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.

For more information,

Saving Our Sanctuaries

Watercolor print of St Mark's and historic Race Street
Former Jim Thorpe artist David Price donates $16,000 in signed prints to help save St. Marks.

What a somber afternoon. If ever there was a day to think about saving our sacred sanctuaries, the treasures they hold and the connections generations of our families have had to them, today is that day.

On April 15, 2019, the Monday of Holy Week, a time when even twice-a-year-Mass-attending Christians flock toward their own churches, we gasped in horror and sadness as the spire of the legendary Notre Dame Cathedral collapsed in flames into the 12th century landmark house of faith and history. 

While our hearts go out to those that prayed and sang hymns in the street hoping for a miracle to halt the destruction, we are counting our blessings here in Jim Thorpe. Our own grand sanctuary – St. Marks Episcopal Church, although still in jeopardy, there is still time to save the National Historic Landmark and its treasures from damage and destruction. It’s not too late to stop the Susquehanna Street Project.

The estimated $14 million county office and county vehicle parking garage project proposes to excavate 40 feet into the Flagstaff Mountain, just yards away from the irreplaceable Louis C. Tiffany windows and the church’s foundation, which is the mountain itself.

Vibrations in the bedrock layers from the excavation and construction increase the possibility of damage to masonry, plaster and glass.

The Save Our Sanctuaries (SOS) Committee is working hard to prevent this from happening through community awareness and, if necessary, legal action.

The Carbon County Commissioners voted last week to cancel project contracts due to a delay from an appeal of the Borough of Jim Thorpe’s conditional approval of the project. The county solicitor made it clear that this is only a delay and they intend to rebid the project once the appeal is settled.

The SOS Committee is planning several fundraisers to help educate the public and cover legal expenses.

The committee is pleased to announce fine artist David Price has donated 80 signed Christmas Eve on Race Street prints valued at $16,000 to help the committee raise funds to protect St. Marks Church, from which he drew inspiration, and Stop the Susquehanna Project. Donors giving $200 or more will receive a print blessed and embossed with the sanctified nineteenth century Seal of St. Marks.

Price described the church in a letter, “ Richard Upjohn’s country gothic masterpiece with its Romanesque stair and lofty octagonal tower reaching high above the valley is a staggering edifice—one set apart from the more modest stone structures of Penn’s Woods.  Hanging precariously from the side of a mountain, the church is renowned for, the splendor of its Tiffany windows, Minton tile floor and reredos copied from Queen Victoria’s private chapel at Windsor. With its connections to New York and Bethlehem, it is unquestionably the jewel in the crown of what is often referred to as the Heritage Corridor.”

Price is a fine artist who lived in the Stone Row for 30 years and was a member of St. Marks for seven years. His watercolors and etchings of St Marks were done while he was an F. Lammott Belin Fellow. A number of these pieces were selected by Judith O’Toole of Wilkes University’s Sordoni Gallery to hang in the Washington offices of former US Representative Paul Kanjorski.

For more information or to donate, call 570-657-0198 or visit, https://sos-cc.info/

Love is in the air in Jim Thorpe

Roses and champagne at Times House

The best part of operating the Times House is being privileged to be a part of celebrations – part of a person’s, a couple’s, a family’s history.

This past weekend Chris and I were excited to host two honeymooning/mini-mooning couples, two folks celebrating birthdays and other couples enjoying romantic getaways right here on historic Race Street.

On Saturday, we’ll attend the wedding of a young woman for whom I waited to be born so fervently that I can remember what I wore, where I went and what I was doing on the day she was born. After her early years, I didn’t see her very much and didn’t participate in a lot of her celebrations for a variety of reasons. However, as she walks down the aisle, I’ll remember that day and the joy her birth brought to her family.

As innkeepers not as local to family these days, we don’t get to host or attend as many functions as we once did – all the more reason, we enjoy helping our extended family of guests celebrate.

In October, we’ll celebrate 10 years of inn-keeping at the Times House. During that time, we’ve been blessed to be a part of countless birthdays, anniversaries, proposals, honeymoons, and served as a home base for brides and grooms before and after the wedding. One couple even exchanged vows just themselves in their suite.

On Sunday, Chris and I will celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. We also honeymooned in our beautiful Jim Thorpe and are thrilled to have the opportunity to have others fall in love with the town the way we have.

SOS Beach Dance Party this weekend

beach blue sky cheerful clouds

Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

Happy first day of Spring!  Just in time, SOS – Save Our Sanctuaries/Stop the Susquehanna Street Project is hosting a beach-themed Good Vibrations Dance Party at the Mauch Chunk Ballroom, 41 W. Broadway, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 23.

St. Marks Episcopal Church Tiffany window
Photos: Lou Manna

Proceeds will add to the group’s legal fund coffers as they fight to protect the interests of the community and St. Marks Episcopal Church from possible damaging vibrations caused by Carbon County’s proposed Susquehanna project. Planned excavation of the mountain for the county vehicle only parking garage and office space is just yards from irreplaceable windows executed by Louis C. Tiffany and the church’s foundation, which is the mountain itself.Bricks on mountain foundation of St. Mark's Episcopal Church

So all you surfer girls and boys, dig out your flip-flops Ray-Bans and Hawaiian shirts for a night of summer fun, as DJ Dave Gasker sets off on a Surfin’ Safari to Margaritaville and back, helping to bring good vibrations and protecting St. Mark’s from possible bad ones.

Tickets: $15 in advance; $20 at the door. Click for tickets and more information.

If you’d like to join in the fight to protect St. Marks, visit the GoFundMe page.

Two weekends of Irish fun in Jim Thorpe

Irish eyes keep smiling.

While the Carbon St. Patrick’s Parade won’t be making its way down Broadway next month, the Jim Thorpe Tourism Agency (JTTA) invites locals and visitors alike to celebrate their Celtic roots with its Inaugural Irish Heritage Festival on March 9-10 and 16-17.

Goers donning their finest Irish accessories can kick up their heels and enjoy strolling musicians both weekends including the Faculty Brass and the Bethlehem-based Mackay Pipe Band’s drums and bagpipes will echo through town on Sunday, March 10.

The Mauch Chunk Opera House, 14 W. Broadway, will present two evenings of Celtic performances including the Tartan Terrors on Saturday, March 9 and the Kilmaine Saints, who will kick off St. Patrick’s Day weekend a little early on Friday, March 15.

The luck of the Irish will be with you when you purchase a Pot-of-Gold Passport, available in advance, online at jimthorpe.org/irish for $15. The passport will unlock special discounts including $5 off Mauch Chunk Opera House shows, March 8 through March 17, menu items at local restaurants and pubs, plus 17 percent off at all participating shops. The Mauch Chunk Museum and Cultural Center, 41 W. Broadway, will be open with a special discount for Passport holders.

The Stabin Museum and Café Arielle, 268 W. Broadway, will host a Youth Celtic Fiddle Showcase and Competition on Saturday March 9, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. More details to follow.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church will hold an Irish-themed brunch on Saturday, March 16, from 10 a.m. until noon.  Come back to Race Street wearing your tartans Saturday night at 8 p.m. for a Kilt Party and Best Legs Contest at Stone Row Pub and Eatery, 45-47 Race St.

On Sunday, March 17, Café Arielle will offer a Celtic Brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring live music.

Be sure to check out facebook.com/jimthorpeirishfest/  page for new and updated events. Book your stay at the Times House and you’ll be within walking distance to all of the fun.

For more information on all things Jim Thorpe, visit www.jimthorpe.org