The Historic Mishler Theatre, located at 1208 Twelfth Avenue, Altoona, PA, opened its doors on February 15, 1906. It carried the highest distinction by being the first structure of its kind in America to be completely devoted to theatrical pursuits. Albert Westover, a prominent theatre architect of the time, designed the grand house for Isaac Charles (Doc) Mishler, and his original plans remain on file, along with other theatre archived documents and memorabilia.
The theatre was the cultural center in Altoona for many years, bringing to it’s citizens many productions similar to those only reserved for Broadway.
Destroyed by fire nine months after opening, Isaac Mishler was not going to let that stop his dream. He built an exact duplicate within three months.
The Mishler Theatre is well known through Pennsylvania for not only being a beautiful building with first class live entertainment but also for it’s ghostly tales. There have been many testimonies of the hauntings at this historic theater yet none as credible as the testimony of a local 12 year old girl.
The girl recalls befriending a very nice man when she was just 2. She visited the theatre often because her mother worked there. The man would always wear funny hats. One time he would show up in a floppy hat and the next time he might be wearing a tall black hat. He would talk to her about the theater, and tell her how pretty she was. They would go for walks around the theater and he would tell her of his love for the theater and the many productions there.
he man she described was Isaac Mishler, founder of the Altoona Historic Mishler Theatre. Isaac has been dead since 1944. It seems Isaac loved his theater so much he decided not to leave after his death.
In 1965 the Blair County Arts Foundation, together with Altoona Community Theatre, raised $47,500 to purchase the Historic Mishler Theatre, in order to prevent the playhouse from torn down and replaced with a parking lot.
Today the Mishler is still in the business of live theatre. So go and enjoy a great show. With over 900 seats, save one for Isaac.