Is Jim Thorpe A Retirement Secret

It’s a little known secret that Pennsylvania has a large retirement population group living in the state. Is Jim Thorpe a retirement secret is a good question. Most people think that the warmer states have the corner on retirement but Pa is competing hands down.

Many retire’s in Pa are gravitating to the hills of Pa where they can live a very comfortable lifestyle and live fairly inexpensively. Let’s take a look at a little sleeper town in Jim Thorpe, Pa that has around 70 retirement homes.

These homes are nestled in the beautiful hills of Jim Thorpe and provide a serene setting for people who are retiring to a less hectic live. Many of the people are coming from the cities of Philadelphia and New York to enjoy the less hectic life style but allow them to enjoy the cities which they are close to.

Each is a short drive to visit and enjoy the big city amenities and still make it home for dinner. There is plenty of recreation things to do in Jim Thorpe and the surrounding Poconos Mountains with a 4 seasonal climate that appeals to many. Not everyone wants to have a warm climate all the time and welcomes the changing seasons.

There is a trend with many Seniors gravitating to rural areas for a simpler lifestyle and it’s going on in Virginia, Pennsylvania and many other States that are deliberately attracting Seniors. Pennsylvania has a lottery that actually provides funding to seniors and it very profitable.

So if you are looking for a place to retire please check out rural Pennsylvania and just take a drive through Jim Thorpe. It’s a cute little town with lots of character and an amazing history. This town is full of charm and ambiance and will woo anyone who dares to go there.

Before Pennsylvania was Pennsylvania

Before Pennsylvania was Pennsylvania, the Delaware Valley was New Sweden.

When, on March 4, 1682 Charles II of England granted a charter for the colony that would become Pennsylvania, William Penn would be taking over an existing colony—one that had been colonized for forty years. This colony was New Sweden.
In April 1638, two ships, the Kalmar Nyckel and the Fogel Grip, which had sailed from Sweden the previous autumn, arrived in the Delaware Valley, and after exploring, founded New Sweden and settled in Wilmington, Delaware.

By 1644, the Swedish colony had expanded to the Schuylkill River, where Governor Johan Björnsson Printz established a capital on what is now Tinicum Island. Here, he built the first permanent seat of government in the Keystone state.

How did New Sweden come to be?

Following Columbus’ 1492 discovery of the Western Hemisphere, Spanish, French and British explorers sailed the coast of America—but there is no record of their actually landing in the Delaware Valley.

In 1609, sailing for the Dutch West India Company, British Captain Henry Hudson explored the Hudson and Delaware Valleys. Hudson was arrested for sailing for a foreign flag. He was released and allowed to sail under a British flag. He discovered Hudson Bay where his ship became trapped in the ice. His crew mutinied and set him adrift in a small boat, never to be seen again.

anding of the Swedes in 1638 under the leadership of Peter MinuitUsing this voyage as a claim of possession, in 1624 the Dutch West India Company established a trading post at Burlington Island, near Bristol, Pennsylvania. In 1626, the man who purchased Manhattan Island, Peter Minuit, became the third Dutch Director-General.

In 1631, after being recalled by the Dutch, Minuit joined the New Sweden Company and in 1638, led the two Swedish ships that established a trading post at Fort Christina, now in Wilmington, Delaware, and claimed possession of the western side of the Delaware River. Minuit died in a hurricane on his way home for a second voyage.

After establishing a capital below current Philadelphia, in 1655, the Dutch, under Peter Stuyvesant annexed New Sweden. In 1664, the British under James – the Duke of York and brother of King Charles II, took the land from the Dutch. In 1682, in settlement for a large loan given Charles by William Penn’s late father, Sir William Penn. Penn called the colony Sylvania. Charles changed the name to Pennsylvania to honor Sir William.

Though short in terms of years, New Sweden contributed three ideals that helped form Pennsylvania. First, there was no slavery in New Sweden. Pennsylvania would become among the strongest of abolitionist states. Second, New Sweden established a policy of treating native peoples fairly and of purchasing land from them.

Third, New Sweden had a policy of religious liberty. When William Penn was just a boy, eleven expeditions had settled in New Sweden and when he sailed up the Delaware, he is said to have passed five Swedish Lutheran Churches on the way.

New Sweden was the result of Sweden’s emergence as a world power in the 1600s due to success by King Gustav II Adolph, in the Thirty Years’ War. King Gustav II Adolph, wanting to create a trading empire, chartered the New Sweden Company to set-up colonies in the new world.

Gustav died in battle in 1632, just after underwriting Peter Minuit’s first voyage. The Swedish crown was passed to his twelve-year-old daughter, Christina. When Minuit landed at Wilmington, the first settlement, Fort Christina, was named in her honor.

