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

Smokehouse On Wheels

Walnutport smokehouse-on-wheels offers lip-smackin’, finger-lickin’, chin-dribblin’, rib-stickin’ Kansas City style barbecue

Jake's BarBQueEven if you don’t notice the smokehouse-on-wheels parked alongside the Fast Fill Mobil Station in Walnutport, you’re bound to smell the hickory smoke wafting as you drive past it on Rt. 145.I did. So I pulled off the road and parked in front of Crazy Jakes’ BBQ Pit and said “hello” to owner, Jake Trumbore of Slatedale.

Jake Trumbore and his son, Jake, been here since April 5. “This is something I always wanted to do,” said Jake. “I bought this rig just to do parties and picnics and decided to go full time with it.”

The “rig” is a smokehouse restaurant on wheels. It has a holding oven, and an enclosed food preparation area with refrigeration, hot and cold wells and sink. The large drum smoker is mounted outside. It has an external firebox with dampers for the air-in and the smoke-out.

“I’ve been barbequing as a hobby for twenty-something years,” Jake continued. “Barbecuing always intrigued me. I’m from Kansas City originally. So I learned Kansas City style barbecue.”

While Texas is known for its smoked brisket with a spicy sauce, and North Carolina is known for its pulled pork topped with a vinegar and mustard-based sauce, Kansas City – the home of over 90 barbecue restaurants – is known to smoke just about anything and tops it with a sweet spicy tomato based sauce.

Jake makes his own sauce that he takes up a notch with cayenne pepper. “I like it spicy,” he noted.

Ask to take a look inside his smoker and depending on the time of day you’re likely to see beef brisket, pork butts, pork spare ribs, chickens, or wings slowly rotating in a thick fog of mellow hickory, apple or cherry wood smoke.

Smoking requires slow cooking at a low temperature. Jake adjusts his smoker to hold a steady 250 degrees. This will cook a 2 –15 lbs. brisket or 8-10 lbs. pork butt in 12 hours. Ribs take three to four hours and chickens take an hour.

At 7 a.m., Jake starts his fire using a bag of charcoal to get a bed of coals going. Then, it’s wood the rest of the day. Smoking brisket and pork is such a long process that the meat that you see smoking is actually for tomorrow. The brisket and pork that Jake’s serving today was smoked yesterday and then allowed to braise overnight in its juices. Then it is placed in the 170 degree holding box where the continued slow moist cooking tenderizes the meat to the point that it falls apart.

That’s the meat that Jake piles on a sandwich. On the sandwich, he offers onions, pickles and barbeque sauce. “That’s a Jake tradition,” he said. “That’s the way I always ate them. I give a big sandwich and it fills you up.” It is a lot of food. I ordered a brisket sandwich to go and it lasted for two meals.

“So why barbecue?” I asked.

“It’s flavorful,” explained Jake. “The wood makes it so good. It’s a different taste. It’s all about flavor.”

Jake has his own spice rub, “Also a Jake tradition is the spice in my own rub. Before I cook the meat, I put a dry rub on it. My own rub.” and the sauce “I make my own barbeque sauce, Crazy Jake’s barbeque sauce.”

Barbecuing uses a lot of aromatic hardwood and initially Jake had to search for a source to supply him. “Some tree cutters started eating here and I started talking to them,” Jake said. “They asked me where I got my wood. Now, when they cut a hickory or an apple tree, they split it up for me and I buy it off them.”

Although Crazy Jakes’ is currently parked in Walnutport, on any given day, he might be called to cater a party. He’s done several and is getting ready to set up for one at Cabelas.

Crazy Jakes’ plans to be open from April until November, Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to “around 8 p.m. unless I sell out first, which I do often.” To check if he is open, call 610-217-8959.

The Horse Painter

Palmerton artist lives a life of agony and ecstacy.

Do you like to paint horses?

“Oh, yeah!” ecstatically responds 49-year-old Patti Delong of Palmerton as she points to a photorealistic acrylic painting displayed at the Carbon County Art Show. “Especially when I can paint horses the way these are coming out.”

Man O'War's legacy- War Admiral & Seabiscuit donated to Horse Rescue organizationShe has a warm spot in her heart for horses and in this painting Delong honors three of the world’s greatest racehorses: legendary chestnut Thoroughbred Man O’War, his son – triple crown winner – War Admiral, and his grandson – the winner of the greatest match race in American history – Seabiscuit.

Delong once owned horses. She once rode a motorcycle. Now there are days that she cannot even hold a paintbrush much less walk up several steps.

Over the past twenty years a combination of wrist, knee and shoulder problems led to nearly twenty surgeries—many improving the immediate problem but introducing a debilitating long-term problem.

