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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • A CHRISTMAS JOKE WITH A POINT TO IT

Mauch Chunk: 1940

Mauch Chunk: 1940

August 1940. "Street scene in Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania." Paging Edward Hopper. Medium-format negative by Jack Delano. View full size.

 

F.O.E.

Fraternal Order of Eagles?

relatives from here

My maternal grandmother and her family lived in Tamaqua, near Jim Thorpe. Her brothers and father were all coal miners for generations. I still have family in the area.

Why did they want to visit here?

I can understand why people go to Niagara Falls as tourists, but what was the visitors' attraction to Mauch Chunk in the past?

I don't understand the reason for seven grand hotels, since I don't see falls or rivers or lakes or breath-taking mountains nearby.

Maw Chunk

My, Jim Thorpe looks so clean, prosperous...productive. These days it's one of those "quaint" tourist towns--mountain bikers doing the Lehigh River gorge in the summer and skiers doing the local trails in the winter. For those who actually live there, life is pretty depressing in Carbon County.

I live about thirty miles away in Nazareth. We pronounce Jim Thorpe's former name as "Maw Chunk".

Second only to Niagara Falls

From the local history website: "During its golden era in the late 1800s the town was known as the wealthiest town - per capita - in America. The industry of tourism grew in importance alongside coal and railroads, and Mauch Chunk boasted seven grand hotels to handle all the visitors. Mauch Chunk became a tourist destination second only to Niagara Falls." It's a wonderful little town to visit during the summer or around Christmas. All you sports fans need to ensure you visit Jim Thorpe's grave site on Hwy. 903.

Name Change Aside

The olde name makes me want a candy bar for some reason.

Accurate Hopper Reference

Congratulations on your Edward Hopper reference in the caption. A number of Shorpy commenters have invoked Hopper when the photo in question shows a solitary figure in a window or at a table. Hopper lovers know that it's all about the light.

Sign Here

How come Coca-Cola didn't outbid Breyer's Ice Cream for the Drug Store hanging sign?

Handprint

The jail in town is the home of the handprint that can't be removed. When some of the Molly Maguires, Irish miners, were hanged there in 1877 one of the condemned placed his handprint on the wall and stated that as proof of his innocence it could never be removed. It's still there today after many paint coverings of the area.

In the mountains

Jim Thorpe was a town dependent on (anthracite) coal and the railroad. Like other towns in Pennsylvania, it went through a period of decline when those two industries took a nose dive. Since then it's dusted itself off and is today a charming and friendly little town to visit. By the way my family pronounced it "munk chunk" although people in parts of Pennsylvania have some peculiar language variations.

Great photo by the way. During its coal dust and sooty past the street could've been as gray as seen in the photograph!

Ragtop

I'm digging the 2nd car from the bottom

Now if someone

would tell us just how to pronounce Mauch Chunk.

[Most sources say something along the lines of "mawk chunk." -tterrace]

Nothing against Jim Thorpe...

...but Mauch Chunk is an awesome name. I would have loved to put that down as my home address on all the paperwork I have filled out over the years.

Really great looking

1939 (I think) Packard parked diagonally there, 2nd from the bottom.

Now named Jim Thorpe

Found it!

It looks very similar today, outside 31 Broadway, in the town of Jim Thorpe, PA, which is what Mauch Chunk changed their name to, in the mid-1950s.

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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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