Return to Mauch Chunk
Perhaps this would be an opportune time to consider returning the name of Jim Thorpe to its original name: Mauch Chunk. The Thorpe children are attempting to have his remains returned to Oaklahoma for a burial consistent with Indian custom.
Although a great athlete, as locals know, Jim Thorpe had absolutely no ties to the area nor did he make any contributions. Return his remains! Do not dispute the court ruling.
The real heros of Mauch Chunk are innovators like Josiah White and Asa Packer. Their efforts, along with the hardworking citizens of historic Mauch Chunk, would be 'befuddled' by the 1954 decision to 'rename' the town after an athlete. Perhaps current residents do not even know that Jim Thorpe's third wife had approached Joseph Boyle, the 1950's Times-News publisher at that time, to change the name to Jim Thorpe to honor her husband.
Boyle waged a successful print campaign to convince Mauch Chunkers that this was a fine idea.
Now, almost 60 years later, the town of Jim Thorpe is enjoying increased tourism and economic revival, not because of anything done by the athlete but by efforts of current and past citizens.
Honor the Indian tribe that had originally referred to 'Bear Mountin' as Mauch Chunk; not a person that had no connection to the region. The request made by the Thorpe family to return his body to Oklahoma could be a 'win-win' for both parties involved: the Thorpe family will get the remains of their loved one back and the citizens of Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe) have an opportunity to honor their history.
Cynthia J. Karabinus