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While Jim Thorpe was pursuing gold medals, Mauch Chunk was bailing water

Published July 07. 2012 09:01AM

While Jim Thorpe was attaining legendary status for his performance at the Stockholm Olympics a century ago, many living in the town destined to take on his name in four more decades were recovering from a fierce storm that caused extensive flooding.

In the July 11 edition, a writer for the Mauch Chunk Daily Times called it "one of the most violent storms in the history of the town."

"It was a veritable cloud burst and the timid were scared almost to death," he stated. "Considerable damage was done principally to the streets which were torn up and plowed through by the torrents of water that took on the appearance of rivers. Telegraph and trolley wires were snapped off by the violent swinging occasioned by the wind storm.

"Trees and uprooted and limbs severed as slick as if done by a keen edge ax. In East Mauch Chunk which is noted for its shady tree beauty, the damage was considerable. Many shade and fruit trees were bodily uprooted while others were damaged by limbs being torn from them.

"Broadway, Mauch Chunk was not unlike a river. It was one sheet of water that even flowed over the pavements and into cellars. At the Opera House, which forms a junction point for all three wards, the flood was fierce. It carried everything portable before it and left an unsightly mass."

Here are some other more unusual stories that rated coverage in the Daily Times in July of 1912, during the time Jim Thorpe, the town's future namesake, was in Sweden gaining sports immortality.

Hunting with


The hunting of groundhogs with the use of dynamite is the latest in this part of the state where sportsmen seeking the elusive woodchuck come across holes where they suspect the little animals to be in hiding they no longer laboriously dig up the ground with picks and bars but simply place the dynamite and tear up the surface. Whether this method is legal is a question that has not yet been raised.

Grasshopper plague

Franklin and Towamensing Township farmers are complaining bitterly of a plague of grasshoppers that have swooped down on their farms suddenly and unexpectedly. They say the ground is completely covered with them and that nothing can be done to stay their ravages.

Jacob Arner of Harrity is losing nearly all his oats and grass and even potato stalks are disappearing. Dozens of other farmers are making a vain effort to save their crops from annihilation.

Frog hunting season

The bullfrog season is now on in earnest and many sportsmen have already been hunting the "bullies" since the season opened July 1st and many more will continue to hunt until the season closes on November 1st for the muscular hind legs of the frog are regarded as delectable and rare eating.

There is a large demand for frog legs at the big restaurants in the metropolitan cities during August and September and many fishermen will turn their entire attention to hunting frogs for market the next couple of weeks.

Afternoon tea

An innovation in passenger service has been introduced by the Lehigh Valley Railroad. It is the afternoon tea, served regularly on the Black Diamond Express to and from Buffalo.

A great number of Englishmen travel on this train and their fondness for tea suggested the present plan. But tea drinking, though still looked on as a British custom, has grown in favor among Americans in recent years, so that the beverage finds a general welcome among both native and foreign passengers. It is served in the parlor cars of the "Diamond" about four o'clock.

To stop nude bathing

Special officer Engleman of the Central Railroad has decided to break up the practice of men and boys swimming without suits in the Lehigh Canal opposite the Central station.

All violators will be arrested and prosecuted. Complaints have been made that a number of the bathers are guilty of indecent exposure.

Flagstaff shooting

Joseph Van Hoffman, who was accidentally shot at Flagstaff shooting gallery by Miss Harold of Roselle, N.J., was reported doing well at Palmerton Hospital.

Dr. Luther is to take an X-ray photo of the young man's abdomen this afternoon in order to locate the bullet but the doctor does not believe it will be necessary to operate for the removal of the bullet.

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