THE MAUCH CHUNK MUSEUM & CULTURAL CENTER
"THE STORY OF MAUCH CHUNK"
(The Town that Changed its Name to Jim Thorpe)
The Exhibition leads the visitor through the ages from the geological formation of coal in prehistoric times to the present.
It focuses on such topics as the Lenape Indians, the discovery and mining of "black diamonds" (coal), the settlement of early Mauch Chunk, the scramble to build waterways and railroads to transport coal to eastern seaboard cities, the unique Switchback Railroad, Mauch Chunk in its industrial golden age, its decline and revival as the town of Mauch Chunk becomes today's Jim Thorpe-repository for the body of the great Native American Olympian. The theme is struggle, prosperity, decline and revival; the legacy, the architectural and natural beauty that is today's Jim Thorpe.
The story of Mauch Chunk is brought to life by video, images, artifacts, and four working models:
- A water filled, working model of Josiah White's Bear Trap Lock, a collapsiblewater powered lock which permitted trains of coal arks to travel down the Lehigh River.
- A standard lock on the Lehigh Canal
- An operable miter lock and drop gate lock on the Lehigh Canal.
- A 30 ft replica of Mauch Chunk's famous Switchback Gravity Railroad which progressed from a coal carrier to a passenger carrier of such magnitude that Mauch Chunk, "The Switzerland of America," became second to Niagara Falls as a 19th century tourist destination.