically significant objects a new lease on life, while learning a thing or two about America’s
past along the way.

Mike and Frank have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something
they’ve never seen before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them.
AMERICAN PICKERS is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you
know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of
the day looking through, send us your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with
photos to:

[email protected] or call 855-OLD-RUST.
facebook: @GotAPick

We are honored to receive a Facebook Altoona Data Center grant. This grant will help us launch an oral history project c...
03/28/2019

We are honored to receive a Facebook Altoona Data Center grant. This grant will help us launch an oral history project called “Our Story.” Look for more information soon on this great new project!

Join us next Tuesday for the Altoona Area Chamber of Commerce's monthly Perk Before Work. Learn more about the historica...
03/26/2019

Join us next Tuesday for the Altoona Area Chamber of Commerce's monthly Perk Before Work. Learn more about the historical society, get a behind the scenes tour of the museum, and enjoy breakfast treats while networking with others!
It starts at 7:30, Tuesday morning at the museum!

Did you know we still have Altoona 150 shirts, cookbooks and our book “Rising to New Heights: 150 Years of Altoona His...
03/18/2019

Did you know we still have Altoona 150 shirts, cookbooks and our book “Rising to New Heights: 150 Years of Altoona History” on sale! Hidden Treasures Gifts has this wonderful display! They are also available at Burget Mill and the museum!

Earlier this month, Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel celebrated its 30th anniversary!Next Tuesday, we have a sp...
03/14/2019

Earlier this month, Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel celebrated its 30th anniversary!
Next Tuesday, we have a special program on the history of Prairie Meadows. See the original designs of the horse track. Plus, we have rare video footage of opening day, a look at the construction, and the many additions over the last 30 years.
The program starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19, at the Altoona Area Historical Museum.

03/06/2019
Iowa Culture

It’s Iowa History Month, a time in which we honor the state’s rich history!

It's official: March is #IowaHistory Month! Governor Kim Reynolds issued the following proclamation earlier today.

"Whereas, people have called what is now Iowa their homeland for more than 12,000 years; and whereas Iowans have been blessed with a beautiful and productive land; and whereas Iowans from diverse backgrounds have formed strong attachments to each other and to their communities; and whereas Iowans have led the nation in the creation of an inclusive and exemplary system of education; and whereas Iowans produce agricultural and manufacturing products sold world-wide; and whereas Iowans have produced artists and writers of international distinction; and Iowans have championed laws promoting equality and inclusion; and whereas, these stories represent adversity and achievement, tragedy and triumph, and continuity and change; and whereas, what makes Iowa so special is the character of our people, no matter where they come from, whether it's a small town or our state capital; now, therefore, I, Kim Reynolds, Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby proclaim March 2019 as Iowa History Month."

03/03/2019

Prairie Meadows celebrated its 30th anniversary on Friday! Take a look back at the history or the horse track, thanks to our friends at KCCI!

Thanks to Beau Bowman from KCCI for stopping by the museum to learn more about the history of Prairie Meadows! Today is ...
03/02/2019

Thanks to Beau Bowman from KCCI for stopping by the museum to learn more about the history of Prairie Meadows! Today is the 30th anniversary of the opening of the horse track.

REMINDER — Our program on the history of train wrecks in Altoona begins tonight at 7 p.m. at the museum. We hope to se...
02/19/2019

REMINDER — Our program on the history of train wrecks in Altoona begins tonight at 7 p.m. at the museum. We hope to see you there!
You can also learn more about train wrecks in Altoona, and other historic stories in our book, “Rising to New Heights: 150 Years of Altoona History” available at the museum for just $35!

Join us Tuesday, February 19 for a program on train wrecks in the Altoona area! From the first circus train wreck in U.S. history, to the 1988 wreck that evacuated half of the city of Altoona! Also hear the bizarre story of an Altoona teen who in 1921 said he "always wanted to wreck a train just to see how the cars would pile up."

Happy National Ferris Wheel Day! The largest Ferris wheel in Iowa is located in Altoona at Adventureland Park! The Giant...
02/15/2019

Happy National Ferris Wheel Day! The largest Ferris wheel in Iowa is located in Altoona at Adventureland Park!
The Giant Skywheel was added in 1991. When built, it was the largest open-gondola wheel manufactured in the U.S. since G.W. Ferris built his namesake wheel for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
In 2016, a new LED lighting package was added, creating a dazzling light display that can be seen for miles!

