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Altoona, Pennsylvania

From Academic Kids

Altoona is a city located in Blair County, Pennsylvania. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 49,523.

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Map of Altoona and some surrounding areas
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Plaza and clock in the centre of downtown Altoona
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Cathedral_of_the_Blessed_Sacrament.jpg
Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

As of 2004, Tom (Kent) Martin is Altoona's mayor.

Contents

History

A major railroad town, Altoona was founded by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1849 as the site for a construction complex. It was incorporated as a borough in 1854. The town grew rapidly in the late 19th century, its population approximately 2,000 in '54, 10,000 in '70, and 20,000 in '80.

The demand for locomotives during the Civil War stimulated much of this growth, and by the later years of the war Altoona was known as a valuable city for the North. It was considered by Confederate General Robert E. Lee as a target during the Army of Northern Virginia's mid-1863 entry into Pennsylvania, before being repelled at the Battle of Gettysburg. Also notable is the Union's War Governors' Conference, held at Altoona's Logan House.

Notable is the Horseshoe Curve, a famous curved section of track owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad, now a tourist attraction and National Historic Landmark, and its funicular. The Curve was used to raise trains to a sufficient altitude to cross the Allegheny Ridge to the west, beyond which was the steel town of Pittsburgh and the rest of the western United States. The Horseshoe Curve, because of it being the industrial link to the western U.S., was a primary target of eight Nazi saboteurs whom infiltrated the United States early in the war (1942) by being dropped off by Kriegsmarine U-Boats. These spies were of German heritage and were chosen because of their having lived in the U.S. for so long. The group's leader became unnerved by the plot to destroy military and civilian targets (especially Jewish businesses) and turned in everyone in his team. He was the only one to escape execution. The team would arguably have succeeded (or caused considerable damage) had he not turned them in, for the FBI had clues given to them by a Coast Guard watchman, but had no leads and no suspects early on.

In the early 20th century, the Railroad's Altoona Works complex employed at its peak some 15,000 people and covered three miles (5 km) in length, 218 acres (880,000 m²) of yards and 37 acres (150,000 m²) of indoor workshop floor space in 122 buildings. The PRR built many of its own locomotives at the Works, some 7,873 in all, the last being constructed in 1946. Things began to decline steadily from that point, and most of the plant is now long gone.

Altoona is also one of the dual seats of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown as the location of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, which was made a cathedral and rechristened from St. John's Church in 1851.

In 2000, Altoona became sister cities with St. Pölten, Austria.

Geography

Altoona is located at 40°30'39" North, 78°23'59" West (40.510720, -78.399758)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.3 km² (9.8 mi²). 25.3 km² (9.8 mi²) of it is land and none of the area is covered with water.

Demographics

As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 49,523 people, 20,059 households, and 12,576 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,957.1/km² (5,069.7/mi²). There are 21,681 housing units at an average density of 856.8/km² (2,219.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 96.01% White, 2.49% African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.24% from other races, and 0.83% from two or more races. 0.74% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 20,059 households out of which 28.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% are married couples living together, 13.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 37.3% are non-families. 31.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 14.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.37 and the average family size is 2.98.

In the city the population is spread out with 22.9% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 37 years. For every 100 females there are 88.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $28,248, and the median income for a family is $36,758. Males have a median income of $28,851 versus $21,242 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,213. 17.7% of the population and 12.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 24.1% of those under the age of 18 and 9.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

External links

Template:Mapit-US-cityscale


Regions of Pennsylvania Flag of Pennsylvania
Coal Region | Lehigh Valley | Northern Tier | Northwest Region | Pennsylvania Dutch Country | Laurel Highlands | The Poconos | Susquehanna Valley
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Allentown | Altoona | Bethel Park | Bethlehem | Chester | Erie | Harrisburg | Lancaster | Levittown | Mount Lebanon | New Cumberland | Norristown | Penn Hills | Philadelphia | Pittsburgh | Reading | Scranton | State College | Wilkes-Barre
Counties
Adams | Allegheny |Armstrong | Beaver | Bedford | Berks | Blair | Bradford | Bucks | Butler | Cambria | Cameron | Carbon | Centre | Chester | Clarion | Clearfield | Clinton | Columbia | Crawford | Cumberland | Dauphin | Delaware | Elk | Erie | Fayette | Forest | Franklin | Fulton | Greene | Huntingdon | Indiana | Jefferson | Juniata | Lackawanna | Lancaster | Lawrence | Lebanon | Lehigh | Luzerne | Lycoming | McKean | Mercer | Mifflin | Monroe | Montgomery | Montour | Northampton | Northumberland | Perry | Philadelphia | Pike | Potter | Schuylkill | Snyder | Somerset | Sullivan | Susquehanna | Tioga | Union | Venango | Warren | Washington | Wayne | Westmoreland | Wyoming | York

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