Appeal Filed to Keep Jim Thorpe’s Remains in Jim Thorpe

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

JIM THORPE---The body of Jim Thorpe has been entombed at a memorial park in Carbon County for more than 50 years.

It was built in honor of the late Olympian after reaching an agreement with Thorpe's third wife.

Now, after nearly 60 years, the family wants his body returned to his Native American tribe in Oklahoma.

"Originally Oklahoma didn't want him. Why the family or part of the family waited until now to take him back to Oklahoma- I don't know. I think he should stay here," Tom Whare of Orwigsburg said.

According to the borough's attorney, an appeal was filed Monday with the Third Circut Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

The borough is arguing that a judge erred when he ruled the town amounts to a mueseum under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Prior to being named Jim Thorpe the area was the borough of Mauch Cunk and East Mauch Chunk. Both borough's decided to consolidate and rename the community after the olympian.

Thorpe's surviving sons have been fighting to move their father to Sac and Fox land in Central Oklahoma.

"These people were so good, and they spent some money and changed their name just to get him here.  I think he should stay here," Larry O'Rourke of Orwigsburg said.

In order to keep the remains of Jim Thorpe, in Jim Thorpe the borough has to wait for a court ruling.

The mayor of Jim Thorpe says they're paying for the appeal with taxpayer money.

The mayor said that they have already paid about $15,000 for the appeal.

"I don't really agree with using taxpayer money for the appeal," Stephanie Verme said.

Verme owns a restaurant named Moya along Race Street. She said she doesn't see a problem with the borough turning over Thorpe's remains.

"I don't think so. I think our town will survive regardless," Verme said.

Other businesses in the borough are doing what they can to help.

Some businesses are collecting money to help offset the cost of the borough's appeal.

Dan Hugos, co-owner of the Mauch Chunk Opera House said he stands behind using taxpayer dollars.

He is also prepared for what could happen if the borough loses the appeal.

"If that were to happen, we would accompany the body, we shake hands with the people that are going to take care of him for the next 60 years. Because, we know we did the job real well," Hugos said.