Join us Tuesday, February 19 for a program on train wrecks in the Altoona area! From the first circus train wreck in U.S...
02/01/2019

Join us Tuesday, February 19 for a program on train wrecks in the Altoona area! From the first circus train wreck in U.S. history, to the 1988 wreck that evacuated half of the city of Altoona! Also hear the bizarre story of an Altoona teen who in 1921 said he "always wanted to wreck a train just to see how the cars would pile up."

Did you see the Za Ga Zig Shrine Circus this last weekend? This year, it was put on by the Royal Hanneford Circus, the s...
01/31/2019

Did you see the Za Ga Zig Shrine Circus this last weekend?
This year, it was put on by the Royal Hanneford Circus, the same circus that performed at Adventureland Park from 1997-2016. Here are some photos of the circus at Adventureland in 1997. That year there were three elephants, 6 horses and a Bengal tiger included in the show!

Congrats, Ted! Back in 1944, Ted Williams earned second place in men’s discus at the Drake Relays! However, due to a m...
01/18/2019
Altoona man receives Drake Relays medal 75 years later

Congrats, Ted! Back in 1944, Ted Williams earned second place in men’s discus at the Drake Relays! However, due to a medal shortage during WWII, he was given a certificate to receive his medal after the war was over. He never got around to turning the certificate in. So Thursday, his friends held a birthday party at the Altoona Hy-Vee and surprised him with the medal!

A 93-year-old central Iowa man who earned second place in men’s discus at the Drake Relays in 1944 finally got his medal.

Tomorrow Governor Kim Reynolds will be sworn in as the first female elected governor in Iowa history. Did you know that ...
01/17/2019

Tomorrow Governor Kim Reynolds will be sworn in as the first female elected governor in Iowa history. Did you know that there is a replica of the governor’s mansion in Altoona? Adventureland Park has a scaled down replica of Terrace Hill in the Main Street section of the park!

Join us for our annual meeting, tonight at 7 p.m.The meeting will include the election of board members, and discuss pro...
01/15/2019

Join us for our annual meeting, tonight at 7 p.m.
The meeting will include the election of board members, and discuss programs for 2019. If you are interested in serving on the board, or any of our committees, come to tonight's meeting or message us here on Facebook.

Also, please remember to renew your annual dues!

Thank you to the Altoona Police Department for everything you do! Our museum shines blue tonight for Law Enforcement App...
01/10/2019

Thank you to the Altoona Police Department for everything you do! Our museum shines blue tonight for Law Enforcement Appreciation Day!
#LawEnforcementAppreciationDay #AltoonaPD #AltoonaNow

01/05/2019

A fire damaged the Altoona Burger King early Friday morning. For many longtime residents it brought back memories of the Viking Inn fire just next door, nearly 20 years ago.

It's National Trivia Day! Here are some Altoona trivia questions. Put your answers in the comments below! You can learn ...
01/04/2019

It's National Trivia Day! Here are some Altoona trivia questions. Put your answers in the comments below! You can learn more about these trivia questions and more in our new book, "Rising to New Heights:150 years of Altoona History" #NationalTriviaDay

Thank you for an amazing 2018! It was a busy year with thousands of people visiting our museum. Thank YOU for your suppo...
01/01/2019

Thank you for an amazing 2018! It was a busy year with thousands of people visiting our museum.
Thank YOU for your support, and we look forward to even more great projects in 2019.
From Altoona 150, to Christmas in Olde Town. We are proud of all the work that went into renovations at the museum, our new book, hosting the Declaration of Independence, Displaying the Weather Beacon, our many programs and tours, and all the Altoona 150 festivities!

12/14/2018

This week Adventureland Park announced the Phoenix roller coaster will be added in 2019! The coaster will sit where the Super Screamer was located from 1976-1999. Check out this video from "psyclonesteve" on YouTube!

It's that time of the year. Don't forget to renew your membership! You can renew and pay online, or mail your check to: ...
12/11/2018
Membership

It's that time of the year. Don't forget to renew your membership! You can renew and pay online, or mail your check to: 104 2nd street SE, Altoona, IA 50009.

