For those who have no idea why Centralia is so significant, it was a mining town in PA. In 1962 a coal fire was accidentally ignited underground. For 20 years there were attempts to put it out, but all unsuccessful. The state condemned the entire town and tore down everything. A fire still burns underground and the area is subject to sinkholes. Amazingly, a few people refused to leave and continue to live there!
Hubby with a burnt tree behind him.
On our way to Bloomsburg we popped into Centralia quickly. Yes, it is easily accessible and open to the public. You will not get arrested or fined if you go there. Actually, MANY people were there walking around with their cameras. It almost had a park-like quality to it.
But we had time to make so we decided to give Centralia a better look on our way home. I would have never known were were in Centralia had we not passed a sign. Route 61 passes right through it and it does not look like anything out of the ordinary -- just open fields. Knowing I was in Centralia, though, I took note of the overgrown, dead-end side roads and we headed down them. We parked and got out for a walk.
Warning signs! Spelling fail, too...;) lol
We walked along the abandoned "side streets" of Centralia and you could see where houses once stood. Driveways lead to nowhere.
We walked up to a pile of rocks and that's when we first noticed the smoke coming from the ground. We felt the rocks immediately next to the smoke and they were piping hot! No idea if we were just there on an off day, but I did not see smoke coming from the ground EVERYWHERE (like some people claim). I'm not going to say it doesn't happen, but we only saw a little bit of smoke coming from that one area of rocks. I failed to see any smoke coming from the cemeteries, either.
While we were there, there were others walking around and taking photos. As we were walking you could really smell the burning coal smell in the air. It smelled pretty good! Unfortunately, we did not see the time capsule or the old, buckled up Route 61, but I plan on returning soon. Not long ago I had a dream about Centralia and I anticipate writing part two of this story!
Check out The History of Centralia for vintage pictures of this curious town!