Monday, December 16, 2019

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Jim Thorpe Memorial

Posted by Stu On April - 15 - 2009

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I often looked at maps and wondered why there was a town named Jim Thorpe and just who the guy was. Now that I live only about 20 minutes away from the town, I decided to find out.
Turns out Jim Thorpe was a very prominent athlete in the early part of the 20th century, so prominent that Sweden’s King Gustav V said to Mr. Thorpe at the 1912 Summer Olympics, “You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world.”

Jim Thorpe died in 1953. Also during this time, the town of Mauch Chunk, PA, was struggling to attract tourists. A deal was struck between the town and Thorpe’s widow. Jim’s remains were moved to Mauch Chunk and a memorial was built for him. In addition, Mauch Chunk was renamed to Jim Thorpe.
There has been controversy over the years because some of his descendants and his home state, Oklahoma, want his remains sent back home.

Jim Thorpe (the man) had an impressive athletic career involving numerous sports, Olympic titles, controversy, and stripping of said titles, among other things. I’m not going to get into all of that here; look it up if you’re interested. Let’s get on to the memorial.

The area of Jim Thorpe’s memorial is decent-sized, but it looks neglected. Some of the signs are showing wear, and I don’t know how popular the spot was in the past, but I’ve driven by it numerous times since my initial visit and have only ever seen one other person there. Jim’s grave is in the middle, and to its sides are a statue of him and many signs telling his history and achievements.

I’m not sure just how effective it’s been as a tourist attraction (from the looks of it not much), but it’s still a quirky roadside attraction.

Popularity: 8% [?]

Sugarloaf Massacre Monument & Grave

Posted by Stu On January - 27 - 2009

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Found along Walnut Avenue in Conyngham is a small, seemingly overlooked Revolution-era monument. Near this site on September 11, 1780, Captain Daniel Klader and his men were ambushed and slaughtered by a group of Tories and Seneca. Chief Roland Montour was also among the mob.
That Montour name sound familiar? It should. Just 2 years earlier, his sister-in-law started a massacre of her own.

So the monument itself is pretty boring, you probably think. I, to an extent, agree. Good thing there’s more.

There is a very small trail behind the marker leading into the woods. The trail goes perilously close to a house and I was initially hesitant to follow it. Good thing I did, because at its end is Danny.

The rest of his men are supposed to be buried nearby. This was the only stone I saw though.

Popularity: 8% [?]

Bucksport “Haunted” Grave

Posted by Stu On December - 27 - 2008

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This is just dumb. Really, really dumb. There’s a tombstone. A shape that somewhat resembles a leg shows up on it one day. Somehow, this gives birth to a ridiculous story about killing witches.

The grave stone is that of Colonel Jonathan Buck, the guy who founded Bucksport. After this shape showed up on his stone, a story started circulating that it was due to a curse put on him by a witch. Supposedly Buck had a witch executed, despite there being no historical records of anyone ever being killed in Maine for witchcraft. Buck was by all accounts a good guy and not one to start killing alleged witches.

I often wonder why ridiculous stories like this won’t go away. Here at least, there’s a reason:

That’s right. There’s actually a sign next to the gravesite that writes out the whole dumb thing. What annoys me is that the sign pretty much says the legend in nonsense, so why bother having it there? That’s not going to make the story go away anytime soon.

Popularity: 6% [?]

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavor Graveyard

Posted by Stu On December - 27 - 2008

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Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory is quite a popular tourist destination in Vermont. But while most people go there to sample flavors, see ice cream being made, or to check out the gift shop, I had a different agenda. Up on a hill a bit to the side of the factory is a graveyard, one unlike any other on the site, for there lie over 20 flavors that have passed on. Each “headstone” has a pretty silly epitaph written on it. While some flavors sound appealing and made me wonder why they flopped, others are way more obvious. Peanuts & Popcorn? Really?
Their “birth” and “death” dates are also noted.

View of the factory from the graveyard.

Popularity: 5% [?]

Grave of Aquila Henning

Posted by Stu On September - 27 - 2008

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Located in Albrightsville, PA, is one of the more unusual graves I’ve come across, and I’ve seen some interesting stuff – full size Mercedes replicas, graves with windows, etc. This stone actually tells a story, or at least one version of it. Pictured on the stone is Mr. Henning with a hunting rifle. Hidden in the bushes behind him are several men, who according to his side of the tale, ambushed and killed him. The stone does not have “died” next to his death date; “shot” is the word of choice. Also worth noting is that the illustration faces away from the road, so you have to walk around the grave to see it. From the road it just looks like a big headstone.

Nobody is sure what really happened that day. The only thing that is definitely known is that Robert Wilkinson shot and killed Aquila (the Hennings and Wilkinsons had somewhat of a family feud going on). Supposedly Aquila shot one of his rival Harry Wilkinson’s hunting dogs, and the mob killed him for it. Another variation claims the mob just plain shot him; he didn’t kill any of their dogs. Still another claims that Aquila was aiming his gun at Harry, and Robert felt he had no choice but to shoot him to save his brother’s life.

Whatever the case, this is an interesting sight to see. Mr. Wilkinson actually sued the makers of the tombstone because he felt its depiction of Aquila as an innocent was a flatout lie.

Popularity: 5% [?]

Grave of Margaret Dillinger

Posted by Stu On April - 27 - 2008

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Yet another find due to geocaching. I must admit I have no idea who she was or if there is any significance here or not. All I know is that the stone is written in German, and it is by itself in a wooded lot. A few houses line one side of the woods.
It looks like there were other graves here at some point, but the stones have since crumbled. My best guess is that this was a family plot. I’ve searched genealogical records and have come up empty.
This is the first non-English grave I’ve come across. It is very hard to read, so I edited the photos to make it so you can somewhat see the wording.

Smashed stones directly in front of and around Margaret’s:

Popularity: 3% [?]

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