Thorpe Hall, built in 1887 with funds contributed by Carlisle Indian Industrial School students, served as a gymnasium for the Indian School. Sports flourished at the school, producing top athletes such as Lewis Tewanima, a star long distance runner, and Jim Thorpe, the famed track and football player."Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world."
Wa-Tho-Huk, known to most as Jim Thorpe, is arguably the greatest athlete of the twentieth century. He was born near Prague, Oklahoma, on May 28, 1887. He excelled as an athlete and participated in the Indian School's football, lacrosse and track teams. In 1912, he travelled with Tewanima and his coach, Glenn "Pop" Warner, to the Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden, where he won both the pentathalon and the decathlon. It was at these games that King Gustav V of Sweden gave Thorpe his title:
Thorpe is said to have simply "Thanks, King." But Thorpe's life was far from perfect. After word leaked out that he had played two years of semi-professional baseball, his Olympic medals were taken away. Despite this setback, Thorpe continued his endeavors in sports, playing both professional baseball and football. In 1953, Thorpe died of a heart attack. The next year, the gymnasium was renamed Thorpe Hall in his honor. It was not until 1982
that his Olympic medals were restored.
Donated by US Army War College Alumni Class of 2010
Eagle Scout Project by Timothy Loney, Troop 173
Research assistance from Jessica Sheets and the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center
Images from USAMHI, Carlisle Indian Industrial School Photographic Collection