Tyrone was incorporated as a borough in 1857 and soon became an important transportation hub for the coal and paper industries.
As the region grew in the years before World War I, Jewish peddlers based mostly in Philadelphia came through Altoona and fanned out into the nearby towns. A few Jewish families settled in Tyrone, including the Sealfon, Anatole, Yochelso, Warshower and Epstein families, according to a reminiscence by Irwin Sealfon included in Jews in Small Towns: Legends and Legacies. The American Jewish Yearbook listed a population of 40 in its 1928-1929 edition and a population of 20 in its 1940-1941 edition.
These Jewish families generally prayed in private homes throughout the year. For the High Holidays, they rented the local Red Men hall, borrowed a Torah scroll from one of the congregations in Altoona and achieved the necessary quorum of ten men by housing Jewish families living in nearby towns such as Houtzdale, Pa. and Bellwood, Pa. The small Jewish community in took part in the Pittsburgh Jewish War Sufferers Campaign in 1919 and the United Palestine Appeal in 1926, according to the Jewish Criterion.