For further information about the Swedish role in Pennsylvania’s history, here are some places you can visit:

The American Swedish Historical Museum in South Philadelphia (www.americanswedish.org) – founded in 1926, is the oldest Swedish Museum in the United States. The Museum is located on land that was once part of a 17th-century land grant from Queen Christina of Sweden to colonist Sven Skute. Three of the Museum’s 12 galleries are devoted to the history of the New Sweden Colony

Kalmar Nyckel (www.kalmarnyckel.org) in Wilmington Delaware is a recreation of the tall ship that brought settlers to New Sweden.

New Sweden Farmstead Museum in Bridgeton, NJ (www.co.cumberland.nj.us/tourism/new_sweden_farmstead_museum) – offers a re-creation of a New Sweden farm.

The Swedish Cabin (www.swedishcabin.org) – a log cabin built in the period of New Sweden 1638-1655.

Lehigh River & Canal at Jim Thorpe, PA

Chapter 8 – Jim Thorpe, All American

Who was Jim Thorpe?

Jim Thorpe is considered to be the greatest athlete of the twentieth century. In the 1912 Olympics, he won both the decathlon and the pentathlon. He played professional baseball with the New York Giants, the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Braves. In football, he was a three time All-American and leader of a national championship team, a professional football player and the first president of what is now the National Football League.

Describe Jim Thorpe’s early life.

Jim Thorpe was born on May 28, 1888 in what is now the state of Oklahoma. At that time, it was called Indian Territory. He was born in a log cabin along the North Canadian River, outside of Prague. He was a twin. His twin brother, Charles, died in his teens.

His American name was James Francis Thorpe. He was a member of the Sac and Fox tribe. His native name was Wa-Tho-Huck, meaning Bright Path. His father Hiram Thorpe was mixed Sac and Fox and Irish. His mother, Charlotte View Thorpe was a mixture of Potawatomie and French.

How did he become an athlete?

Jim Thorpe Canton BulldogsIn 1904, Jim Thorpe was sent to the Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The coach at Carlisle was Glen Scobie “Pop” Warner.

One day, Jim was watching the high jump squad practice. When the bar reached 5′ 9″ and no one could clear it, Jim asked for a turn. Without having ever high jumped previously, he easily cleared the bar. The next day, Coach Warner asked him to be on the football team.

Jim Thorpe was a nearly unstoppable halfback. “Pop” Warner’s Indian team became national champions and gained respect by defeating teams such as Harvard and Army. In the 1912 Carlisle-Army game, it was a halfback battle between Jim Thorpe and Dwight Eisenhower.

“Pop” Warner trained Jim Thorpe in track and field. In 1912, they went to Stockholm and Jim Thorpe won gold medals in the decathlon and the pentathlon. He broke several world records and set an all time high in the decathlon with 8,412.96 points. King Gustave V of Sweden called him “The greatest athlete in the world.”

Who was “Pop” Warner?

“Pop” Warner created modern football. On the field, he was a successful coach and was the created of the first football playbook. He was able to attract the public’s interest to football. He was the first coach to hire a publicity agent and together they helped develop the popularity of the sports page. Through aggressive marketing techniques, he was able to often have gate receipts of up to $8,000 (about $250,000 in current dollars).

Why did Jim Thorpe lose his medals?

While Jim Thorpe was at Carlisle, he took a leave and played baseball for Rocky Mount and Fayetteville in the Eastern Carolina League. Playing in the tobacco league, he earned about $15 a week. He was not aware that Olympic athletes were forbidden from receiving money for sports activities. In an interview after winning the Olympics, he told this story to a reporter. When the story ran, the Olympic committee asked that the medals be returned.

After his death in January 1982, the Olympic committee voted to return Jim Thorpe’s gold medals. In January 1983, replicas of his two gold medals were presented posthumously to his family .

Jim Thorpe’s final resting place is along Route 903 on the east side of Jim Thorpe. He rests in a park like area beneath a 20 ton red granite monument.

What about Jim Thorpe’s professional career?

Jim Thorpe played professional baseball as an outfielder from 1913 to 1919. He played for the New York Giants, Cincinnati Reds and Boston Braves. He had a lifetime batting average of .252 in 289 games and a .327 batting average in his final year.

In 1915, Jim Thorpe became a coach and player for the Canton, Ohio Bulldogs. In 1920, he became president of the American Professional Football Association. He continued to play football through 1929 with the Oorang Indians, Rock Island Independents, the New York Giants (football), St. Petersburg, Portsmouth (Ohio), Hammond (Indiana) and the Chicago Cardinals.

He retired from professional sports at the age of 41. He worked as a laborer and a stunt man. He managed a girl’s softball team and coached the Israeli National Soccer team on tour in the U.S.

Jim Thorpe’s most famous football game was against Harvard in 1911. Carlisle beat Harvard 18 – 15. Jim Thorpe scored a touchdown and kicked field goals of 23, 43, 37 and 48 yards. His 1912 achievement of 25 touchdowns and 198 points was long standing unbroken record.

