The Mishler Theatre is a Beaux-Arts stage and movie theater located at 1208 Twelfth Avenue in Altoona, Pennsylvania. It was designed by Albert E. Westover and built by local theatre owner and manager Isaac Charles Mishler and opened on February 15, 1906. Nine months later, the neighboring Rothert building caught fire, which quickly spread to the theater, destroying the interior. The theater was rebuilt and re-opened in 1907.
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, and is located in the Downtown Altoona Historic District.
After disuse in the mid-20th century, the theatre was considered for demolition in 1965. In response, the Altoona Community Theatre and the Blair County Arts Foundation purchased it and began renovation. The theatre reopened in 1969 for a performance of The Sound of Music.
Early renovation included replacement of the seats and the lobby's chandelier, the new one purchased in 1970 at a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer auction. Major structural, plumbing, and electrical work began in the early 1990s. At the most recent estimate, the restoration has cost approximately 1.8 million dollars.
The theater is not only notable for its historical significance, but has through the past several decades received much attention for its supposed hauntings. The site has become something of a popular haunted attraction for paranormal enthusiasts. It gathers so much attention that it was paid a visited by the cable television show Ghost Hunters. In 2004, the show visited Altoona to visit two reportedly haunted locations: the Mishler Theatre and the Altoona Railroaders Museum. The investigators on the broadcast note that they were informed about which is the popular local legend that Mr. Isaac Mishler’s ghost is often seen walking throughout the theater on the catwalk and near his office with a cigar in his mouth. They, however, come to the conclusion that the site is fact, to their standards, not a haunted one.
The theater hosts numerous productions every year; including local productions, traveling productions, various recitals, weddings, and a children's theatre series.