The town of Jim Thorpe is located in scenic central Pennsylvania. This lovely Victorian village, formerly known as Old Mauch Chunck, dates back to the early 1800’s and is renowned for being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, the home of the world’s first roller coaster, and–most notably–the starting point for America’s first railroad. During the 1800’s, Mauch Chunck prospered throughout the coal and railroad boom. The town saw such prosperity that it was at this time home to at least 13 millionaires.
However, early in the 20th Century, the coal boom tapered off and like many similar small industrial towns, Mauch Chunck began a steady downslide.
In 1953, an unusual offer came from an unusual woman. The widow of the great Olympic athlete, Jim Thorpe, was looking for a town that would provide her late husband with a suitable memorial and burial place.
The citizens of Mauch Chunk, East Mauch Chunk and Mauch Chunk Heights came together and decided to not only offer Jim Thorpe’s widow the suitable memorial and burial place but also offered to consolidate into one borough under the name Jim Thorpe.
The offer was accepted and an appropriate monument was erected to honor the Olympian.
This was an agreement that has helped all concerned. Jim Thorpe’s widow was satisfied that her husband’s memory and resting place was well taken care of, and the newly named Jim Thorpe, PA had a new industry to help replace the long gone coal boom, tourism.
In addition to the Jim Thorpe memorial, the town has a lot to offer for vacationers. Ranging from one hundred year-old buildings, beautiful old Victorian architecture, historical sites, charming bed and breakfasts, sport activities, white water rafting, mountain biking and lake swimming, Jim Thorpe, PA is a great vaction spot.