Happy Earth Day aka Don’t Mess With Our Mountain Day

Flagstaff Mountain becomes the foundation of St. Marks Episcopal Church at this spot.

We are blessed here in Jim Thorpe with incredible architecture and stunning landscapes of the Lehigh River and the three mountains that surround us. It’s the perfect spot to revel in Mother Nature and celebrate Earth Day. In fact, the annual Jim Thorpe Festival will be held this Saturday, April 27 – my next post will highlight the festivities.

Earth Day 2019 is also the perfect day to protect our beautiful mountains and ourselves from man-made threats to those landscapes.

As some of you may know, a proposed county construction project plans to excavate 40 feet into Flagstaff Mountain, just yards away from Tiffany windows and the foundation of St. Marks Episcopal Church, which is the mountain itself. The above photo, taken from my window, shows the exterior view of this National Historic Landmark and the spot where the mountain meets stone and brick.

This is the same mountain from which boulders as big as cars fell and crashed onto Route 209 in September 2017. It’s also the reason for a 13-month project to reign in the mountain, set to begin in the coming weeks.

A letter from the Director and Deputy Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Officer Andrea MacDonald cautioned Carbon County Commissioners against the project and explained, “The orientation of bedding layers in bedrock can increase the possibility of rockslides, collapse, and the transmission of vibrations that can damage masonry, plaster, and glass during demolition and construction.”

We’ve got to protect St. Marks, Flagstaff Mountain (as we are also built into the same mountain) and our town.

MacDonald also noted that beyond its historical and architectural significance as one of the best examples of Gothic Revival architecture designed by Richard Upjohn, St. Marks is “an important community landmark and iconic part of Jim Thorpe’s skyline. It is also one of the attractions that contributes to the community’s reputation as an internationally-renowned tourism destination, which has been a significant economic driver for the region for decades. The pride, stewardship, and commitment the community has made to preserving its history and leveraging it for economic development have made Jim Thorpe a model for small towns throughout the Commonwealth and nation.”

Tell the Carbon County Commissioners, No Susquehanna Street Project and No $13 million + in taxpayer money – for St. Marks, for our town and for our mountain.

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