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.
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Check out this trivia question from Prairie Meadows! Do you know the answer?
04/13/2020

Check out this trivia question from Prairie Meadows! Do you know the answer?

It’s Prairie Meadows trivia time! Leave us your guess in the comments below and we'll share our answer tomorrow.

04/07/2020
Altoona Memorial

The plane at Sam Wise Sports Complex was the dream of Altoona resident Doug Teuber. His work and dedication to the city of Altoona, and the historical society, are still felt across the city today.

Get out and enjoy Altoona’s miles of trails and learn more about our community! There are several historical markers alo...
04/01/2020

Get out and enjoy Altoona’s miles of trails and learn more about our community! There are several historical markers along the paths in Altoona. Go for a run, take the dog for a walk or go for a bike ride and check them out for yourself. Take a selfie with each one you come across and share them using #AltoonaHistory! Please practice social distancing whenever you leave your home to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

On April 1, 1995, the casino opened at Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel with more than 15,000 guests on opening...
04/01/2020

On April 1, 1995, the casino opened at Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel with more than 15,000 guests on opening day. The casino made Prairie Meadows the country’s first combination horse track and slot machine casino.

It’s a historic time in our city, and across the world. We want your help preserving the story of Altoona during the COV...
03/31/2020

It’s a historic time in our city, and across the world. We want your help preserving the story of Altoona during the COVID-19 pandemic. Share your pictures and video with us on what you have seen and how you and your family are getting through the quarantine and social distancing. We will get through this!

Help the Altoona Arts and Culture committee pick a song for its community sing-along this Sunday! Make sure to vote on t...
03/20/2020

Help the Altoona Arts and Culture committee pick a song for its community sing-along this Sunday! Make sure to vote on the original post on the Altoona Arts and Culture page.

Music unites us! So join us for a community sing-along on Sunday at 4 p.m.! Use the Facebook reactions on this post to tell us which song you would like us to use for the sing-along! We will announce a winner at noon on Sunday. Then head outside at 4 p.m., on your decks, porches or front yards to sing along. Please also remember to social distance to help stop the spread.

03/18/2020
Altoona Campus Grand Opening

The Altoona Family YWCA opened on December 2, 1992, with more than 2,200 members. After only a few years, concern grew over the potential liability that the Altoona facility faced for the downtown facility's debts. So in August of 1995, the Altoona City Council voted to end its lease agreement with the Greater Des Moines YWCA, and a nonprofit was formed to operate the facility as the Altoona Campus.

The Dining Car was a restaurant located where Hawkeye Heaven is today. It featured an actual 1912 dining car! This ad is...
03/17/2020

The Dining Car was a restaurant located where Hawkeye Heaven is today. It featured an actual 1912 dining car! This ad is from St. Patrick's Day 1984.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Our meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 17 has been canceled. All events throughout the month of March...
03/16/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE: Our meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 17 has been canceled. All events throughout the month of March will be rescheduled.

The Altoona Walmart held it's grand opening 20 years ago today. This is an image of an employee stocking shelves before ...
03/15/2020

The Altoona Walmart held it's grand opening 20 years ago today. This is an image of an employee stocking shelves before the opening.

The Altoona Walmart held its grand opening 20 years ago today.
03/15/2020

The Altoona Walmart held its grand opening 20 years ago today.

The log ride at Adventureland Park was a favorite since the park opened in 1974. What other rides do you remember as a k...
03/14/2020

The log ride at Adventureland Park was a favorite since the park opened in 1974. What other rides do you remember as a kid?

Do you remember these eggs around the city?
03/11/2020

Do you remember these eggs around the city?

Do you remember when 50 5-foot tall brightly colored fiberglass eggs popped up across the Des Moines metro in 2002? There were six in Altoona, including this one in Olde Town, titled Raskrashennoye Yaitso, by Tim Earp. Thanks to the Altoona Area Historical Society for sharing this picture with us!

