Canals never made it over the Allegheny Mountains totally. The final passage was left to railroads. If rails were needed for the %Lcanal boats on that section, then it was only a short time before locomotives were built strong enough to put the canal boats out of business for good. The first rail tunnel in America had been built just east of...more
The Jaffa Shrine or Jaffa Mosque on Broad Street is not an Islamic religious institution, rather it is a branch headquarters for the fraternal Masonic organization called the Shriners of North America, more specifically the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. The Shriners claim some 375,000 members in 191 US, Canadian, Mexican,...more
The Baker Mansion was built in 1846 near the Allegheny Furnace. It has thirty-two rooms filled with various American Indian and railroad artifacts and is the home of the Blair County Historical Society. Allegheny Furnace was constructed in 1811. This was one of the first iron furnaces in the region, and though it exploded and was decommissioned,...more
Altoona's main street is Eleventh Avenue. While one a bustling commercial district, it has fallen by the wayside in the past 50 years. With recent revitalization efforts, downtown Altoona is again showing promise. One of the newly developed areas along Eleventh Avenue is Heritage Park Plaza, site of murals, concerts, picnics, and farmers markets....more
Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament dominates the skyline over Altoona and is visible from miles away, such as from I-99. This Roman Catholic cathedral was built from September 17, 1924 to November 13, 1960 in a Baroque style with a neoclassic dome. The building resembles many state capitals I've seen throughout America.more
Right next to the Allegheny and Gallitzin Tunnels, the local folks have established a small park and museum devoted to the rail lines and tunnels that pierce through the crest of the Allegheny Mountains. There is a restored 1943 Pennsylvania Railroad caboose that you can climb up into while listening to rail traffic radio calls. Driving through the...more
This famous railway curve was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1854 to help trains get up and over the Allegheny Mountains of central Pennsylvania. The curve covers about 220 degrees and has been in continuous use since its inception with two to four - three today - tracks running. A potential weak spot in the American transportation system,...more
This inn was built for travelers on the Portage Railway and was named for its owners, Sam and Jean Lemon. The inn was very successful while the railway operated. Located atop the summit of the railway, it is just across from the Engine House 6. Exhibits contained within describe the inn's history and give you some idea as to what a traveler might...more
Bridges are usually at right angles to roads when they cross them. Here, a local main road crossed the rails at an angle less than 90 degrees. The rails could not be anything other than straight for the incline plane to operate so the answer was to twist the road over the rail. This was done by twisting the bridge as it crossed the rails. To do...more
This building is the heart of the Park. It is a reconstruction of the buildings within which the steam engines responsible for the power to run the incline planes were housed. Canal boats were made so that they could be split into sections and these were then put onto separate rail cars at either Johnstown (west end) or Hollidaysburg (east end)....more
The introductory movie and series of displays go a long ways towards explaining how the inclined plane rail system worked to pull canal boats over the crest of the Allegheny Mountains. Included is a period locomotive which was used in combination with the inclined plane to help control the speed of the canal boats - as opposed to actually pulling...more
World Famous Horseshoe Curve: How to get a railroad train up and over a mountain.Constructed by hand at the foot of the Allegheny Mountains, the world famous Horseshor Curve is an engineering marvel that was completed in 1854.Visitors will soon have a better view of trains rounding the world famous curve and a better environment to enjoy their...more
140 Stroehman Drive, I-99 and Pine Croft Exit, Altoona, Pennsylvania, 16601, United States
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3306 Pleasant Valley Blvd, Altoona, PA 16602
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180 Charlotte Dr, Altoona, PA 16601
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Located to the west of town is Horseshoe Curve. Here, the Pennsylvania Railroad created a ramp over the Allegheny Mountains. Without this long curving route, trains can crawl to the top of the mountain. Without it, the slope would be to step for steel wheels on steel rails.
A marvel, to see, only when you understand the work it too to create this crossing.
Access is also available to those in a wheelchair or using a walker. There is an incline railroad from the museum to the overview. It runs every half hour on the hour and half hour.