Baker Mansion WWII History Weekend

Baker Mansion – Blair County Historical Society
May 10-11, 2014

Weekend Information
The Blair County Historical Society based in Altoona, Pennsylvania will be hosting its third annual WWII Living History Weekend in May 2014.  It will be taking place in a community park-like setting, offering space for Allied and Axis Living History camps in addition to a few displays/activity tents.  Baker Mansion is an 1849 Greek Revival mansion and will stand in for a French chateau for the skirmish scenario reenactments on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  In addition to Living History demonstrations, local veterans will be on hand to share their stories.  Registration and museum admission is free for all reenactor participants.  Authors/Presenters will be present throughout the weekend.  

Reenactors may find downloadable registration here.  Also, visit us on Facebook

Schedule of Events:

Friday May 9:

3:00 pm to 8:00pm – Reenactor event arrival, setup, and registration confirmation at info tent.  Park on right shoulder of circular driveway to unpack/check-in.

Saturday May 10:

8:00am to 10:00am – Reenactor event arrival, setup, and registration confirmation.

10:00am – Site opens to general public.  All modern vehicles must be parked in designated area and all modern amenities must be stowed away by this time.

10:00am to 5:00pm – Activity/Youth tent programs and Mansion tours ongoing. 

12:30pm – Presentation on WWII nurses by Julie Decker.

1:15pm – Talk by Airborne expert Brian Domitrovich on the book Angels of Mercy: Two Screaming Eagle Medics in Angoville-au-Plain on D-Day.

2:00 pm – Military Demonstration – taking place on front lawn.  To be continued Sunday…

3:00pm to 4:00pm – Presentation by historian Todd DePastino, author of Bill Mauldin, Commissioned in Battle, and Citizen Hobo.  Book signing to follow.

6:00 pm to 9:00pm – 1940s USO Dance featuring live music by The San Tones Orchestra at the Juniata Pavilion in Altoona.  Tickets can be bought at the door or in advance through the society.  Ticket includes admission, food, refreshments, live music.  Funds benefit the society.

Sunday May 11:

10:00am – Site opens to public.

10:00am to 3:00pm – Activity/Youth tent programs and Mansion tours ongoing. 

All Day: 84th Infantry Division WWII veteran Emmett T. Lang will be signing copies of his memoir, Always a Soldier But Never a G.I.  

12:00pm - Special Mother's Day Tribute at Baker Mansion.

1:00pm – Author presentation and book signing by Dr. Michael Farrow on Blair County’s WWII era movie theaters.

2:00pm – Military Demonstration – taking place on front lawn.  Conclusion.

3:00pm – Talk by U.S. Army Air Corp veteran and WWII prisoner of war Joseph Conlon.

3:45pm – Camp closes.

3:45pm to 5:00pm – Reenactor clean up and pack up.  Please dispose of all trash.  Park on right shoulder of circular driveway as you did on arrival.

6:00pm - Special showing of the film The Great Escape on the big screen.  Taking place at the Penn State Altoona Devorris Downtown Center, 1431 12th Ave. (between 14th & 15th St.), Altoona, PA 16601.  Admission and refreshments are free and open to the public.

Promotional film for the 2014 event.

 Part of the weekend battle scenario.
A food vendor will be located on site both Saturday and Sunday.  Multiple restaurants of various types are located within one mile of the site, some within walking distance.  Various hotels are also located nearby, including an affordable Days Inn and Holiday Inn.

Directions to site: 

1. Depart I-99 / US-220 / Bud Shuster Highway at Altoona, Pennsylvania.

2. At exit 32, take ramp right and follow signs for Frankstown Rd. - 0.4 mi.

3. Turn left onto Frankstown Rd. - 0.3 mi.

4. Turn right onto US-220 / PA-36 / Pleasant Valley Blvd, and then immediately turn left onto     PA-36 / Union Ave - 0.8 mi.

5. Turn left onto Crescent Rd. - 0.1 mi.

6. Turn left onto Oak Lane - 137 ft.  Look for sign with mansion on it by basketball courts

7. Arrive at 3419 Oak Lane, Altoona, PA 16602

8. The last intersection is Crescent Road.  If you reach N. Logan Blvd, you've gone too far.

9. Look out for the Mansion Park Football Stadium.  The mansion is right next door.

For Reenactors and Exhibitors: Once you arrive:
  • Upon arrival to Baker Mansion, turn into the circular driveway in front of the house, parking on the right shoulder. 
  • Register at the information booth and sign necessary forms. 
  • Remain in parking space in circular driveway to unpack tents, gear, etc. to designated area.  Once unpacked, park vehicle in northern corner of gravel parking lot along brick and iron fence along Oak Lane.  
  • Regular visitors will park in the gravel lot along Oak Lane. 
  • Confirmation of registration/waiver must be checked at information tent upon arrival before setup is permitted.
  • Period politics are neither condoned nor tolerated, nor is the display of the Nazi Flag, Banners, or Arm Bands. Failure to abide by this policy will result in eviction from the event. 
  • Please note, due to space limits, we can only accommodate the first fifty living historians for each side portrayed.  Thank you.
Reenactors: For complete reenactor information, photos, and registration materials please  click HERE.

Event map.
American G.I.s at the 2012 event at Baker Mansion.