Since it made no sense to go to Washington with the federal government closed, and since we weren’t yet ready to go home, we took a small side trip to the Pocono Mountains in eastern Pennsylvania. We’ve often wondered what this region was like, so this was a great opportunity to do some exploring.
Have you ever heard of a town with the name of a person? I don’t mean just a last name, like Lincoln. I mean an entire name – first and last. Believe it or not, “Jim Thorpe” is the name of a town. Evidently, back in the mid 1950’s, the village of “Mauch Chunk” was in a state of decline, and they struck a deal with the widow of Jim Thorpe. She wanted a proper memorial to this great athlete, but his home state of Oklahoma refused to give it to him. Mauch Chunk was happy to oblige. With the widow’s blessing, Jim’s remains were moved to this town, a proper monument to his achievements was erected, and the town of Mauch Chunk was renamed as “Jim Thorpe.” I guess with a name like Mauch Chunk, anything was an improvement.
Here’s where things really get a little strange. A couple of years ago, one of Jim’s sons sued to get Jim’s remains returned to ancestral burial grounds. Since Jim was a Native American, and since there is a law enabling Native Americans to force the return of remains to traditional burying grounds, Jim’s son wanted to get his dad back home. This son’s suit was put on hold as the judge said that it could only go forward if there were other family members on board. Well, before he could get others to support his cause, he died. Then, a little later, the rest of the sons and daughters joined the lawsuit. As of a couple of months ago, it looks like they may have won. It looks like Jim Thorpe will be leaving Jim Thorpe. I’m not making this up!
We stayed a couple nights at the Inn at Jim Thorpe: