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Upper Chunkers: 1940

Upper Chunkers: 1940

August 1940. "Women in Upper Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania." Medium-format negative by Jack Delano for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

        Mauch Chunk, a town whose name was "derived from the term Mawsch Unk (Bear Place) in the language of the native Munsee-Lenape Delaware peoples," was renamed Jim Thorpe in honor of the Olympic athlete after his death in 1953. Other aliases include "Switzerland of America" and "Gateway to the Poconos."


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Mauch Chunk was a gritty center of railroad activity back when Pennsylvania's anthracite was plentiful and in demand. Today thanks to its mountain location it has transformed itself into a clean, attractive, tourist-friendly town. Unfortunately not all of Pennsylvania's mining and manufacturing past has made a successful transition to the present.

She is not a boat

"Chunker" was also a name for the canal boats that carried the coal from this area to market.

Nice place to visit

Spent a week in the Poconos about 15 years ago and had a nice visit in Jim Thorpe. The Asa Packer Mansion there is one of the most interesting "old homes" I've ever visited, mainly because it's like it was 100 years ago, with all the old furniture and fixtures. It's not spiffed up like the Biltmore House in Asheville. The jail where they hanged members of the Molly Maguires is worth a visit, too.

The town with two names

Also known as Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

C'mon, C'mon, Mauch Chunk,

that's not a real name, is it?? is it???

In the dark

The reason these women look so pasty and depressed is likely because the sun only shines about three hours a day in most of the narrow defile now known as Jim Thorpe, PA. At some point the town became known as "America's Switzerland". It reminds me of a town one might find in southern West Virginia.

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