The Altoona Area Historical Museum is the oldest structure in Altoona. It was built during the 1870s by R. A. Crawford and was the home of Crawford’s store, the first Altoona Post Office, and a bank. The building was constructed using brick manufactured by the Haines Brick and Tile Company, which was owned by Thomas Haines, one of Altoona’s early city leaders. Jess Porter purchased the building and opened a hardware business in 1919.
Former Altoona residents Helen and Jim Blaney purchased the Old Porter Hardware building in 1982. While operating Back Door Fabrics and an insurance agency at the location, the Blaneys worked to preserve the building in its original state. Still intact are a hand-operated elevator, original wood floors and display cases, and more than 400 drawers made from ammunition cases.
In December of 2006, the City of Altoona purchased the Old Porter Hardware building to use as a historical center. Since then, the Altoona Area Historical Society has worked to preserve and renovate the building. The Society operates a museum in the building that is open from 2 – 4 p.m. on the second and fourth Sunday of every month or by appointment.
The Altoona Area Historical Society meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month at the museum. For more information about the Altoona Area Historical Society, contact Tim or Diane Burget at 967-4815.