North Carolina history marker honoring Jim Thorpe back up

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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (AP) — An historical marker alerting motorists that 1912 two-time Olympic gold medalist Jim Thorpe once played pro baseball in eastern North Carolina is back up more than two years after it was accidentally torn down.

The replacement highway marker honoring Thorpe in downtown Rocky Mount was installed two weeks ago, state Department of Transportation spokesperson Andrew Barksdale told the Rocky Mount Telegram.

A Thorpe marker was first installed in 1960 that told passersby that Thorpe came to the city in 1909 to play for the Rocky Mount Railroaders.

Thorpe, a Sac and Fox/Potawatomi citizen, was stripped of his gold medals for the pentathlon and decathlon after losing his amateur status based on playing baseball in North Carolina. His medals were restored in the early 1980s, about 30 years after his death.

The marker was reported missing in late 2019. It turned out the marker had been accidentally struck by a contract mowing service, which agreed to pay for a replacement, the newspaper reported.

The replacement was ordered in May 2021, but delays occurred due to foundry staffing shortages and backup marker requests, according to Ansley Wegner, the state Highway Historical Marker Program administrator.

"I’m glad to know that it is back in place and doing its job,” Wegner said.

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