Thursday, November 29, 2007

Altoona, Pennsylvania -- Zip Code 16602

Back when I was a kid growing up and running around my hometown of York, Pennsylvania, I knew almost every street and back alley in the town. Some of the most interesting places to see were the building and warehouse areas that set next to the railroad tracks. This week's blog is like a trip back into my life in the mid to late 1950's (mid century modern). Only now I am in my 60's and still act like a kid of 12 or 13. All of the photographs this week were shot in Altoona, PA. Most were shot between 17th and 25th Streets between North Branch Avenue and Ninth Avenue.

Altoona, Pennsylvania, as seen from the parking lot of Best Buy.

Looking at the back of the James E. Van Zandt Veterans VA Medical Center located on Pleasant Valley Boulevard.

Once a nice looking building along the main line of railroad tracks that run thru Altoona, is the Alto Tower. Unfortunately, today the building is just another eye sore of interest only to rail fans.

Norfork Southern 9774 leading a line of tanker cars past the Alto Tower heading east.

For Vets Field, take the next right.

Once a beer distributor. Once a tent maker. Now abandoned.

I've always said that if I ever had to live in the city again, it would only be in an old warehouse next to the railroad tracks. This building looks like home to me!

The next six photographs were taken around the same building. The company makes steel girders.

Along the main line.

Wall of glass and brick.

American Graffiti, an Art Form

Some people consider graffiti as being destructive but I view it as art. This and the next two pictures are examples of an art form that are well beyond my capabilities. The choice of colors and the execution say volumes for the talent of unknown and unheralded intercity artists.

This painting is called "Postcard from Altoona" and it is in downtown Altoona, PA.

Altoona Railroaders Museum

Silver Chief was created by Rob Fisher


Anonymous said...

HEY! Glad you liked my paintings :) Not many people in our area are as appreciative of graffiti as an artform. Plenty more to see at

Anonymous said...

Was just passing through and wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed your blog. Your photographs are beautiful.

Vanna said...

Thanks for writing this.

Chris240 said...

The pointy building beside the tracks
that you would like to call home is
an AA Club, stop on in and we will
give you some coffee. I was sitting
on this back porch just today and
drank some.

Anonymous said...

Good - show some more graffifi and tags to encourage the little bastards like gone84 and nitro.

You're right about being in your 60's and acting like a 12 or 13 year old. Why don't you grow up and delete the 'tag art' references instead of feeding the egos of the art trolls like gone84.

BTW, your pictures are pedestrian.

Brenda R./B. said...

You are a light in the world! I thank you for your Blog 'started out as a way to connect friends and family who no longer live in the area with their hometowns'; I was born & raised in Altoona for 25 years- then moved away to get married & get a good job, start a family, etc. I live in Northeast PA near Scranton now- but my heart- a BIG one- is always here in Altoona. Not a day goes by that I don't think about it- and it brought me comfort to see these photos! Thanks so much.