Remember the Viking? Jim and Connie Clark opened the Viking Inn on August 5, 1974, in the former Chez Bon restaurant. Th...
03/11/2020

Remember the Viking? Jim and Connie Clark opened the Viking Inn on August 5, 1974, in the former Chez Bon restaurant. The new name was reflective of Connie's Norwegian heritage. The couple commissioned the fiberglass Viking statue for the front of the property. The restaurant burned down on February 26, 1999. Only the statue remained after the fire. It is now located in front of Eilen & Sons Trucking in Hampton, Minnesota.

Share your photos of Altoona with us! Do you have photos from around Altoona that we could share on Facebook, or use in ...
03/09/2020

Share your photos of Altoona with us! Do you have photos from around Altoona that we could share on Facebook, or use in our museum? Send your photos to [email protected].

The Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1870. By 1909 the congregation had grown enough, that an addition (left side...
03/08/2020

The Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1870. By 1909 the congregation had grown enough, that an addition (left side) and new bell tower were added. The congregation moved to a new building in 1965. It is now home to Walnut Creek Church - Altoona.

The Altoona Centennial Parade was held in July 1968. This picture shows the parade in front of Burget Mill. What are som...
03/07/2020

The Altoona Centennial Parade was held in July 1968. This picture shows the parade in front of Burget Mill. What are some of your favorite parades you remember in Altoona? Share your pictures in the comments below!

The Lighthouse at Adventureland Park is believed to be the only ride of its kind left at an amusement park!
03/06/2020

The Lighthouse at Adventureland Park is believed to be the only ride of its kind left at an amusement park!

Iowa is the Wild Rose State. Check out those car decorations! The Wild Rose became the official Iowa State Flower in 189...
03/05/2020

Iowa is the Wild Rose State. Check out those car decorations! The Wild Rose became the official Iowa State Flower in 1897.

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Helen Blaney. Helen and her husband Jim were active community memb...
03/04/2020

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Helen Blaney. Helen and her husband Jim were active community members, and heavily involved in Olde Town Altoona. The Blaneys purchased the Porter Hardware building and converted it into a fabric store, and office for Jim's insurance business. In 2006, the City of Altoona purchased the building from the Blaneys to be used as a museum. Helen was often referred to as the “Mayor of Olde Town” and was active in the historical society, Christmas in Olde Town and the Altoona Farmer’s Market.
https://bit.ly/2PMBSl0

Georgeanne Greene, a professional clown from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus World spent the summer of 1979 wo...
03/04/2020

Georgeanne Greene, a professional clown from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus World spent the summer of 1979 working at Adventureland Park, doing face paint!

The Haines Park Hotel opened on April 24, 1903, and contained much fanfare. It had about 20 guest rooms. The hotel was l...
03/03/2020

The Haines Park Hotel opened on April 24, 1903, and contained much fanfare. It had about 20 guest rooms. The hotel was located at 403 3rd Avenue SE but later moved to its current location at 200 2nd Street SE.

Jason C. Mason, editor-publisher of The Altoona Herald from 1900-1945, is seen here with an unidentified woman. The Alto...
03/02/2020

Jason C. Mason, editor-publisher of The Altoona Herald from 1900-1945, is seen here with an unidentified woman. The Altoona Herald started when Emory English purchased the Altoona Rustler newspaper in 1890. English was the son of Altoona's first mayor, Francis Edwin English.

Olde Town has changed a lot over the years. This is a look at the north side of 2nd street SE. What businesses in Olde T...
02/29/2020

Olde Town has changed a lot over the years. This is a look at the north side of 2nd street SE. What businesses in Olde Town do you remember?

The Town Drive-In opened on May 27, 1949. It was located in what is now the Lowe’s/Target parking lot, with the screen l...
02/28/2020

The Town Drive-In opened on May 27, 1949. It was located in what is now the Lowe’s/Target parking lot, with the screen located approximately between where the Pancheros Mexican Grill and Panda Express now stand. It could accommodate 430 vehicles and had a projection screen 46 by 54 feet. It was renamed “Starlite Drive-In Theatre” in 1970.

