Altoona is a city of about 46,000 people, making it the tenth largest city in Pennsylvania. It is located in the central part of the state, in a mostly rural and mountainous area. It is the largest city for many miles in any direction. Altoona was built up with the railroad industry in the mid-19th century. By 1880, Altoona had a population of almost 20,000 people. The population of the city peaked in 1930 at around 82,000. Altoona has a lovely collection of Victorian homes and residential districts. However, the downtown is probably the most underwhelming of Pennsylvania's larger cities. Many of the historic buildings in the downtown area seem to have been demolished over the years, perhaps during an urban renewal period of the city's history. Still, there are many gems left, and the city itself is full of character. Although not as well-preserved as some other Pennsylvania cities, it still has plenty of beautiful old buildings, and it seems like a pleasant, safe place.