Isaac Mishler, father of the Mishler Theater, was born in Lancaster on September 30, 1862. When he was 18 years old, he moved to Altoona to work on the Pennsylvania Railroad. Isaac worked for the P.R.R. for several years then he opened a cigar store on 11 Avenue in Altoona. In 1893, he took over the Eleventh Avenue Opera House. On February 5, 1906, owned and managed by Isaac Mishler, the Mishler Theater opened. However, devastation came a short nine months later. On the evening of October 19, 1906, the neighboring Rothert Building caught on fire. The fire spread to the Mishler Theater destroying the interior. This didn’t defeat Isaac Mishler from his dream. He rebuilt and reopened the theater in 1907.
In the early days, many great performers of the Vaudeville Theater made an appearance at the Mishler. This was mostly due to the location of the theater and the P.R.R. Altoona was the first stop for acts travelling from New York and Philadelphia on tour. Sadly, the theater fell into neglect and in the 1960’s it was considered for Demolition. The Altoona Community Theatre and The Blair County Arts Foundation saved it from this fate by purchasing the building and renovating. In 1969, The Mishler Theater once again reopened. In 1973, The Mishler was placed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places.
Today the theater has been restored too much of its original appearance. The Mishler Theater hosts numerous community events as well as other notable entertainers.