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Penn State Altoona historical video collection

Identifier: 00003-Altoona

Scope and Contents

This collection contains videos pertaining to Mary Hawthorne, Ted Holtzinger, Robert E. Eiche, Athleen Stere, Edwin Zoller, Edith Davis Eve Chapel, Penn State Altoona's Dog of War, Slep and Oak Halls, and general overall history of Penn State Altoona.


  • Digitized: 2020-2021

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies of original materials may be made available for research purposes at the discretion of the Robert E. Eiche Library. Photocopies or reproductions of original materials may be subject to fees as outlined by the Pennsylvania State University Libraries reproduction policies.

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Patrons seeking advice on the availability of unpublished materials for publication should consult relevant copyright law and laws of libel.

Custodial History

All content was complied, arranged, and created by Daniel Thacker and Gale Biddle.

Processing Information

Material created by Daniel Thacker and Gale Biddle. Copyright owned by Penn State University. Majority of pictures and articles were obtained from the Penn State Altoona Archives.


1.5 Gigabytes


The Penn State Altoona Historical Video Collection is a series of documentaries on Penn State Altoona. The subjects covered range from special events, highlighting of certain faculty, staff, students, administration, and alumni. The main goal of this collection is to inform the public of Penn State Altoona History.

Biographical / Historical

Harry E. Slep was born in Germany in 1836 and came to this country when he was 10 years old. He worked in the newspaper industry as a young man and moved to Altoona to start the Evening Mirror in 1872. He would later change the name to the Altoona Mirror in 1874.

One of Harry’s grandchildren was J.E. Holtzinger. Known as Ted, he was born in 1903 and followed his grandfather into the newspaper business. He also earned a bachelor’s degree from Penn State in 1925. During the Great Depression, many Altoonaians knew a college education was not possible for them but Ted set his mind to change that. Known as the “Founder” of the Altoona Campus, he and other community leaders convinced Penn State Officials to locate a branch center in Altoona. And on September 13, 1939, The Altoona Undergraduate Center, or AUC, was established.

The inaugural class included 119 students and employed 9 faculty members with Robert E. Eiche being the school’s first director. AUC’s first home was an abandoned grade school on Lexington Avenue and tenth street known as the Webster Building. $5,000 was raised by the community to renovate the building, no small feat given the country was ten years deep into a depression. Another $3,000 was raised the following year to buy the old Madison grade school and it was turned into the sophomore science laboratory.

However, when the United States entered World War II, the Altoona Undergraduate Center almost shut their doors and enrollment shrank to 40. To counter this the Citizens Advisory Board purchased and operated the Annie C. Wolf Women’s Dormitory from 1944 to 1947. This was the first resident hall and allowed women outside of Altoona to attend the school. This helped keep the school going and when the War was over, attendance skyrocketed and soon the small campus was at capacity of students.

Before there was a Penn State Altoona, there was the Ivyside Amusement Park. It was started by a pharmacist from Altoona named E. Raymond Smith. The park was opened in 1925, it consisted of a 650-foot-long pool that was 186 feet wide. At its capacity it accommodated 5,000 people. However, with the depression in the 30’s and the gasoline rationing during the second World War, it killed business. And when E. Raymond passed in November 1945, the Smith Family wanted to sell the park.

There were several suitors for the property, but Mrs. Smith wanted the place to go to the college and sold the entire 40 acres and buildings for what was owed in back taxes, which was $36,000.

$50,000 was raised by the community to buy the land and to renovate the old bathhouse. Therefore, the Altoona Undergraduate Center was known affectionately as Bathhouse U. The University made the move in 1948. The Bathhouse contained classrooms, the library, admin offices, biology lab, physics lab, and graphic arts lab. Other buildings that were revamped was the Ivyside Building, known as Ivy Hall, that was the student union building from 1948 to 1964 and was demolished in 1990. The only two buildings that are still left from 1948 are the Pine Building that served as the park’s concession stand and the Elm Building, originally a shooting gallery was first remodeled as chemistry laboratories, then repurposed as faculty offices, a kiln studio, costume shop, and the Maintenance Department’s carpentry shop.

In 1953 Penn State earned University status and their affiliated centers could now award Associate degrees. Enrollment was constantly growing and a campaign for Atloona Campus at Ivyside to build their first permanent building began and on September 15, 1958 the doors to the E. Raymond Smith Building were opened. This is also when the Altoona Undergraduate Center was known as the Altoona Campus, recently designated by the trustees at Penn State University. According to Altoona’s first employee and Associate Director, Robert L. Smith, the new building, “was our prize [this was] our first permanent building. “ And as the new came in, the old went out, Ivy Hall in 1958 and the Bathhouse being demolished in 1959.

Guide to the Penn State Altoona Historical Video Collection
Daniel Thacker and Gale Biddle
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Penn State Altoona Repository

Robert E. Eiche Library
3000 Ivyside Park
Altoona PA 16601-3760