While the gruesome faces of gargoyles are among the things that occupy our imaginations and scare us around Halloween, they can be found in Jim Thorpe year round at the Upper Mauch Chunk Cemetery.
There, fixed on the east side of the Memorial Chapel of the Resurrection, they watch over the graves of and monuments to the movers and shakers of Mauch Chunk including Asa Packer. The chapel itself was financed by Packer’s daughter, Mary Packer Cummings, who dedicated it to her sister Marion Packer Skeer.
Before the pulpit, a black wrought iron fence surrounds an Otis elevator, on which coffins descend to the crypt below and the entombed are held there for the winter, as the ground is too frozen to accept their remains.
The cemetery itself is a beautiful Victorian statuary with ornate monuments accenting the landscape of simpler stones.
The Rex family, who once operated a coffee warehouse in our Times House building, had giant granite balls adorning the top of their monuments. A peculiar and somewhat spooky story concerns one ball that got away from its mount at the cemetery and rolled all the way down from the Heights, across Broadway to Race Street, where it hit the spring at the top of the street before rolling to a stop a few doors away from us at what was once the Rex family home, now Three Mountains Gallery at 29 Race Street.
Jim Thorpe artist David Price, who lives and works at Three Mountains, is working on a series of prints and a narrative inspired by that true story and a dream he had. Price is scheduled to play the Tibetan Bells at a poetry reading this weekend at Strange Brew but I guess we’ll see for whom the snow tolls. Huhuhuhuha – supposed to be a deep evil laugh.
Happy Halloween from the Times House Bed and Breakfast!