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10.29.2017

Jim Thorpe in Autumn: Beauty in the Poconos

The borough of Jim Thorpe is one of the most scenic places in the state. It reminds me of Silverton, and Durango, CO. People have referred to it as "Little Switzerland," and their comparisons are certainly earned. The historic architecture and natural beauty of this place, and the entire Lehigh Gorge region, are truly awesome. The bulk of the major architecture dates back to Gilded Age opulence. 
The historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Station. The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railroad launches from here, using Bethlehem Steel built coaches. This was once an area that was severely environmentally degraded, with an economy in shambles when the anthracite coal industry died. Now the town is home to many boutique shops, eateries, and historic tours. 

The stunning Carbon County Courthouse is both imposing and beautiful at the same time. It is the centerpiece of an incredible collection of buildings. 

Here is the historic Carbon County Prison, a place that played a major role in some of the greatest injustices to ever occur in the American judicial system. Twenty impoverished and exploited Irish-Catholic Immigrant coal miners were accused of being murderers on flimsy/non-existent evidence, and were executed. They had spoken up on the horrendous working conditions and were framed by the ruthless Pinkerton guards that would go on to complete other violent actions on the other side of the state during the massacre at the Homestead Strike. This Irish miners are now martyrs for the Labor Movement. Known as the Molly Maguires, they were held, and some were executed, at the Carbon County Jail, which is now a museum. The Old Jail Museum is fully restored and hosts tours. A handprint is said to be located on the wall of one of the cells from one of the executed Molly Maguires.


The tops of the gorge provide tremendous views. Be sure to hike the Glen Onoko Falls Trail, the Switchback Railway trail, and others, to get fantastic views of the Lehigh Gorge. It quickly becomes evident how this area became a major railroad destination in the Victorian Era, said to once eclipse the amount of visitors of Niagara Falls.
Lehigh Gorge and Jim Thorpe are spectacular places to check out. The history and natural beauty of this area is truly amazing. This is the gateway to the Poconos, with Hickory Run State Park being located nearby, and more.


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