Editor's note: This is the fifth in a series of stories on businesses that will be inducted into the Blair County Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame tomorrow at the Blair County Convention Center.
The Altoona Tribune brings back sweet memories for Ray Pulcinello.
Pulcinello's father worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad. When he came home from work at 3:30 p.m., he would give young Ray a dime to run down to Harris Store at Eighth Avenue and Second Street in Juniata to buy a newspaper - either the morning Altoona Tribune or the afternoon Altoona Mirror.
(Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski)
Dick Martin (left) and his brother-in-law, Ray Pulcinello, show off a copy of the last edition of the Altoona Tribune on Monday. The Altoona Tribune will be inducted into the Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame Monday night at the Blair County Convention Center.
"The Mirror was 10 cents, and the Tribune was 7 cents. I would look for the Tribune. If I didn't see it, I was devastated. I wouldn't have three cents to buy candy, and you could get a lot of candy for 3 cents at the time," said Pulcinello, 63, who later worked for the Times Tribune Co., which printed the Altoona Tribune, from 1977 to 1997.
The Altoona Tribune will be one of five businesses inducted into the Blair County Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame Monday night at the Blair County Convention Center.
Pulcinello will accept the award on behalf of the Altoona Tribune, which is being inducted in the Heritage category that recognizes businesses no longer in operation.
The Altoona Tribune was first published Jan. 1, 1856, by E.B. McCrum and William Allison, who started the newspaper after purchasing the equipment of Altoona's first newspaper known as the Altoona Register, which existed for about six months in early 1855, according to research conducted by the Chamber staff.
The Altoona Tribune occupied its own three-story building at 1110 12th St.
"The press room was in the basement. Circulation and advertising was on the first floor, editorial was on the second floor and composing room was on the third floor," recalled Jack Weidmann, 80, of Duncansville, who worked in the commercial printing department from 1953 to 1993.
"I remember one time [1955 or 1956] the press room got flooded by a heavy storm and the Mirror was generous enough to print the paper while the Tribune got squared away," Weidmann said. "No one had checked the basement. Water came in, but no one checked it until the pressmen came in."
Over the years, the Altoona Tribune went through several sales and mergers.
Col. Henry W. Shoemaker purchased the Tribune and became president. He published his first paper on Nov. 12, 1912. He merged the Tribune with two other papers, the Altoona Gazette and the Altoona Times, according to the Chamber staff.
Dick Martin, 73, of Altoona fondly remembers the Altoona Tribune.
Martin, Pulcinello's brother-in-law, was a paperboy for the newspaper in the early 1950s in the East End.
"Those were the days when you had to collect from the subscribers every week. It was something you had to do, if you expected to get paid," Martin said. "I picked up my papers on Walton Avenue and rode my old fashioned bicycle with the balloon tires and foot brakes. I was able to drive my bike and fold and throw the papers. My aim wasn't always that accurate. Some papers ended up in hedges or on roofs."
Pulcinello, Weidmann and Martin all remembered the Altoona Tribune for its "good sports page."
"I was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. I would rush home to read the sports. In 1957, they were in last place. They were my heroes: Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese and Roy Campanella. I read the sports and funnies," Pulcinello said.
The last edition of the Altoona Tribune was published Dec. 31, 1957, after 102 years of continuous publication, due to "constantly rising costs of production, in labor and materials to continue publication upon the high standards of news coverage and community service which always have been our aim," publisher Arthur B. Crane said on the front page of the final edition.
Robert W. Boyer, who later became managing editor at The Mirror, was managing editor at the time.
"People liked the editorials. Bob Boyer was a good editor," Weidmann said.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.