About Altoona Iowa
History of Altoona Iowa
Anthony Yant first settled in what is now Altoona in 1854, the same year that Gilbert T. Taylor settled there. The land was originally surveyed in 1847 and put up for sale by the US government in 1848, but it took six years to sell. After many different sales between different families, the Davis family ended up with the land on February 1, 1868.
The Davises hired surveyor Juian B. Bausman to lay out the city for them. He is also credited for giving the city the current name. Altoona is named for the Latin word for “high,” altus, after surveyor Julian B. Bausman discovered that Altoona was the highest point on the Des Moines Valley Railroad between Des Moines and Keokuk.
The plot was recorded on July 30, 1868, and the Post office opened the next day. When the Rock Island Railroad came to Altoona in September of that year, they referred to Altoona as Yant, the city’s original name.
Altoona was incorporated as a city on March 11, 1876.
In addition to serving as Altoona’s first mayor, Emory English was the town doctor. After the great train crash of 1877, English was the first doctor on the scene.
Altoona’s second mayor Thomas Haines was one of the best known mayors of Altoona. Haines operated the T.E. Haines tile and brick company. Haines is best known for the land he donated to the City of Altoona to be used as a city park, which is known as Haines Park.
The only other mayor of Altoona to have a park dedicated to him is Sam Wise. Wise brought advanced thinking by paving the streets of Altoona, building a sewer system that was advanced for its time and allowed for future expansion. His dedication to Altoona’s parks led to the city’s sports complex being named the “Sam Wise Youth Complex.”
By the turn of the 20th century, Altoona could almost be classified as a coal camp. United Mine Workers of America Local 407 was organized in Altoona in 1897, and by 1902, it had 61 members. This was close to 20% of the town’s population at the time.
On May 5, 2003, the Altoona City Council recognized the Altoona Area Historical Society as the City’s official organization to collect, secure, and preserve the artifacts and records of the City of Altoona and surrounding areas.
In 2011 the Altoona Area Historical Society started major renovation work on interior of Altoona’s oldest building. The building is now a museum open to the public. Museum hours are the second and fourth Sunday of every month from 2-4 pm. The museum is also open by appointment by contacting the Historical Society.
In 2013, construction began for a new Facebook data center. Facebook asked local company RPM Access to build and operate a wind farm that will put more energy into the system than the data center will pull out.
In 2014, plans were announced for a movie theater and an outlet mall. Breaking ground for the movie theater began in 2014 while mall construction began in 2015. In February 2016, the theater Cinemark Altoona opened to universal acclaim. In October 2017, Outlets of Des Moines held their grand opening.
Altoona Iowa Chamber of Commerce
The Altoona Area Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization supported by the business community and managed by a Board of Directors, elected by the Chamber’s membership.
As a non-profit organization, the Chamber acts as the spokesperson for the business and professional community and translates into action by the volunteer board of directors. The only significant resources are the time, skills and financial support of its members.
The Altoona Area Chamber partners with the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Greater Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau, Eastern Polk Regional Development Corporation and the City of Altoona to preserve and strengthen a healthy business and tourism environment for the benefit of our members, the community and visitors we serve.
Altoona Iowa Data
|Median resident age:||34.6 years|
|Iowa median age:||38.0 years|
Estimated per capita income in 2016: $33,872 (it was $20,336 in 2000)
Estimated median house or condo value in 2016: $179,265 (it was $113,300 in 2000)
Mean prices in 2016: All housing units: $200,661; Detached houses: $202,116; Townhouses or other attached units: $239,460; In 2-unit structures: $134,094; In 3-to-4-unit structures: $93,330; In 5-or-more-unit structures: $161,265; Mobile homes: $54,390