Thursday, October 10, 2013

What's In A Name?

The person Jim Thorpe 
aka
Wa-Tho-Huk...
(May 28, 1888 – March 28, 1953)

Overlooking the town of Jim Thorpe, 
formerly East Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania.

...was half Native American: Wa-Tho-Huk, (Bright Path) 
and half Caucasion: Jim Thorpe, 
He was also an 
Olympic Gold Medalist and 
All American Athlete.

The Asa Packer Mansion (red roof) 
Jim Thorpe, PA

The man had a difficult and storied life. 
Thorpe was raised in Oklahoma as a Native American, 
yet also as a Roman Catholic. 
Although he did come to Pennsylvania 
for athletic training, 
he had nothing to do with the town of Mauch Chunk,  


Houses in a Row
Jim Thorpe, PA

...until after his death, 
when his 3rd wife negotiated 
with the towns of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk 
to buy the name "Jim Thorpe" 
to help attract business 
by cashing in on his famous name. 

Wa-Tho-Huk (Bright Light)
Jim Thorpe, PA

The two towns merged to become Jim Thorpe, PA 
and also bought his remains 
which were buried by a monument erected to the person Jim Thorpe,  
 His birth state of Oklahoma had refused to do this 
at the wife's request. 

Painted with Vines 
Jim Thorpe, PA

But that is not the end of the story. 
In 2010 his son Jack filed a lawsuit 
to have the athlete's remains 
returned to, and buried near, where he grew up 
 among the Sak and Fox people of Oklahoma. 
But Jack passed away 
and his living siblings, along with the
Sak and Fox Tribe members, 
continued the fight.

The Victorian Porch
Jim Thorpe, PA

In April 2013, 
the court ruled in favor of the Thorpe family.  
The family plans to have the remains 
reinterred in Oklahoma. 

While Jim Thorpe had never even visited 
the town that bears his name, 
it does have Native American history as well. 
The name Mauch Chunk 
means Bear Mountain in the language of the Lenape people. 

YMCA
Jim Thorpe, PA

I wonder if this quintessential small town, 
will retain the name Jim Thorpe, 
or return to its native name of Mauch Chunk. 
Or, perhaps they'll find another famous 
name to buy and start the process all over again. 



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7 comments:

  1. Oh my, Rebecca, these are absolutely totally stunning photos. I love all those houses crowded together and your photos have made me want to come up there and visit this town. starting with the lamp and all the way down by heart was bursting with joy just looking at each photo. the vines on the railing OH MY super shots all of these

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  2. Very interesting, I hope I stay where they put me.

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  3. Beautiful photographs to go along with a very interesting story....

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  4. Fascinating story, thanks for sharing that and the photos of the town, it's quite beautiful

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  5. Those are beautiful landscapes. Love the Asa Packer Mansion, very unique and interesting looking.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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