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Treasures of Altoona

Hidden gems, historic landmarks andepic stories of Altoona, Iowa.

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We regularly update this page with info on Altoona’s landmarks. Follow Visit Altoona on social to stay up to date!

Altoona Airport (Des Moines Aviation Park)

Altoona Airport (Des Moines Aviation Park)

The Des Moines Aviation Park in Altoona had a short-lived but rich history that helped advance Iowa’s aviation industry. When it was founded in 1926, it became Iowa’s first municipal airport, containing the state’s very first airline hangar!

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Stagecoach Route Marker

Stagecoach Route Marker

One winter evening in 1857, as a snowstorm pummeled Iowa, a lone stagecoach crossed the Little Four Mile Creek in Altoona, carrying Iowa’s greatest treasurers. It was a long, exhausting journey from Iowa City to Des Moines. But, when the drivers saw Altoona, they breathed a sigh of relief. Finally! They had nearly arrived. But not quite….

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Korean / Vietnam Memorial

Korean / Vietnam Memorial

One day, back in 2001, Doug Teuber was driving through Altoona when he hit the brakes. There, resting in someone’s front yard like a sleeping giant, was a stone weighing approximately 16 tons. Just what he needed. Years later, the rock became the centerpiece of a war memorial which now includes a fountain, a mural, four bronze statues representing each service branch, and nods to the veterans of several American wars.

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Coal Mine Site

Coal Mine Site

In 1882, at a time when coal was the country’s primary source of energy, the Altoona Coal and Mining Company was born. The business started as a rather small operation—it had three employees, who were also the owners. But, as these men dug deeper and deeper below the surface of Altoona, they discovered a large vein of black gold.

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Veterans Memorial A-7D Jet Display

Veterans Memorial A-7D Jet Display

Reading about history is one thing. But when you get out and experience it yourself – when you catch a glimpse of its true scale and scope – the past has a way of coming to life. Head to the corner of 8th Avenue & 8th Street and you’ll find yourself transported back in time as you stand in the shadow of an authentic Corsair II: a Vietnam-era fighter plane.

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The Great Train Wreck of 1877 Monument

The Great Train Wreck of 1877 Monument

On the afternoon of August 29th, 1877, thousands descended on Altoona to see the aftermath of that morning’s train wreck. Word had traveled lightning-fast across the Des Moines Metro; people were saying this was the greatest rail accident the area had ever seen.

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