Dreaming of summer? Adventureland opens in 65 days! Did you know the sky ride was a gift to Adventureland Park from the ...
02/27/2020

Dreaming of summer? Adventureland opens in 65 days! Did you know the sky ride was a gift to Adventureland Park from the 1974 World’s Fair held in Spokane, Washington?

Did you know that before the DSM International Airport was at its current location on Fleur Drive in Des Moines, it was ...
02/26/2020

Did you know that before the DSM International Airport was at its current location on Fleur Drive in Des Moines, it was located where Adventureland Park is today? In fact, Charles Lindberg flew his plane the "Spirit of St. Louis" to Altoona and dedicated the airport in August of 1927.

Governor Kim Reynolds has proclaimed March as Iowa History Month!
02/26/2020

Governor Kim Reynolds has proclaimed March as Iowa History Month!

It's official! Governor Kim Reynolds has proclaimed March as #IowaHistoryMonth. Whether you're a new Iowan or a lifer, there are lots of ways to celebrate. Here are a few ideas:
https://iowaculture.gov/history/IowaHistoryMonth
#iowaculture #iowahistory RAYGUNshirts Travel Iowa Iowa Culture

The "new" Altoona Public Library opened in September 1998. The old library was renovated to become a police station, whi...
02/25/2020

The "new" Altoona Public Library opened in September 1998. The old library was renovated to become a police station, which was used until December 2019.

Did you know there was once a log cabin in Haines Park? It was in the park from 1921 to 1967. Painted on the front of th...
02/24/2020

Did you know there was once a log cabin in Haines Park? It was in the park from 1921 to 1967. Painted on the front of the cabin on the chinking between the logs is “Welcome to Altoona”. The cabin sat on the Southeast side of the park.

The Altoona Kitchen Band traveled the country playing their homemade instruments and kazoos! It was started in 1967 to h...
02/23/2020

The Altoona Kitchen Band traveled the country playing their homemade instruments and kazoos! It was started in 1967 to help promote Altoona's upcoming centennial celebration. The group went on to perform for 32 years, ending with a final performance on October 24, 1999.

02/22/2020
Otter Mountain May 1981

Before Adventure Bay, Altoona was home to Otter Mountain, a short-lived "water amusement park" near Adventureland. It featured water slides, bumper boats and grand prix boats. Do you remember Otter Mountain?

It's National Ferris Wheel Day! Adventureland Park's Giant Skywheel can be seen for miles and has a spectacular light di...
02/14/2020

It's National Ferris Wheel Day! Adventureland Park's Giant Skywheel can be seen for miles and has a spectacular light display.

Altoona Area Historical Society's cover photo
02/14/2020

Altoona Area Historical Society's cover photo

Happy Valentine's Day!
02/14/2020

Happy Valentine's Day!

A piece of the old “Sugar Shack” building saved! Whether you remember is as Sugar Shack, Smitty’s Big Town, Dick’s Super...
02/05/2020

A piece of the old “Sugar Shack” building saved! Whether you remember is as Sugar Shack, Smitty’s Big Town, Dick’s Super Valu or something else, the building is now gone. Today we were able to work with the demolition crew to salvage a few bricks from the building before the last walls were demolished. What are your favorite memories of this building? #AltoonaHistory #AltoonaNow

Help us plan for Christmas in Olde Town 2020!
01/24/2020

Help us plan for Christmas in Olde Town 2020!

The Altoona Area Historical Society is hosting a Christmas in Olde Town planning meeting Tuesday, February 4th at 6pm in the Historical Building, 104 2nd Street SE. Such a fun event to be involved in!

#ChristmasInOldeTown #CommunityVolunteers #HollyJolly

We want your yearbooks! We are working on an exciting project to digitize our collection of Altoona and SEP yearbooks. H...
01/22/2020

We want your yearbooks! We are working on an exciting project to digitize our collection of Altoona and SEP yearbooks. However, we are missing several years. If you are interested in donating your yearbook, or loaning it to us to send to be digitized, please let us know. Below are the yearbooks we are missing.

Altoona High School: 1952, 1953, 1964
Southeast Polk High School: 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

If you would like to donate a yearbook, but we already have a copy, we do accept duplicates.

