IN JIM THORPE, PENNSYLVANIA
often, a town’s identity can be found at its local watering hole.
Though a town may have many great places to get a drink, there is
sometimes that one special place that seems to be the focus of
attention and can offer a peek into the area’s character and
Thorpe, PA that place is called the Molly
The Inn at Jim Thorpe is the town’s historic hotel. Built
it’s uniquely French Quarter feel makes it a focal point for the
downtown area. Nestled into the corner of this beautiful building
a pub whose namesake define the cultural history of coal mining and the
labor struggle found in the entire area. Whether it is the name,
location, or the great interior of the tavern itself, all roads in Jim
Thorpe seem to lead to the Molly Maguires.
THORPE'S IRISH HEADQUARTERS
who were the Molly Maguires? History has lost most of the details
to their story, and much of it was shrouded in secrecy. There is
some who question whether such a group ever existed. But
what we do
know is that there were groups of coalminers who fought their companies
and attempted to unionize the labor force. One such group, many
whom were hung in
when it was known as Mauch Chunk, is now
known in history by that name. It is their legacy that defines
unique Irish-American heritage of this little town.
Being a miner in the middle of the 19th century was such an
unimaginable hardship that it is almost impossible to comprehend it
WARNING TO THE BOSS OF THE MINE
seemed to be more unusual to make it through the experience
unharmed then to wind up crippled, diseased or dead. But despite
nightmarish conditions, these men and their families were paid very
little and were made to live in awful poverty. They were also
to live in company owned towns and were paid in currency only good at
company owned stores. If they were injured or killed, often times
their small children were forced to take their place or they would be
literally thrown out of their homes with nothing.
It was a situation ripe for unionization and labor struggles.
the corporations were intent on keeping their situation locked within
the tight grip of an iron fist. But if history teaches us
is that desperate people will take desperate action and that is exactly
what happened in Mauch Chunk. Violence erupted and people were
on both sides of the struggle.
attempt to break up the Mollies and the movement associated with
that name, Franklin Gowen of the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron
Company hired Allen Pinkerton’s detective agency to bring the matter to
an end. After years of investigation, infiltration and more
10 men were arrested. They were tried, many in the most laughable
trials, and hung on June 21, 1877, four of them were executed in Mauch
Chunk. As a result, the Molly Maguires, or at least the men hung
their name, became martyrs to the cause of labor injustices.
It is this story, which is one that should not be lost to history,
that you can find the very essence of Irish culture in this small town
deep into Pennsylvania’s eastern hills. It is what gives the
St. Patrick’s Day celebration a serious and unique thread of
authenticity not found in other places. And it haunts this town
ghost reminding everyone of the struggles and hardships that took place
BAR AT MOLLY'S
mystery surrounds the story of the Molly Maguires. But what we do
know for certain is that the people who worked in the mines and their
families were desperate people forced to live in a desperate
situation. The town of Jim Thorpe has rightfully
decided to honor
their legacy in many ways and the naming of this wonderful tavern is
yet another of those tributes. This important hub of
something that can be said about every great local bar, is in itself
another fitting tribute to these people and those who fought for their
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