Category Archives: travel

Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe, PA


Jim Thorpe competing in the Stockholm Olympics, 1912

Jim Thorpe is considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern times. After winning gold in both the decathlon and pentathlon in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, King Gustav V of Sweden said to Thorpe, “You sir, are the greatest athlete in the world.”

Thorpe was a collegiate All-American, NFL All-Pro & charter member of the Professional Football Hall of Fame, and played baseball with three different MLB teams. He also played for a traveling professional basketball team.


Jim Thorpe Olympic statue near Jim Thorpe, PA

When in Pennsylvania for hockey, we traveled through Jim Thorpe, PA. Originally founded as Mauch Chunk, the community made a deal with Jim Thorpe’s widow in 1953. After Thorpe’s funeral in Shawnee, OK, city officials of Mauch Chunk bought his remains from his third wife, and Thorpe’s body was shipped to Pennsylvania without the rest of the family’s knowledge.


Jim Thorpe’s tomb

I had mixed feelings about the monument to Thorpe in Penn. On one hand, the tribute, if a bit dated and weather-worn, was well done and seemed sincere. On the other hand, it was hard to get past the fact that Thorpe has become a road side attraction. Of all the turn-offs I’ve taken traveling, this one was as surreal as any.


Thorpe’s football statue at the turnout/monument

Upon receiving Thorpe’s body, the communities of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk merged and were renamed Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. His tomb was built on a mound of dirt from his native Oklahoma and from the Stockholm Olympic Stadium, where he earned international fame.

In 2010, son Jack Thorpe sued in Federal Court to have his father’s remains returned to Oklahoma. After several court rulings favoring both sides, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 refused to hear the case, effectively ending the suit and leaving Thorpe’s remains in Pennsylvania. Jack Thorpe died in 2011.


Snowmelt


Reading Royals

Santander Arena
Reading, Pennsylvania


Reading Royals Logo

While in Pennsylvania, we caught an ECHL game in Reading, with the Royals facing the Railers of Worcester, Mass.
Santander, is a nice rink, and I bought a pair of tickets online while riding into PA. Technology has its advantages, until someone hacks your information.


Reading Royals take on Worcester Railers

It wasn’t the Royals best night, as the Railers scored twice in the final five minutes to take a 3-1 lead. Worcester would then add an empty netter, for the 4-1 win.


He shoots! He scored!

Two highlights for the Royals: Matt Wilkins skated in his 100th game, and Jack Riley made his professional debut.
A highlight for the Curator: Jack Randolph, the Duluth native, and former University of Nebraska Omaha player, was now skating for the Worcester Railers.
Author’s highlight: I received a phone call today from a representative of Royal Hockey. He wanted to know how the experience was in Reading, whether I liked the seats, etc. I do not think I have ever had a hockey team call me up before, to see if I had a good time. I assume that they would like me to buy upcoming playoff tickets, but I was never asked to do so. A pretty impressive tactic from the Reading Royals.

And yes, we had a great time.


Railers logo added for the Curator


Engine #8


Fasbender Medical Clinic

The Fasbender Clinic building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1957. It is located along Pine Street in Hastings, Minnesota. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is currently a Edward Jones financial office.

The Fasbender Clinic is known for its copper roof, which wraps around the building, and extends almost to the ground in several places.


Minnehaha Falls

3/4 of the Frozen Foursome visited Minnehaha Park, making the short hike down to the falls. The park was established in 1889, when the city of Minneapolis bought the area on behalf of the State of Minnesota. At the time, only New York had established a state park. Currently, the park includes 170 acres.

Minnehaha Creek flows 22 miles from Lake Minnetonka to the Mississippi River, near Fort Snelling. The main attraction is the 53′ waterfall, which is the most photographed site in Minnesota. The name Minnehaha comes from the Dakota word for waterfall.

Minnehaha Falls was a favorite subject of early photographers, but the falls gained international fame in 1855 when Henry Wordsworth Longfellow published his celebrated poem, The Song of Hiawatha.


Hiawatha & Minnehaha statue alongside Minnehaha Creek

In the poem, Wordsworth tells the fictional tale of the Ojibwe warrior Hiawatha and his love for the Dakota woman Minnehaha. Wordsworth never visited the falls, but was inspired by Alexander Hesler’s daguerreotype of the falls.


Alexander Hesler’s daguerreotype of Minnehaha Falls, 1852


Rails West

It was time to leave New York, and head west. I had enough of flying for the time being, and decided that a more relaxed ride on Amtrak was in order. It’s possible that the idea backfired a bit. I had received some unwanted news just prior to boarding the train, and nothing allows you to sit & stew quite like a long train ride. Still, the Lake Shore Limited was a nice ride, although much of it overnight and in the dark.

I had to switch trains in Chicago, and spent a decent sized layover in Union Station. It’s a beautiful station, but I spent much of my time below grade. The people watching kept me entertained. A pigeon flew into the food court, which caused one of two reactions: 1) A child would be fascinated by the sudden appearance of the bird, and follow its path from table to table as it searched for dropped food. 2) An adult would spot the pigeon, which caused an immediate expression of horror, which was followed by trying to put as much distance between themselves and the rogue pigeon.

I spotted a teenage boy reading Steinbeck. He never saw nor reacted to the pigeon. He was probably reading “Of Mice and Men” for school, but he was so engrossed in the story, that he kept waving away questions from his siblings, like someone absentmindedly brushing off an annoying fly. It was a good sight to see, and it made my morning.


Milwaukee

I was aboard the Empire Builder leaving Chicago. It’s an easier train to explore, with its two decks and afternoon departure from Union Station. The click-clack of the steel wheels on the rails, and the gentle swing of the train cars had started to do its work. The edge from the night before had dissipated. I played jazz through my headphones all across Wisconsin, which didn’t hurt matters any either. I had joined the dining car as we crossed the Mississippi River, and eventually succumbed to the “Origin Question”. Looking back, I probably should have said, “Minnesota”, when asked where I was from. Instead, I answered “Fairbanks”, and the questions flew from there. It’s quite hard to put that Genie back in the bottle once it is released, although I did make an attempt. Eventually, I warmed up to the questions, as they were genuinely interested in our state, and told a few stories that I had never shared before.