The Home of 'Oklahoma's Greatest Athlete'

Sunday, February 15th 2009, 8:54 pm

By: News 9

By Christian Price, INsite Team

YALE, OKLAHOMA -- Sports critics refer to him as "The Greatest Athlete of the Century". What Jim Thorpe accomplished in the 1912 Olympics will never be undone, and the only home he ever owned is open to the public in Yale.

Linda Frick is the President of the Jim Thorpe Memorial Foundation and a tour guide for the museum.  According to her, Thorpe's athletic abilities were noticeable early on.

"He didn't like school," Frick said. "His dad would take him to school as a little boy and he would run across the pasture, 23 miles from home now; he would run across the pastures and beat his dad home."

The Oklahoma native won both the decathlon and pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics.

"This is the only home that Jim Thorpe ever owned," Frick said. "He lived a lot of places, but he didn't own anything except this home. He bought it with his Indian land rights back in 1917, and for 1917, this is a modern house."

The house is filled with personal items, such as the wedding dress of Jim's first wife, Iva. Their honeymoon lasted a year because Jim toured and did appearances while honeymooning. The original diary Iva kept while on that honeymoon is also within the home's collection.

"The couch and two of the chairs in the front room is actually Jim Thorpe's," Frick said. "It was sold in 1923, but we were able to recapture it for the home. The dining room furniture is actually Jim Thorpe's and the family has been very generous with us. They've given us all kinds of things to go in the home."

Thorpe's amateur medals are on display as well as multiple pictures spanning his entire life.

Bus tours constantly come through with visitors from different parts of the world just to walk through Jim Thorpe's home.

"There are a lot of people in Yale that have never been here," Frick said. "At the end of the century, he was formally given the title of the 'World's Greatest Athlete of the Twentieth Century'."

Jim Thorpe's home is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call (918) 387-2815.


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