Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Jim Thorpe picture tour
I thought it would be fun to give you a little picture tour of the town where I live -- Jim Thorpe, Pa (not it's original name.) Originally, Jim Thorpe was Mauch Chunk (an Indian name meaning something about a sleeping bear -- I think.....) Anyway, the town name was changed in the 1950's when Jim Thorpe's widow (in case you're not familiar -- Jim Thorpe was an Olympic athlete who won many gold metals in every possible track and field event there was back around the 1920's . He was also a great baseball and football player.) -- ANYWAY, like I was saying , Jim Thorpe's widow was looking for a burial place for Jim Thorpe (he was stripped of his Olympic medals -- unfairly, I think, because he played 1 semi pro baseball game, or something like that) and by the 1950's, Mauch Chunk was going down the tubes and needed something to put the town on the map and bring in tourists -- so they offered to make Mauch Chunk the official burial site for Jim Thorpe -- erected a monument, etc.
OK -- back to our tour. Alot of the buildings and homes in Jim Thorpe were built in the 1830's --> 1870's (I guess that makes them Victorian era homes). The first picture is of the Dreisbach House (I have no idea who the Dreisbach's were) -- but it's a neat old house that now has a fun shop in it!! They have vintage HATS (as in Jackie Kennedy, Lucy and Ethel, and Audrey Hepburn type hats -- pillbox hats with veils, cocktail hats, things covered with flowers and feathers, etc). They also have tons of vintage clothes -- I had my eye on a pink, fluffy 1950's era prom queen number I saw there a couple of months ago, but I decided I didn't really have anywhere to wear it, other than bowling...... Oh, and they have vintage jewelry and linens. But, one of my favorite things about this shop is the SUNFLOWERS out front -- aren't they GREAT !!
The second picture shows what's called "Millionaire's Row" --- these were the houses built by the guys who got rich by helping to run the town's main business , the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company (had to do with shipping coal by canal boats down the Lehigh River to Philadelphia -- and later they used the trains to ship it, I think --- don't quote me on my semi accurate historic facts!!)
Now that 3rd picture is the Asa Packer Mansion. That's where Asa Packer lived back in the early to mid 1800's. Who the heck was Asa Packer you ask? He's the guy who started the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company (along with another guy named Hazard -- I forget his first name -- and to add insult to injury, this guy's mansion is no longer standing so no house to show you.) Asa Packer is also the founder of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.
The 4th picture is the Harry Packer Mansion. Harry was Asa's son. Asa built that house for Harry and his bride as a wedding gift -- not a bad wedding gift, huh! Anyhow, if you're thinking that house looks kind of familiar, that would be because the Haunted Mansion at Disney World was modeled after the Harry Packer Mansion. But, no need to go to Disney World to go through a haunted mansion -- you can stay in the real haunted mansion -- it's now a bed and breakfast, and I've heard stories that it's haunted for real!!!