Mail a check to 104 2nd street SE, Altoona, IA 50009 (please include the information in the form below). You can also become a member at any historical society event, or by stopping by Burget Mill.

Thank you to Adrianna Bell for being our photographer!
12/03/2018

Thank you to Adrianna Bell for being our photographer!

12/03/2018

Thank you to KCCI for stopping by for the tree lighting ceremony during Christmas in Olde Town! Thanks to everyone who stopped by today. We look forward to growing the celebration next year!

Thank you to our wonderful panel of judges for our cookie baking contest!
12/03/2018

Thank you to our wonderful panel of judges for our cookie baking contest!

I’ve been looking forward to this all day!

🍪 🎄

Cookie judging contest for Christmas in Olde Town for Altoona Area Historical Society.

The City Christmas Tree is up! Come out to Christmas in Olde Town this Sunday. Mayor Dean O’Connor and Santa light the...
11/30/2018

The City Christmas Tree is up! Come out to Christmas in Olde Town this Sunday. Mayor Dean O’Connor and Santa light the tree at about 5:30 on Sunday. Music, Christmas treats and so much more!

We have two great contests this weekend during Christmas in Olde Town! We want to try your best Christmas Cookies! Our c...
11/29/2018

We have two great contests this weekend during Christmas in Olde Town!
We want to try your best Christmas Cookies! Our celebrity judges include WHO-HD Anchor Megan Reuther, Altoona Mayor Dean O'Connor, Altoona Police Chief Greg Stallman, Altoona Fire Chief Jared Ogbourne and Former Altoona Kitchen Band member Phyllis Murphy!

Judging begins at 3 p.m. on December 2 inside CAP Theatre! Get baking!
Official rules and instructions: https://bit.ly/2F0QmuK

And don't forget our Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest in CAP Theatre! The contest begins at 5 p.m. Phyllis Murphy hosts this party that you won't want to miss!

Christmas in Olde Town is just one week away! Check out the events below and SHARE with your friends and family! We hope...
11/26/2018

Christmas in Olde Town is just one week away!
Check out the events below and SHARE with your friends and family! We hope to see you there.

CHRISTMAS COOKIE CONTEST
Judging begins at 3 p.m. in CAP Theatre. Get baking!
Official rules and instructions: https://bit.ly/2F0QmuK

UGLY SWEATER CONTEST
Judging begins at 5 p.m. in CAP Theatre. Awards will be presented to best overall, most creative, most original, funniest, and beyond ugly.

CITY CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING
Santa joins Mayor Dean O'Connor as the two magically light the Altoona City Christmas Tree. Tree lighting ceremony begins at about 5:30 p.m. outside of the museum.

KCCI WEATHER BEACON ON DISPLAY
The iconic KCCI Weather Beacon will be on display, and lit for the first time since it was "retired" on Sept. 26, 2012. Learn about the history of the Des Moines icon, and get an up-close look at how it operated, and why it was removed.

SANTA ARRIVES ON A FIRE TRUCK
The Altoona Fire Department brings Santa into Olde Town on a fire truck at approx. 2 p.m. The Fire Department and Altoona Police Department will have vehicles on display.

FREE PHOTOS WITH SANTA
Get your photo taken with Santa inside the Altoona Area Historical Museum. Photos begin after Santa's arrival in Olde Town, and will last until about 5 p.m.

CHRISTMAS MARKET
Shop the vendors in our outdoor Christmas Market! Check back for details on all of the vendors!

FREE CRAFTS
Get into the holiday crafting spirit with free crafts inside CAP Theatre.

HISTORIC WALKING TOURS
Learn more about the history of Olde Town Altoona, and hear stories about the people who used to live and work here. Tours will begin outside of the museum at 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

OTHER FREE ACTIVITIES
Inside the museum we will have storytelling, free Christmas treats, Christmas movies and music!

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors!
CAP Theatre, The Funky Zebras Altoona, Burget Mill, International Resources and Bank Iowa!