Jim Thorpe is in both the college and professional football Halls of Fame. In 1950, in a poll of professional sportswriters and broadcasters, Jim Thorpe was voted the Greatest Athlete in Sports. Thorpe received three times as many votes as second place winner, Babe Ruth.

Additional information about Jim Thorpe and Old Mauch Chunk may be found at the Mauch Chunk Museum, 41 West Broadway, Jim Thorpe, PA 18229.

© Al Zagofsky 1997

The Lattimer Massacre

Where Bullets Met Strikers

In Pennsylvania’s worst labor tragedy, nineteen died and dozens were seriously wounded when a corrupt Sheriff, and deputies pulled from the coal mine police, fired upon immigrant mine workers peacefully marching towards Lattimer, Pennsylvania.

Today, the patch town of Lattimer, Pennsylvania is a quiet hamlet where about 460 people mow their lawns and work on their hobbies. Other than the monument at the intersection of Main and Quality Streets, the gated dirt road to the burned down colliery, and the sign “Lattimer Mines” above the Post Office, there is little that either remains or is a reminder of the worst labor tragedy in Pennsylvania’s history.


On September 10, 1897 a group of over 400 striking miners marched toward the Lattimer mine and colliery at Lattimer, outside of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. The coal operations, run by the Pardee family had hired Poles, Slovaks, Italians, Hungarians, and Lithuanians with the expectation that because they did not speak a common language, they would not be able to organize.
But the common bond of low pay, poor working conditions, unsafe practices and restriction to purchases at the company store made these mine workers feel they were no better than slaves. With organizers that could speak the several languages, the miners organized and went on strike.
To gather additional workers to join their strike, the miners marched to the coal mines in the Hazleton area. On September 10, they marched toward Lattimer.
The Pardee Company summoned Sheriff James L. Martin and helped provide 87 deputies from among the Coal & Iron Police and from among the anti-immigrant men at a local bar. The deputies were well armed including the newest 16 shot Winchester rifles—which they loaded with either No. 8 shot or steel-jacketed ammunition.
Jean Blass of Hazleton, now 81, learned about the Lattimer Massacre when she received a letter from her great uncle Dominic Marsilio (later changed to Marsello.) The letter was received about two years before Marsilio died at the age of 90 in 1976. The following is the text of the letter describing what Marsilio witnessed on that fateful day. (The text has been edited for clarity.)

Lattimer Massacre Letter

Dear Niece Jean,
In your letter you suggested to give you information in reference to the Lattimer Mines Massacre around late September 1897. I was in my 13th year of age.
On that afternoon at 2:00 P.M., news came about the United Mine Workers of America —John Mitchell was the President. The union members were on strike in other mining towns.
This unlucky day, the Sheriff and his men after two weeks vigilance had told the striking men not to come to Lattimer but they came anyway in spite of the warning.
They were on the roadway walking with their coats in their arms and that sheriff gave orders to shoot. The men fell like rats—a pity sight. I saw them lying in among the briers near a gum berry tree. It was a miniature war.
There had prepared six or eight open trolley cars with stretchers and slats. They picked up the bodies, placed them in the cars, and brought them to the Hazleton morgues. They were mostly Orthodox Russian and Polish men.
My sister and I went to see them at the funeral parlors. Most of them were buried at the cemetery near your old home about three or four blocks next to Vine Street.
I will never forget this reminder of the gum berry tree. The other boys and I used to go and pick berries in season during school recess. Our schoolteacher, she was a widow and very severe towards the boys. She didn’t spare the chestnut switches the day the massacre took place. She went to help. She ripped her undergown for bandages. She was seen by the Company authorities. The result was that she lost her job as a schoolteacher. Her son, who worked on a steam shovel, also lost out.
Also the strikers were Catholics and the Deputies were Protestants. No one was punished for the massacre. That night a telephone call was received at the Company office that strikers were coming to burn the town. Every or most of the people left their home barefooted and blankets over their shoulders.
The following day, the State National Guard came. The whole occurrence was uncalled for. Those days all companies were harsh to their people.
You wonder why I left for better possibilities. I told my father I was leaving when I turned 16.

Massacre Aftermath

It is estimated that 150 shots were fired. Officially, 19 were killed and 38 severely wounded. For fear or reprisals, many of the wounded avoided going to the hospital and were never counted.
Rather than stop the union movement, it spurred it on with 1,500 joining the strike.
In 1972, on the 75th anniversary of the Lattimer Massacre, a monument was erected at the entrance to Lattimer on property donated by Jean Blass’ sister, Amelia Cherko, and her husband Albert.
The inscription on the monument erected at Lattimer reads, “It was not a battle because they were not aggressive, nor were they defensive because they had no weapons of any kind and were simply shot down like so many worthless objects, each of the licensed life-takers trying to outdo the others in butchery.”