Places That Aren’t Around Anymore: Downtown Altoona

Whenever I get together with family and friends, we often end up reminiscing about the good old days, in my case the 1970s and 80s.

Many of the places we talk about are now longer around, either they were torn down, moved or just closed for business.

I thought it would be fun to put together a list of businesses or landmarks that are now nothing but a memory. We’ll start out with memories of Downtown Altoona:

  • Abraham’s (didn’t they sell records?)
  • The Altoona Mirror
  • Altoona Train Station trailer (used to be next to the tracks)
  • Bon Ton (between Kaufman’s and Meyer Jonasson, torn down)
  • Burger Chef (now its an ugly black medical building)
  • Downtowne Drug
  • Ford Music Store
  • Gable’s Department Store
  • George’s Bar
  • The Hands of Man (I believe they sold incense and drug paraphernalia)
  • Kaufman’s (torn down, now a park)
  • McCrory’s (empty condemned building?)
  • Meyer Jonasson (now Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence)
  • Mid-State Bank (12th Street and 11th Avenue locations)
  • Penn Furniture
  • The Penn Alto Hotel
  • Playhouse Theatre (now a Penn State facility)
  • Revco (was later a flower shop, now vacant)
  • Russell Music
  • Schulman’s Sporting Goods (the home of Hymie!)
  • Sheetz Kwik Shopper (Were there 3 Sheetz stores downtown simultaneously?)
  • Store-of-the-Month (what I call the corner of 11th Avenue and 13th Street, I think it’s a tattoo parlor now)
  • Town House Motel (now the Center for Nursing Care)
  • Wolf Furniture (now Wolf Court apartments)
  • Woolworth’s (now an empty lot)
  • WRTA Radio (first in the basement of the Penn Alto, later in a new building on 12th Avenue)
  • Young Men’s Shop

You can also include the Station Mall, which opened back in the 70s. I remember A&P, The Book Store, Brother’s Pizza, Dairy Queen, Gardner’s Candies, Hill’s Department Store, McDonald’s (railroad motif), Radio Shack, Revco, Sambo’s Restaurant (later renamed No Place Like Sams?) and the State Store (Wines & Spirits). Somewhere along the line they had a Cosmopolitan Club women’s gym too.

I’m sure I’m missing quite a few places downtown and at the mall. Feel free to share your memories and stay tuned for future columns about other Places That Aren’t Around Anymore.

Welcome to the new Altoona DOT org

I have been kicking around some ideas for this website for a while now, aiming to do something different and fun.

The new AltoonaDOTorg’s tagline is Photos, Memories & More! (the exclamation point adds excitement, doesn’t it?) The primary mission of this site is to be an entertaining and informative place to share photos and memories of growing up here in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Your comments and suggestions are always welcomed!

The “& More!” part of our site is what helps pay the bills. Your support of our advertisers and sponsors makes all of this possible…and is greatly appreciated.

Thanks for visiting!