We are open today, 9-noon! Check out these great deals, and even more in our gift shop. We are giving away free tote bag...
11/24/2018

We are open today, 9-noon! Check out these great deals, and even more in our gift shop. We are giving away free tote bags with the first 5 purchases! #ShopSmall #SmallBusinessSaturday

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Altoona Area Historical Society!
11/23/2018

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Altoona Area Historical Society!

Christmas in Olde Town is just 11 days away! Check out all of the fun events we have planned! PLUS -- join us at about 5...
11/21/2018

Christmas in Olde Town is just 11 days away! Check out all of the fun events we have planned! PLUS -- join us at about 5:30 p.m. on December 2 when Santa and Mayor Dean O'Connor light the city Christmas Tree in front of the museum!

We would like to thank all of our wonderful sponsors! CAP Theatre, The Funky Zebras Altoona, International Resources, Burget Mill and Bank Iowa!

We are open 9-noon on Small Business Saturday! There are several great deals in our gift shop! Get your Altoona 150 shir...
11/21/2018

We are open 9-noon on Small Business Saturday! There are several great deals in our gift shop! Get your Altoona 150 shirt, cookbook, and history books. We also sell Altoona postcards, and Iowa themed items.

We are giving away these Shop Small tote bags with the first 5 purchases on Saturday!

We will also be open and have several Small Business Saturday sales! Stop in this Saturday from 9-noon, and also check o...
11/20/2018

We will also be open and have several Small Business Saturday sales! Stop in this Saturday from 9-noon, and also check out the great small businesses in Altoona.

Remember to Shop Small this Saturday, November 24th! So many fun places to visit and support in Altoona!

#SmallBusinessSaturday #SBS #CommunityLove

We have some special Small Business Saturday deals! Stop by the museum on Saturday, November 24, 9 a.m. - noon. #SmallBu...
11/14/2018

We have some special Small Business Saturday deals! Stop by the museum on Saturday, November 24, 9 a.m. - noon. #SmallBusinessSaturday #SmallBizSat #ShopSmall

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Olde Town! Thank you to Altoona Public Works staff for decorating Olde ...
11/14/2018

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Olde Town! Thank you to Altoona Public Works staff for decorating Olde Town this morning! Christmas in Olde Town is Sunday, December 2, 2-6 p.m.!

We need a Santa Claus! Our Santa for Christmas in Olde Town had a scheduling conflict, so we are now in need of a Santa....
11/13/2018

We need a Santa Claus! Our Santa for Christmas in Olde Town had a scheduling conflict, so we are now in need of a Santa. Please contact us if you know of a Santa. We need a Santa for Sunday, December 2, 2-6 p.m.

Sunday marked 100 years since the end of World War One. This is how the Des Moines Tribune (The Des Moines Register) sha...
11/12/2018

Sunday marked 100 years since the end of World War One. This is how the Des Moines Tribune (The Des Moines Register) shared the news.

Do you still need your copy of "Rising to New Heights: 150 Years of Altoona History" or Images of America: Altoona? You ...
11/09/2018
Store

Do you still need your copy of "Rising to New Heights: 150 Years of Altoona History" or Images of America: Altoona?
You can now order both books online! Shipping is $5, anywhere in the continental U.S.

Our book, "Rising to New Heights: 150 years of Altoona History" makes for a great Christmas present! It is available at ...
11/08/2018

Our book, "Rising to New Heights: 150 years of Altoona History" makes for a great Christmas present! It is available at the museum, Burget Mill and Hidden Treasures Gifts! Books are $35 each. Contact us about shipping if you live out of town.

Do you have the ugliest Christmas Sweater in Altoona? We want to see the best ugly Christmas sweaters during Christmas i...
11/06/2018

Do you have the ugliest Christmas Sweater in Altoona? We want to see the best ugly Christmas sweaters during Christmas in Olde Town! Our contest begins at 5 p.m. on December 2!
The uglier, the merrier!

Here is a look at the times and events for Christmas in Olde Town! A Special thanks to our sponsors: The Funky Zebras Al...
11/06/2018

Here is a look at the times and events for Christmas in Olde Town! A Special thanks to our sponsors: The Funky Zebras Altoona and CAP Theatre! You can still become a sponsor. Go to https://bit.ly/2qnub84 to learn more!

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104 2nd St SE
Altoona, IA
50009

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