Jim Thorpe Travel Guide

Browse 2 travel reviews, 1 travel blogs and 154 travel photos from real travelers to Jim Thorpe.

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Jim Thorpe Overview

Jim Thorpe is a borough in Carbon County, Pennsylvania. The boroughs of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk merged and took on the name of Jim Thorpe following the 1953 death of Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe in hopes to attract tourism and other attention to help its economy. The town has also been referred to as the "Switzerland of America", as can be seen in an old drawing of the town showcased in a restaurant therein. This may also be the cause of the building next to the Sunrise Diner having "Hotel Switzerland" painted onto its front. The town was so nicknamed due to the picturesque scenery, mountainous location, and architecture.

Mauch Chunk was founded in 1818 by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company. The city was the location of the trial of the Molly Maguires in 1876, which resulted in the hanging of four whom were found guilty of murder.

The history of the town is inscribed in the architecture that makes up its many 19th century styles, a vast range of architectural styles: Federalist, to Greek Revival, Second Empire, Romanesque Revival, Queen Anne, and Richardsonian Romanesque.

In 1827, a mining company constructed a 14-kilometer downhill track, known as a gravity railroad, to deliver coal (and a miner to operate the mine train's brake) to the Lehigh Canal in Mauch Chunk. By the 1850s, the "Gravity Road" was providing rides to thrillseekers for 50 cents a ride. This is often designated as the first roller coaster in the United States.

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