"The Pennsylvania Town That Went Up In Smoke" Centralia by calcaf38
Centralia Travel Guide: 11 reviews and 23 photos
As my VT friends know, I have an affection for somewhat ghoulish destinations. I have a whole page dedicated to the Eastern State Penitentiary, and the dream of my life is to visit Le Camp de la Transportation, in St. Laurent du Maroni. Don't ask.
I was always surprised that there was no dedicated page on VT about Centralia, the notorious small mining town in Pennsylvania. If you do a bit of search on the web, you will see that Centralia is quite a cult destination for the Urban Ruins crowd.
Back in 1962, a fire in the town dump ignited a vein of coal. The underground fire could not be extinguished. Efforts at controlling the fire were abandoned in 1981, when the subsiding ground almost swallowed a teenager. The residents voted to let the State of Pennsylvania buy their property. Since then, the town has been progressively evacuated.
To discourage vandalism, the abandoned buildings have been carefully demolished and cleared. At this time, there is little left to see in Centralia. When I first drove through, in 1984, it still looked somewhat like your average bleak Pennsylvania town. Not anymore.
Today, there are but a few houses left of the town. I have read somewhere that the remaining residents are technically squatters, tolerated by the state.
As for the fire, it is expected to burn for at least one thousand years.
- Pros:Interesting, and open to all sorts of symbolism
- Cons:Hardly uplifting
- In a nutshell:An easy drive to a minor gate of hell
From most of the town, you can see a church with robin-egg-blue domes almost hidden in the woods. This is as close as I... more travel advice
Although most houses have been carefully cleared away, there remains the grid of streets, with incongruous stop signs... more travel advice
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