The triangle through the years

Communities are usually centered around a town square. Altamont has a triangle. Most people who grew up in Altamont have vivid memories of the triangle. From weekend band concerts to centennial celebrations and Halloween parades, the triangle has been at the center of our community since the town was platted in 1871. Here are pictures of the triangle throughout the years.

1871 plat of Altamont

The origin of Altamont’s triangle

The original plat of Altamont included the triangle in the bottom right corner. Railroad Street (the wide road pictured above) was Altamont’s main business district until a 1905 fire ravaged the area. Businesses migrated a few blocks south transforming the area surrounding the triangle.

The building on the triangle. Early 1900’s.

The building on the triangle

Pictured above are two ladies standing in front of Nicholas Reiss and Jake Hinger’s meat market located on the triangle. This building was torn down in 1916 to clear a spot for community events.

Notice the Immanuel Lutheran Church steeple standing above the surrounding buildings. (Also, check out the massive hats.)

Downtown Altamont early 1920’s.
Downtown Altamont with paved streets. 1925

Change in the 1920’s

Imagine sitting in your car. Your wheels are spinning furiously. But your car is stuck in a foot of mud on Main Street.

Main Street wasn’t paved until the early 1920’s, and downpours made Altamont’s streets impassable for horses and early automobiles. (Early automobiles had thin tires.)

Sidewalks were also rare. Wood boards were used as impromptu sidewalks throughout town.

The triangle’s bandstand. Late 1930’s

Weekend concerts on the triangle

For decades, the triangle drew large crowds. The triangle hosted concerts from community bands on weekends. Farmers drove their families into town, kids would get ice cream, the stores stayed open late, businesses had raffle prizes, and older generations had conversations in German. During World War II, the triangle’s concerts boosted morale.

The triangle in 1946.
A Lions Club Fundraiser on the triangle. Late 1940’s or Early 1950’s.
Downtown Altamont 1960’s
The triangle on a snowy day. Early 1970’s.
A sack race during the 1971 Altamont Centennial.
Tallest woman over 8 feet tall, pants factory made her a dress.
Sandy Allen on the triangle in 1976.

The tallest woman in America vists Altamont

The tallest woman in America, Sandy Allen (7’7″) visited Altamont in 1976. The local garment factory made her a dress.

The triangle and downtown. 1990’s

The triangle today

The triangle stopped hosting weekend concerts years ago, and fundraisers and other events on the triangle seem to be fewer and fewer.

In today’s world, our iPhones and other electronics are like new appendages, and we have become socially isolated because our eyes are glued to our 4.7″ screens.

Maybe, we should look to the past and use the triangle as an example. The triangle strengthened the bond of our community. It hosted family friendly events enjoyed by multiple generations. People had fun without smartphones. People were connected.



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