Jim Thorpe is the county seat of Carbon County in the state of Pennsylvania. It is officially defined as a borough with a population of 4,781 (as of 2010). The town is actually fondly called by its residents as the “Switzerland of America” because of its mountainous location combined with picturesque scenery. It also is popular for its architecture. But perhaps the most ideal tourism distinction of Jim Thorpe, PA is the fact that it is the “Gateway to the Poconos.”
Located in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, it is approximately 45 miles south of Wilkes-Barre and about 31 miles north of Allentown, which happens to be a major city in the Lehigh Valley area. It is likewise strategically located near the center of Carbon County.
Going back to its geological history, there were two shorelines of the Lehigh River which were occupied by the towns of Mauch Chunk and East Maucch Chunk in the 19th century. These communities were located on the bottom of an old river-fed tarn, particularly a mountain lake which happened to fill the valley on the west bank and then covered flatlands on the eastern side. Meanwhile, the muddy bottom of that high tarn created a level region, where settlements became flat lands on either bank of the Lehigh area.
Based on data provided by the United States Census Bureau, the borough of Jim Thorpe covers an area of 14.9 square miles. Land retains 14.6 square miles while water is only 0.3 miles. Therefore, only about 2% of the town is water.
The borough is about 3 miles north of Lehighton, below the Lehigh Gap, which happens to sunder Bear Mountain, this time on the east bank from the ridge of the remarkable Mauch Chunk Mountain. It is also about 4 miles east of Nesquehoning; a steep grade and around the bend of U.S. 209 South.
Furthermore, Jim Thorpe has elevations that range in the river slack water at 540 feet above sea level when compared to the upper or higher streets of the town. Likewise, the elevation of the borough of Jim Thorpe ranges from 540 feet at Hazard Square and Broadway to about 1,700 feet above sea level northeast of the borough center; or specifically in close proximity to the Penn Forest Township line.