By: Nick Gilmartin, Cassie Kramer, Serenity Biren, and Kira Thiede
In 1870 a railroad was built through what is now Altoona. In 1881, a terminal was built where Altoona is now because of overcrowding in the Eau Claire Terminal. This was originally planned to be in Fall Creek, but was changed to the Altoona location. In 1882, people started moving to East Eau Claire. There was originally about 10 homes and a post office. When the population hit 215, the name of East Eau Claire was changed to Altoona. By 1886, there were many expensive buildings in the town, such as roller skating rinks, hotels, and drug stores. In 1887 Altoona was officially named a city.
Sadly, in 1888 many fires caused lots of damage to the city, but many of the buildings that were burned down were rebuilt. By 1890, the population was 805, and though it stayed in the low 800s/high 700’s for many years, the population exploded by 1930. In 1911, the Altoona dam was destroyed due to flooding. Construction of Altoona High School started in 1913 after 42 eighth graders graduated, and in 1915, the first student graduated from Altoona High. Altoona Public School was expanded in 1922, adding things such as a gymnasium.
In 1935, the city installed a sanitary sewer system, and this was running by 1936. From 1937-1938, the dam was rebuilt, and the newly named Altoona Lake was filled in 1939. By 1940, the population was 123, and in 1960 the population hit 2114! In 1972 the population grew to 3000, and by 1983 the population had passed 5000! In 1987 Centennial Park opened.
The city of Altoona is a town in process! We are building lots of new things, but we have a lot already. We have schools, city parks, ball parks, and lots of neighborhoods. We have an elementary, middle school, and high school. There are also many businesses being built. Altoona is known as the “Railroaders” because there are railroads and many trains in Altoona. We have an Altoona Family Restaurant too. Altoona sure is a growing town. We love Altoona!!
The City of Altoona has a large future to offer. Even in the present, much land is being developed into something a whole lot bigger. A hospital is being built, many new subdivisions erected, and the town is growing. River Prairie will be expanded in the future, therefore developing a whole new section of Altoona. In the future, there will be new parks, more homes, and recreational venues in Altoona. There will be many new opportunities for the citizens of Altoona to try and experiment with. We will together introduce many new activities and places to carry them out for our town. The future is bright with new ideas and the learning of others.
City of Altoona