The New Student's Reference Work/Altoona
Altoo'na is in Blair County, Pennsylvania, and is situated at the eastern base of the Allegheny Mountains, 1,168 feet above the level of the sea. The surrounding country is rioted for its scenic beauty. A few miles west is the famous Horseshoe Bend; several miles north is Wopsononoc Mountain, from whose summit there is spread before the eye a panoramic view of the Blue Juniata; and to the east is Sinking Valley, with its interesting natural curiosities.
In the year 1849, the time at which it may be said Altoona was founded, the officers of the Pennsylvania Railroad company selected the site of the city for the location of their principal workshops. Later the testing department, laboratories and offices were removed to the city, and at present the car and engine manufactories are the most extensive of the kind in the world. Other prominent industries are silk mills and glass works. Altoona is the terminus of a division of the main line of the Pennsylvania railroad, and passengers have the convenience of 50 daily trains. Branch roads extend south and southeast.
In the summer of 1858, the Altoona Mechanics' Library and Reading Room Association was organized. It has now about 40,000 volumes on its shelves. The public schools have 221 teachers with an enrollment of 8,000 pupils. The high school has 24 teachers and a four years' course of study, divided into five departments, namely, literary, scientific, commercial, general and industrial. The Pennsylvania Railroad company has donated to this school one of the most complete equipments for wood working, forge, foundry and metal machinery to be found in the country, and the High School building was erected at a cost of half a million dollars. The parochial schools have an enrollment of about 2,000 pupils. The estimated value of public school property is $500,000. Population, 52,127.