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Jim Thorpe is a borough and the county seat of Carbon County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The population was 4,781 at the 2010 census. The town has been called the "Switzerland of America" due to the picturesque scenery, mountainous location, and architecture; as well as the "Gateway to the Poconos." It is in eastern Pennsylvania about 80 miles (130 km) north of Philadelphia and 100 miles (160 km) west of New York City. This town is also historically known as the burial site for the body of Native American sports legend Jim Thorpe.
Jim Thorpe was founded in 1818 as Mauch Chunk , a name derived from the term Mawsch Unk (Bear Place) in the language of the native Munsee-Lenape Delaware peoples: possibly a reference to Bear Mountain, an extension of Mauch Chunk Ridge that resembled a sleeping bear, or perhaps the original profile of the ridge, which has since been changed heavily by 220 years of mining. The company town was founded by Josiah White and his two partners, founders of the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company (LC&N). The town would be the lower terminus of a gravity railroad, the Summit Hill & Mauch Chunk Railroad, which would bring coal to the head of the Lehigh Canal for transshipment to the Delaware River, 43 kilometres (26.7 mi) downstream. It would thereby connect LC&N's coal mines to Philadelphia, Trenton, New York City, and other large cities in New Jersey and Delaware, and by ocean to the whole East Coast.
The town grew slowly in its first decade, then rapidly became larger as a railroad and coal-shipping center. (The other large city with coal mining was Scranton, with a population of over 140,000.) Mauch Chunk is on a flat at the mouth of a right bank tributary (facing downstream) of the Lehigh River at the foot of Mount Pisgah.
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