Hollidaysburg Borough

May 23rd, 2024

Hollidaysburg, first laid out in 1796, was named after Adam and William Holliday, Irish immigrants who founded the settlement. By 1814, there were several houses and a tavern. Hollidaysburg became the main transfer point between the Pennsylvania Canal and the Portage Railroad, a gateway to western PA. The canal and the railroad spurred industrial and commercial development in Hollidaysburg in the 1830s. In 1836, Hollidaysburg was established as a borough.

When Blair County was organized in 1846, the Borough of Hollidaysburg was designated the County Seat. With it being designated as the administrative center for the county, this allowed the borough to prosper as it attracted both attorneys and politicians to the area.

Throughout Hollidaysburg are modest remnants of enormous moments in our nation’s history; a civil war cemetery, the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal, the birthplace of Daniel Hale Williams, American physician, and founder of Provident Hospital in Chicago, (who is credited with the first successful open-heart surgery), to name a few.

Another wonderful space in the borough is Patriot Park. This memorial park is complete with a gazebo, beautiful trees and flowers and benches to sit and reflect. This park honors the armed services as well as just being a nice place to visit. Through the park perimeters, Hometown Heroes banners are showcased. The park was proudly funded with donations from the public.

In 1961, the famous “Slinky” toy started manufacturing in Hollidaysburg, having moved from its original site in Philadelphia.

Hollidaysburg's Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places. It covers over a hundred acres with 426 contributing buildings, and includes many structures built in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Highland Hall, now an affordable housing facility, was formerly a Presbyterian seminary, an academy for female students (1911 to 1940), a radio school during WWII, a Roman Catholic seminary (1940 to 1968), and an annex to the Hollidaysburg Courthouse in 1969. Highland Hall was built around 1865 from limestone quarried on site and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

On the grounds of Highland Hall is Hollidaysburg's “Moon Tree”. Hollidaysburg has one of eight known moon trees in the state of PA (a tall sycamore, [Platanus occidentalis] on the grounds of Highland Hall, grown from one of the 500 seeds that traveled on the Apollo 14 mission).

If you are looking for Hollidaysburg's moon tree, you can recognize it by the marker at its base that reads: "Bicentennial Moon Tree/This sycamore, placed here May 5, 1976/Was grown from a seed carried/To the moon aboard Apollo XIV/By astronaut Stuart Roosa/command modular pilot”.

Hollidaysburg also has the second-largest genealogical library in the Commonwealth, the Roller-Hojeth Memorial
Library, a free research library owned and operated by the Blair County Genealogical Society. It has extensive
holdings including many county records from all 67 counties of Pennsylvania including deeds, wills, and tax records. They have over 140 publications for sale on various topics relating to family history research in PA.

The Blair County Courthouse, built 1875-76 and on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976, is the site
of which shows the Civil War Soldiers Monument. It is inscribed "Tribute of Blair County in honor of her sons who fought for the Union 1861-1865”.

The borough of Hollidaysburg, five miles south of Altoona, embodies a perfect blend of modern progress and historical preservation as well as lots of locally owned shops and eateries. Throughout the year, the community gathers downtown for parades, fairs, festivals, live music, and an annual tree-lighting during the holidays.

With a name like “Hollidaysburg”, we know it’s a great community!