What's the Story with the Jim Thorpe Fitness Center

‘What’s the story with…?’ is a phrase commonly heard at Carlisle Barracks. With more than 50 buildings in the National Historic Register, the post has a history unlike many others.

This is the latest in a series that will take a look at historic buildings, photos and more that tell the story of Carlisle Barracks. Throughout its nearly 260 years of history, the post has been the home to many pioneering schools, events and leaders that have helped shape our Nation. Want to learn more? Check out the Carlisle Barracks history page at http://carlislebarracks.carlisle.army.mil/history.htm or visit the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center at http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ahec/index.cfm
This week’s entry focuses on the Jim Thorpe Fitness Center.

Built sometime before 1887 by Carlisle Indian Industrial School students, the Jim Thorpe Fitness Center is one of the three physical fitness facilities on Carlisle Barracks. The building has retained its original purpose as it was also a gym for the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.
The facility was enlarged in 1887, adding the three-story front, then renovated in 1976 and again in 2003 that included updating interior finishes and altering the structure to meet the changing demands of fitness today.

It was named after the famed athlete, Jim Thorpe (of Sac and Fox Indian heritage), in 1954 since he won both the Decathlon and Pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. He is the only athlete to ever win both of these events, though his medals were later taken away and his records stricken from the book because he had played two years of semi-professional baseball which disqualified him from the games as he was not an amateur athlete as the International Olympic Committee required at the time. Also in 1912, he was awarded the, “All Around Amateur Athletic Union Champion of the U.S.” His achievements and resulting fame brought recognition to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.

Today, the Jim Thorpe Fitness Center is available for use by active duty, retired military and their authorized family members, DA civilians, reserve and National Guard personnel, DoD contracted employees, technical representatives, and employees of military banking facilities and credit unions who are working at Carlisle Barracks.
What buildings would you like to learn more about? Send an email to   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the Subject Line: “What’s the story with?” and we’ll include in an upcoming edition.

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