Heritage plaza was designed to reflect Altoona’s history while providing a public place within the city where people could congregate. The plaza opened the summer of 1997, and is now a place for outdoor concerts, farmer’s markets and other public gatherings.
The plaza includes a pedestrian bridge which links with the Altoona Railroader’s Memorial Museum and the Station Medical Center across the railroad tracks. Also located in the plaza, is a rail car which is a restored version of the mail cars that were used by the Pennsylvania Railroad. The clock tower, a common feature in public places, is designed to resemble a smokestack.
On the side of Saleme Insurance, is the Postcard from Altoona. While looking at this playful mural you will notice its most notable feature, the trompe l’oeil (fool the eye), which is the three dimensional effect that the artist used. The mural is a painting within a painting, traveling through time in the history of Altoona. It shows a postcard portraying a view of 11th Avenue at the turn of the century, held in the hand of someone who is standing at the Altoona Post Office, in the present day. Part of Lorin Thompson’s Growth of the Town can be seen in the background.
Another interesting feature is the clock tower in the lower left hand section of the mural. It is an actual clock! The mural predates Heritage Plaza.