Sunday, March 15, 2009
Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania: Jim Thorpe's Gravesite
The story of the town of Jim Thorpe might be more interesting than the memorial. Mauch Chunk and West Mauch Chunk offered to join together and change its name to Jim Thorpe if the remains of the legendary athlete could be buried there. The family accepted, and that's where Jim is today ... even though he had no real connection to the place. Drive to the Poconos, hop off Interstate 476, go through the center of town, going uphill and away from the river, and you'll find it.
Thorpe is one of the great athletes in American history, participating in the Olympics (it took 70 years because of an eligibility question, but his family finally got his medals from the 1912 Games) and also playing pro baseball and football. Still, this did not start a trend among American towns. Otherwise, we'd be visiting Mickey Mantle, Oklahoma, on our next trip.