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Jaffa Shrine

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1928–1930, Frank A. Hersh and Frederic James Shollar. Broad Ave. at 22nd St.
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)

Operated by the Shriners, this building looks like a golden brick Middle Eastern fortress, with circular towers topped by elongated domes similar to minarets at the corners. Instead, the building is a 3,400-seat auditorium and conference center. The eleven-acre complex occupies an entire city block in Altoona, enclosing an acre of space under one roof. The central entrance facing Broad Avenue is topped with diapered bricks surrounding a large curved scimitar, the symbol of the Shriners.

Frank Hersh, a member of the Jaffa Shrine, and Frederic Shollar were popular Altoona architects in practice between 1904 and 1930. In their design for the limestone-sheathed city hall (1925–1927) at 1301 12th Street, they employed a stripped-down classicism in a formal composition of elongated windows and arched entrances. A quartet of fluted columns supports the namestone above the 12th Street entrance, conveying the dignity appropriate for a civic building. Altoona architect David B. Albright earned a Preservation Pennsylvania award in 2002 for his renovation of the city hall's interior.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Jaffa Shrine", [Altoona, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 331-331.

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