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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Mauch Chunk: 1940

Mauch Chunk: 1940

August 1940. "Polish family living on High Street in Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania." Medium format nitrate negative by Jack Delano for the FSA. View full size.

 

My Donegal, Ireland, ancestral home on High Street

This was the house my great-grandfather and his son James built, and my mother was born there. It's on the steep slope of High Street. My family lost the house during the Depression -- couldn't afford to pay the $45 tax bill. Beautiful town. Wish they could get rid of all the power lines -- the only thing marring the nice scenery. And they should change the name back to Mauch Chunk. Nothing against the wonderful athlete, I just love the original Indian name, and we're native Mauch Chunkers in my family.

Thorpe 2010

well almost, it's 12/13/09 today.

Jim Thorpe and the surrounding towns are all separated by hills like those pictured. These people moved between towns by cutting across these steep hills and the History of bloodshed was written in these woods.

Plenty of B&B's and dinner theatre in an old mansion add to the area's charm. This pic is from a restaurant above the town.

Molly Maguires

This is indeed a charming town in a lovely setting. In the late 1800's however, it was the site of violent labor conflicts involving the coal mines. This served as a basis for the Sherlock Holmes novel "Valley of Fear" as well as the Sean Connery film "The Molly Maguires."

All in the past, well worth a visit now -- lots to do.

Particulates

You can tell by looking at the siding and other surfaces that the whole town was covered in a layer of coal dust and soot. Bet dusting inside was a hopeless chore.

Just last Friday

I stopped stock-still when I came across this post. JUST LAST FRIDAY my sweetheart and I decided to take a ride up to Jim Thorpe (we live just outside Philadelphia), and took a bunch of pictures of the lovely town in Pennsylvania's Poconos, and had a marvelous time walking the streets and taking in the amazing architecture and Old World charm, and admiring the staggering natural beauty of the surrounding mountains and waterways. The Carbon County Prison would be another great shot to include on your site, if you have one available.

I was speechless to see this here, right on the heels of my own great trip to that historic place, with its convoluted heritage and unique feel. I'm glad you posted this ... thanks!

A Wonderful Town

I've been fortunate enough to have been able to visit Jim Thorpe many times over the past 15 years. It is one of those towns that don't seem to have changed much since the 1940s. With the exception of a healthy tourist trade.

What kind of Omama was that?

She let the grandson get photographed without his shirt buttoned, she didn't slap the girl's fingers out of her mouth, and the porch was not swept until it glowed. She sure wasn't like any of the Eastern European grandmothers I grew up around. They ran a tight ship, and I'm sure their stuffed cabbage was just as good.

Stanley, pre-Stella

Is that Stanley Kowalski a few years before he grew up and found Stella? He's certainly the right ethnicity, and has the same swagger and wardrobe.

[Is that Stanley's bellybutton? - Dave]

The church in the background

can be seen in this Panoramio photo:

http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/865642.jpg

G'won and git on offa this here porch!

We don' needa no Fuller brushes - no 'cyclopedias neither!
G'won - git!

More Speculation

I bet there is stuffed cabbage cooking in the kitchen and nobody is taking responsibility for knocking the head off the broken Santa on the floor.

Hey, it's great aunt Stella

with nephew Franush and little Sophie! I swear to you my grandfather and uncle worked the coal mines in Bradenville, Pa., many, many moons ago. When I was just a little kid, he told me the Statue of Liberty was Polish too, and that its real name was Stoshu Libertski. I bet Mrs. Swollen Ankles was born in Poland. I feel like I know these people's souls. Thank you for bringing us back to "yesterday once more."

[Shooby do lang lang. - Dave]

Grandma's Room

has a nice view of the smokestacks. Nice and airy, if not roomy.

Kinky!

That's all I can say. That dude likes the older ladies.

That guy

was off to war within the next couple of years, I bet.

aka Jim Thorpe

"Following the 1953 death of Olympic medalist 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."

 
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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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