Front of the theater
|Address||1208 12th Avenue
|Owner||Blair County Arts Foundation|
|Designation||National Register of Historic Places|
|Opened||February 15, 1906|
|Location||1208 12th Ave., Altoona, Pennsylvania|
|Area||less than one acre|
|Architectural style||Beaux Arts|
|NRHP Reference #||73001592|
|Added to NRHP||April 11, 1973|
|Years active||1906 – present|
The Mishler Theatre is a Beaux-Arts stage and movie theater located at 1208 Twelfth Avenue in Altoona, Pennsylvania. It was designed by Albert E. Westover and built by local theatre owner and manager Isaac Charles Mishler and opened on February 15, 1906. Nine months later, the neighboring Rothert building caught fire, which quickly spread to the theater, destroying the interior. The theater was rebuilt and re-opened in 1907.
After disuse in the mid-20th century, the theatre was considered for demolition in 1965. In response, the Altoona Community Theatre and the Blair County Arts Foundation purchased it and began renovation. The theatre reopened in 1969 for a performance of The Sound of Music.
Early renovation included replacement of the seats and the lobby's chandelier, the new one purchased in 1970 at a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer auction. Major structural, plumbing, and electrical work began in the early 1990s. At the most recent estimate, the restoration has cost approximately 1.8 million dollars.
The theater is not only notable for its historical significance, but has received much attention for its supposed hauntings over the past few decades. The site has become a popular haunted attraction for paranormal enthusiasts. It gathers so much attention that it was paid a visit by the cable television show Ghost Hunters. In 2004, the show visited Altoona to visit two reportedly haunted locations: the Mishler Theatre and the Altoona Railroaders Museum. The investigators on the broadcast note that they were informed of the popular local legend that Mr. Isaac Mishler’s ghost is often seen walking throughout the theater on the catwalk and near his office with a cigar in his mouth. However, they concluded that the site not haunted, based on their standards.
The theater hosts numerous productions every year; including local productions, traveling productions, various recitals, weddings, and a children's theatre series.
- National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "Marker Details: Charles Mishler", ExplorePAHistory.com.
- "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania" (Searchable database). CRGIS: Cultural Resources Geographic Information System. Note: This includes Eleanore H. Steckman and William K. Watson (August 1972). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Mishler Theatre" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-11-03.
- "A Brief History", the Altoona Community Theatre.
- BCAF's photo gallery of the Mishler Theatre.
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. PA-5512, "Mishler Theatre, 1208 Twelfth Avenue, Altoona, Blair County, PA", 2 photos, 7 data pages, 1 photo caption page
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