The Pennsylvania Railroad was incorporated in 1846 and immediately began the task of finding an all-rail route to connect Philadelphia with Pittsburgh. The Pennsylvania Railroad surveyed possible routes and arrived on a valley floor at the base of the Allegheny Mountains in 1849 that was primarily occupied by the David Robeson farm. As people arrived for employment opportunities, the railroad company purchased the Robeson farm, laid out the plan of a town, and named it Altoona. Shops were established, and crafts were needed as locomotive and car design and building evolved, all with increasing population and prosperity. Altoona grew from farmland to 75,000 people in 75 years.
About the Author
David W. Seidel is a founding member of Railroaders Memorial Museum, a founding officer and chapter historian of the Horseshoe Curve Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, and a member of the Blair County Historical Society, the Blair County Genealogical Society, and the Altoona-Blair County Photographic Society. He is the coauthor of Altoona and Logan Valley Electric Railway with Leonard E. Alwine and author of Horseshoe Curve.