Longtime Altoona resident Robert Woodward passed away Thursday. He was a journalism professor at Drake, and owned the hi...
01/03/2020

Longtime Altoona resident Robert Woodward passed away Thursday. He was a journalism professor at Drake, and owned the historic Haines house for more than 40 years.

Professor Robert Woodward, a beloved faculty member who taught in the Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 1972-2004, has died, his family announced.

Daughter Meredith Woodward King, a Drake SJMC graduate, shared on Facebook: “In the last few months of his life, he shared many stories with me about his life growing up in Rodney, Iowa, and visiting the Moranville side of his family in Jefferson, Iowa. He also recalled his days as an editor on the national/international desk at The Washington Star, during one of most incredible times in journalism and in our nation's history: the early 1960s through 1972. Over the past months, he continued to watch the news as it unfolded in Washington.

“He died peacefully, beside my mother, yesterday morning, Jan. 2, watching the news on TV.”

Professor Woodward taught generations of SJMC students journalism history, reporting and editing. He also taught Honors classes and was longtime Times-Delphic adviser. He was a political junkie, an early and enthusiastic explorer of the Internet world, and a Monarch butterfly expert. Known affectionately as “Woody” by his students, Woodward won the University’s top teaching and advising honors, and received the Drake Medal of Service in 2006.

Altoona Arts and Culture
01/02/2020

Altoona Arts and Culture

Did you lose your camera filters while taking pictures near our holiday selfie wall outside of CAP Theatre? If so, send us a message so we can get them back to you!

2019 was a year to remember! Thank you for your support, and we look forward to many more exciting events and projects i...
01/01/2020

2019 was a year to remember! Thank you for your support, and we look forward to many more exciting events and projects in 2020. Remember now is the time to renew your membership!

Are you still looking for the perfect gift? Our book, "Rising to New Heights: 150 Years of Altoona History" is now 20% o...
12/20/2019

Are you still looking for the perfect gift? Our book, "Rising to New Heights: 150 Years of Altoona History" is now 20% off the original price, through the end of the year! You can pick up your copy at Burget Mill, Hidden Treasures Gifts and Altoona Area Chamber of Commerce!

12/10/2019

Join us for our annual holiday potluck at the museum as we celebrate the holidays and all we have accomplished in 2019! Are you interested in getting involved? This is a great event to learn more about our organization and how you can get involved!

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104 2nd St SE
Altoona, IA
50009

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Comments

Does anyone have any pictures of the floral shop and aqualand (I think) shop was on 8th by WalMart
Trying to contact you. No response from the e mail address I found. No phone response. Please contact me at my e mail address [email protected] Thank you
I'm waiting for you to send my recipe book!
Seeking Host Families for Semester Long or Academic Year Long Programs Interested in learning about different cultures? Want to learn a new recipe or two? Want a new member of your family? Share your life with an international student and become a host family. STS Foundation, has students from all around the world including Italy, Denmark, Germany, France, China and more. If you are interested in hosting an international student, and are located in the Altoona area, please message me for more information. Claire Yocom Local Coordinator STS Foundation
Totally loving your cover page, thanks Alex.
I'm thankful I grew up in Altoona from 1937 to 1948. I graduated from the OLD Altoona school iin 1948 at age 16. Porter Hardware, now the museum as well as Burget Mill, the two churches and a small little main street are forever etched in my mind and memory. I was BEFORE school buses, year books, hot lunch program and we had SIX MAN FOOTBALL. memories of our little town and the great people who populated it are priceless. See you next weekend at the 150th celebration.
Van Harden of WHO Radio is wondering if there is a plaque honoring John C. Houbolt anywhere in Altoona.
What was the name of the old grocery store where sugar shack is now?
From 1959 Altoona high School year book.
I am writing the biography of my grandmother Florence Kelly and need a photo of the LINGENFELTER HOTEL in Altoona from the early 1900s. Any hope of finding one?
Hey guys. We stopped by but you were closed. Seems like the posted hours online are incorrect.