A Visit To Funky Jim Thorpe

Advertising works! We came across a brochure announcing that the town of Jim Thorpe was voted ”Coolest Small Town in America”. Figuring it might up our coolness factor if we visited a cool city, we stopped for a visit. (Besides it was on the way to our stop in Ohio.)

Jim Thorpe had quite the sports career. He won the gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon during the 1912 Olympic Games.

Thorpe is one of two men in history who played for the New York Giants in two different sports. In football, he was the New York Giants’ running back and in baseball he was the New York Giants’ outfielder.

Thorpe’s family wanted to bury him in Oklahoma and build a memorial for him there. Unfortunately, state officials refused permission. Thorpe’s widow Patricia heard about a small town in Pennsylvania called Mauch Chunk that was seeking a different name to increase town tourism. She struck a deal with the town and brought Thorpe’s remains to the tactfully renamed Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. There, a monument has been erected in his honor with the sentence, “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world,” etched in the stone.

The town of Jim Thorpe certainly has turned into a tourist attraction. It has a totally cool and funky feel. A hodge-podge of houses and shops are built on winding streets and into the sides of steep hills. A Victorian home might be connected to a Saltshaker style house which sits next to a three story semi-modern house. Museums, churches and of course, cutesy shops filled the town center with an eclectic style. After all, doesn’t everyone decorate with a pumpkin in an abandoned  toilet?jim thorpe toilet art pumpkinjim thorpe pa street

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