Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania: Jim Thorpe's Tourist Attraction GraveThe Olympic champion buried in Jim Thorpe never lived there, but the town thought his bones would make a good tourist attraction. They were right! Every so often some Thorpe descendants try to take his remains back to Oklahoma, thus far unsuccessfully.
Visitor Tips and News About Jim Thorpe's Tourist Attraction Grave
Legendary athlete Jim Thorpe is buried in Jim Thorpe, PA - a town he may never have even visited. Before renaming itself Jim Thorpe the town of Mauch Chunk, PA realized it needed a tourist attraction. The town asked the Thorpe Family for Jim's body with the stipulation that they would rename the town Jim Thorpe and provide Jim with a nice grave/park combination located in the city. The family agreed and Jim was moved to what would be renamed Jim Thorpe, PA.
Jim rests above ground in a marble tomb. Pictures are etched into the tomb showing Jim as a Olympic athlete, football player, basketball player, baseball player, and riding horseback in full native dress (Jim was a Native American).
The casket itself rests on a mound of dirt comprised of soil from his native Oklahoma and from the stadium in Stockholm where he participated in the 1912 Olympics. After watching Jim perform in the Olympics Sweden's King Gustav V declared Jim "the greatest athlete in the world".
In additon to the grave itself there is a small area to the left of the casket complete with an artsy sculpture [titled "The Spirit of Thunder and Lightning."] All around the sculpture you can read about Jim's life and accomplishments.
Even though the town of Jim Thope wanted Jim's body to generate tourist interest, it didn't seem to work. While there were hundreds of people in the town of Jim Thorpe proper for some art festival, we were the only ones at the park for the hour or so it took to eat lunch and take pictures.[Greg Brown, 04/24/2001]
Once forgotten under a large pink marble mausoleum, the body of Jim Thorpe is now the subject of an Olympian tug-of-war. Perhaps spurred by recent publicity associated with various "100 Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century" programs, Oklahoma, his home state, is lobbying to get Thorpe's body back from Pennsylvania.... [02/18/2001] Complete News Story
According to a story this week in the Allentown (PA) Morning Call, "There is something intriguing about the large trunk that is on display at 'Remembering Mauch Chunk,' an exhibit at the railroad station in Jim Thorpe, PA. It's made of solid wood and has a round top like a treasure chest of pirate gold.... [05/18/1997] Complete News Story