Baker Mansion Lecture Series February through October FREE - Donations Accepted
Explore a Wide Variety of Historical Topics with an Engaging Lineup of Knowledgeable Speakers . . . The Blair County Historical Society is pleased to present its inaugural lecture series at the Baker Mansion History Museum. The talks take place in the lecture room in the basement level of the Mansion. All talks are free and open to the public, although donations are gratefully accepted. All talks take place at 7pm. Unless occurring in observance of a special anniversary, all presentations take place on the fourth Wednesday of each month.
February 17 – Joseph DeFrancesco Death in the Alleghenies: The 70th anniversary of the Wreck of the Red Arrow The February 1947 train wreck of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Red Arrow passenger train was one of the deadliest and most publicized disasters in the region’s history. In this visual presentation, learn about the passengers and rescuers seven decades later.
March 22 – Michael Farrow Altoona’s Neighborhoods: Little Italy and Dutch Hill Visit two of Altoona’s most popular neighborhoods via a captivating photographic journey. Dr. Michael Farrow will talk about the homes, churches, theatres, breweries, and other businesses in relation to their historic significance in two of the city’s most thriving ethnic enclaves in the early 20th century.
April 6 – James Lowe Making the World Safe for Democracy: A Centennial Review of the U.S. in WWI. Join Altoona Area High School history teacher and Blair County Historical Society vice president James Lowe for a special presentation on America’s efforts in the First World War. This talk takes places on the 100th anniversary of America’s declaration of war.
April 26 – Judith Redline Coopey - Book Signing to Follow Dig or Die: A WWI Autobiographical Novel In the 1930s, Altoona WWI veteran Kenneth Redline wrote an unpublished novel based upon his experiences in the Great War. A century after that conflict, his daughter, author Judith Redline Coopey, has published his work. Dig or Die is a riveting chronology of the major battles fought by the first American unit to arrive in France.
May 24 – Robert Jeschonek - Book Signing to Follow The Glory of Gable’s: Revisiting Altoona’s Iconic Department Store Once upon a department store, Gable’s was the place to shop, eat, meet, and be seen in downtown Altoona, Pennsylvania. Now, the classic store has come back to life in the pages of this one-of-a-kind book. Join author Robert Jeschonek for a special presentation on the store and its colorful past.
June 28 – Jim Fitch Canoe Creek State Park: 1900 - 1940 Join Jim Fitch for a unique look into the historical and natural evolution of Canoe Creek State Park in Blair County. Learn how the site was utilized for railroading, lumbering, mining, and kiln operations throughout the first half of the 20th century. Jim is highly involved in The Friends of Canoe Creek, a group dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of this unique natural landmark.
July 26 – Brady Crytzer - Book Signing to Follow War in the Peaceable Kingdom: The Kittanning Raid of 1756 In the fall of 1756, the colony of Pennsylvania launched the first military expedition in its history. At the intersection of Indian war, global imperialism, ethnic tensions and political intrigue, the Kittanning Raid remains a watershed moment in the history of Colonial America.
August 23 – Elaine Conrad Exploring Wopsy: A Visual Journey This presentation will be a pictorial history of the Wopsononock Resort and the Railroad from 1889-1919. Included will be many rare and seldom seen vintage images and local newspaper accounts of this Blair County story.
September 27 – Doug Bosley Freedom on the Rails: The Allegheny Portage Railroad's Role in the Underground Railroad. Park Ranger Doug Bosley will take a look at the Portage Railroad’s use as an escape route for runaway slaves. This will include an examination of the Jacob Green incident that nearly led to a civil war between Pennsylvania and Virginia, starting in Hollidaysburg in 1855.
October 25 - Michael Allison White Ladies, Hairy Beasts and Things That Go Bump in the Night There are many legends and folktales in Pennsylvania, some of which date back to the Colonial era, but most are much older. In this talk we will examine some of these mysteries, their possible origins, and their unique cultural legacies. This talk makes for a timely and lively presentation for the Halloween season!
Easter Egg Hunt at Baker Mansion Coming April 2017
Civil War Weekend at Royer Mansion May 6-7, 2017
Join the Blair County Historical Society for an interactive return to the 1860s as the Royer Mansion Civil War Weekend returns to the Cove once more! Come view encampments by Federal and Confederate living historians set within a unique 19th century rural environment. Built in 1815, Royer Mansion soon after became the home of a local iron-producing family which symbolized the rise of industrialization in Pennsylvania. The impressive stone home and grounds will be ushered back to the tumultuous days of the American Civil War as Pennsylvanians embraced themselves for the horrific potentials of Confederate invasion in 1863.
The full weekend of events (schedule to be released soon) will include military tactical demonstrations at 2pm both days, period evening music, a Saturday night barbecue, youth activities, and special presentations by historians. Special amenities for participating reenactors include free firewood, 24-hour restrooms, and a complimentary meal at the barbecue. The event venue serves well for both home front and military impressions. Reenactors interested in attending can complete the registration here and view the accompanying PowerPoint presentation on the event. We appreciate your talents and support!
World War II Victory Weekend Coming June 2017
Mansion Photo Courtesy Chris Letherland.
Concerts on the Lawn at Baker Mansion Coming Summer 2017
Baker Boulevard Community Yard Sale Coming August 2017
Vintage Car Cruise-In at Baker Mansion Coming Fall 2017
Baker Mansion History Museum Bus Tour Returning Fall 2017
Mansion Photo Courtesy Chris Letherland.
Ghost Hunts at Baker Mansion Coming in October 2017
Ghostly Tours at Baker Mansion Returning in October 2017
Annual Society Dinner and Awards Ceremony November 2017
Heritage Holidays Tours Returning December 2017
Event Photo Gallery
Blair County Historical Society Physical Site: Baker Mansion 3419 Oak Lane Altoona, PA 16602