Delong describes herself as having a tendency towards developing scar tissue. Each time she has an operation, the disturbed area reforms as an enlarged stiff scar.

It started in 1984 with her first operation—to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists. It was just before carpal tunnel became better known because of this syndrome developing amongst computer users.

Delong thinks it runs in her family. After she had the operation, both her brother and sister had to have their carpal tunnels operated on. But by then, their surgeons needed to cut only one inch on each wrist. Delong’s surgeon cut four inches on each wrist—with the extra distance extending into the palms of her hands. When her surgery healed, the resulting scarring made painting difficult. Attempts to correct this problem led to further surgeries and further scarring.

Delong was diagnosed with arthritis in her knees – both her parents have this problem – and arthritis in the rotator cuff of her right shoulder. But while she can still hold a paintbrush in her right hand, her shoulder is often too weak or painful to support it when she works on an easel.

“There are days that I can’t paint,” said Delong. “There are times that my paintbrush will flip up and go airborne. It hurts but I’m not going to stop.”

Delong was born in Catasauqua in 1956, graduated from Catasauqua High School and studied commercial art at North Hampton County Area Community College. She worked at Tarkett Flooring as a photo-engraver until laid off in 1985 when she found work on a highway construction project. On the side, Delong painted motorcycle gas tanks for a local dealer.

She took a job taking care of 28 Arabian horses at a Danielsville horse farm. Soon, she fenced her yard and bought her first horse, an Arabian. “I broke the Arabian myself,” Delong said as her mind seemed to wander to a happier time. “Oh no. I didn’t do the bucking bronco thing. He just stood there and I was so happy.”

By 1990, the worsening condition of her hands and knees made riding impossible. So she sold the Arabian. “But I had this property with a fence all around and nothing out there, so I got an older quarter horse—just to mow the grass,” said Delong. “He was fun. You don’t have to ride a horse to have fun.” When he got too old, Delong got her last horse, a Tennessee Walker.

Two years ago when she could neither walk up her front steps nor afford the horse, she faced up to the fact that she would soon be living without the animal that she so dearly loved.

She moved in with her sister to a house in Palmerton once owned by her mother’s parents. And Delong began to paint horses.

She has painted a series of famous racehorses. “They would make a terrific calendar,” she said.

A current favorite among her paintings of horses is one of Singletary – winner of the Breeder’s Cup, a horse that bullied its way through the pack to win a $1.54 million purse at odds of 17 – 1.

The well-muscled Singletary, got its name from equally well-muscled Hall of Fame Chicago Bears linebacker, Mike Singletary.

Delong envisioned a scene of the linebacker floating in a cloud above the racehorse. She painted the jockey and the horse’s blanket in the Chicago Bears colors of navy, orange and white to bind the characters to one another and painted a 5 on the blanket and a zero on the bridle. Mike Singletary’s number is 50. “I guess the owners of Singletary, just liked Mike,” Delong figured.

Unfortunately, when people think racehorses, they do not think of Carbon County, and consequently, even the best paintings of racehorses don’t sell very well locally.

She has made some sales on eBay. But eBay is a little like horseracing as Delong noted, “Sometimes I get lucky. Sometimes I lost my shirt.”

20 Years of Remembrances

Rosemarys Remembrances Bed & Breakfast Country InnIn 2005, one of Jim Thorpe’s most unique and celebrated establishments, Rosemary Remembrances, celebrated 20 years of service to the area.  At that time, local author, Al Zagofsky, wrote an incredible piece on the history of the store and all it’s meant to the city.

Unfortunately, due to server issues, the article was lost and we regret that we are no longer able to recover it.  If Al is able to contact us, we will happily republish the article here and give him full credit.  Until then, we will dedicate this page to telling you more about this great store.

Art and Collectibles

Rosemary’s Remembrances has some of the most unique commissioned art, collectibles, homewares and heirlooms you will find. They have collected quite an assortment of items from the past and the present – from chic to unique. If you want to find a very unique and distinctive piece for your home, this place is the best.


Our “One Stop Herb-Shop”

Rosemary’s Remembrances is also host to the area’s oldest retail/wholesale herbal store The Rosemary House.

Whether you’re looking for some unique teas, live plant seeds, or just want to pick up some of their namesake herb, The Rosemary House will be sure to deliver exactly what you’re looking for.

There are books, essential oils, virtually everything you need for improving your quality of life.

Being a family run business, you are sure to get loads of personal attention as well.

Quaint Bed And Breakfast Living

If you are so inclined, Rosemary Remembrances also offers a fully furnished, private studio apartment that is available to rent (or lease) by the day, week, weekend or month. It could be the start of a perfect getaway weekend to a beautiful part of the Pocono Mountains.