is a borough in Carbon County, Pennsylvania, USA. The population was 4,804 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Carbon County. The town has been called the "Switzerland of America" due to the picturesque scenery, mountainous location, and architecture; as well as the "Gateway to the Poconos."
(), was dervied from the phrase "sleeping bear" in the language of the native Lenni Lenape people. text described from the local Bear Mountain which resembled a sleeping bear, was later founded in 1818 by the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company. It rapidly became a railroad and coal-shipping center, and was home to the Mauch Chunk Switchback Gravity Railroad, generally acknowledged as the first roller coaster in the United States. The city was the location of the trial of the Molly Maguires in 1876, which resulted in the hanging of four men found guilty of murder. The population in 1900 was 4,020; in 1910, it was 3,952.
Following the 1953 death of renowned athlete and Olympic medal winner Jim Thorpe, the boroughs of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk merged and adopted the name of Jim Thorpe in hopes of attracting attention and tourism to bolster the local post-industrial economy. The township bought the athlete's remains from his third wife and erected a monument to the Oklahoma native, who began his sports career as a student in Carlisle, Pennsylvania (2 hours southwest, near Harrisburg).
The history of the borough is inscribed in the architecture that makes up its many 19th century styles. Former resident and architectural historian Hans Egli noted the vast range of architectural styles: Federalist, Greek Revival, Second Empire, Romanesque Revival, Queen Anne and Richardsonian Romanesque. Most of these architectural examples remained intact beneath aluminum or vinyl siding that has since been removed.
Robert Venturi, renowned Philadelphia architect, conducted a little-known planning study in the 1970s that attempted to understand the dynamics of historicism and tourism, notions that have come into their own in contemporary times. While Venturi's planning study was unique at the time, it has since become a critical factor in Jim Thorpe's rebound as a functioning and economically stable community. Jim Thorpe benefits from tourism initially spurred on by the celebration of its old architecture, which has developed new industries and modern creations. Two of these relative newcomers to the Jim Thorpe area are paintball and white water rafting.