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abandonedplaces

Another Centralia post

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Mar. 2nd, 2010 | 01:00 pm
posted by: katura in abandonedplaces

Back in November, my sister and I visited Centralia, PA. I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with the story, but for newcomers: Centralia was once a thriving mining town, but an underground coal fire that could not be extinguished in the 60s has rendered the town unlivable and almost all its residents have left and their houses been demolished. It is estimated that the fire will continue to burn for another few hundred years, and will likely move on to destroy surrounding areas. People visit Centralia to see the smoke that still rises from the ground. I'd been told that it was quite boring to visit there, as there aren't many structures left to explore, but we found it fascinating to walk around this once full town and take in the atmosphere, which was the inspiration for the film adaptation of Silent Hill. For more info, see wikipedia and this page for some history and some then/now photos.

The latest news I heard is that the few remaining residents will be pushed out and their homes demolished.



Probably the most frequently visited area is the section of highway which had to be closed off due to the heat causing the road to split and cave in. This part of the road is covered in graffiti. It is also where the smoke rising from the ground is most easily visible.







One of the few abandoned structures that was still standing (just barely):





The roof of an abandoned wash house:



In one area there were pipes installed to vent smoke from underground. The fire has since moved from that area.



The area the pipes are in:



There are three cemeteries that are still visited and taken care of, but I've read that one of them was recently vandalized.



One of the cemetery walls:



It appears as if debris and garbage are still dumped in one area of the town.



A heavily bulldozed area next to a cemetery where you can see quite a bit of smoke:







I have more pics in a set at my flickr page.

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Comments {37}

ellerose

(no subject)

from: rawr_its_roonie
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 02:06 am (UTC)
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this is amazing. what part of pa is centralia in?

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Katura

(no subject)

from: katura
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 02:10 am (UTC)
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It's in Columbia County, which I guess is kinda mid-east as far as its location within the state. I'm from the Kutztown area; it's about an hour northwest from there.

On googlemaps: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=centralia,+pa&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=55.937499,114.169922&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Centralia,+Columbia,+Pennsylvania&ll=40.78886,-76.313782&spn=0.846354,1.783905&z=10

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harnessphoto

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from: harnessphoto
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 02:43 am (UTC)
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Went to Centralia last year and posted an entry. Got some awesome shots, but found it wasn't worth a three hour drive. Wish I was older so I could have gone before they'd knocked all the buildings down.

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Katura

(no subject)

from: katura
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 03:59 am (UTC)
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Yes, it would be truly fascinating to get to explore a whole town of empty houses. I still appreciate it for what it is, though... but I didn't have to drive three hours to get there, thankfully.

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Tara

(no subject)

from: craving_vintage
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 02:51 am (UTC)
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Great photos! I'm just amazed that people were still living there.

Thanks for sharing.

Edited at 2010-03-02 02:53 am (UTC)

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Katura

(no subject)

from: katura
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 03:30 am (UTC)
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Yeah, just a few locals who were holding out because it was home. They didn't even own their land anymore because the state bought everything up.

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adafrog

(no subject)

from: adafrog
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 03:26 am (UTC)
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Wow. They're probably going to have to relocate those cemeteries in a while, aren't they?

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Katura

(no subject)

from: katura
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
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I haven't read any comment on that, I don't think. It all depends on which way the fire burns. I think it's on the edges of Centralia now and will move on to a neighbouring community soon. Which is very sad, because this region is already suffering economically.

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OTB

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from: ontheborderland
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
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Thanks for posting these.

My grandmother grew up in Centralia, and my great-grandfather is buried in the Orthodox cemetery. It makes me sad people would vandalize such a place; it's like kicking something when it's already down.

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Katura

(no subject)

from: katura
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 03:35 am (UTC)
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It definitely is sad. Even all the graffiti on Route 61 is a shame, I think, and I'm not usually offended by graffiti. Some of the more amusing/clever statements are fine, but there are so many juvenile things there for shock value and it just ruins the atmosphere.

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pegasus2o5

(no subject)

from: pegasus2o5
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 03:50 am (UTC)
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Wow, that is really weird and scary--an underground fire burning for hundreds of years? It sounds like something out of a farfetched science fiction movie. It's so sad--and again, scary--that it's spreading and pushing people out of their homes. Surely the land will recover eventually?

Some of these shots--especially the one with the canned food and the cracked, smoking highway--remind me a lot of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road."

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Katura

(no subject)

from: katura
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 03:53 am (UTC)
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It's burning because underground is solid coal, so it will continue until the coal is all burned away. I'm sure that the land will recover eventually, but I don't think that will be within any of our lifetimes. The fire causes sinkholes and toxic fumes, so it can be very dangerous to even walk in the area.

I love "The Road" so much. :)

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(Deleted comment)

Katura

(no subject)

from: katura
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 05:09 am (UTC)
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Sure thing!

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Ponee

(no subject)

from: featherfire
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 06:14 am (UTC)
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God, I love Centralia. I wish I could have the opportunity to visit there before all the buildings are gone, but I don't think that's going to happen. Thank you for sharing these!

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▼▼▼  Xydexx ▼▼▼

(no subject)

from: xydexx
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 06:46 am (UTC)
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I've been going there since at least 1998. I remember the highway back when it had hardly and graffiti on it. And it still had road signs, too. *sigh*

I should update my Centralia page with some of the pictures of houses that are probably long since gone at this point. I went there in 2000 and took pictures of all the houses that were still standing.

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(no subject)

from: tiny_green_leaf
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 10:21 am (UTC)
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Ahhh, please do update! There's just not enough of the older photos around and it'd be neat to see!

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Katie

(no subject)

from: katiefoolery
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 08:36 am (UTC)
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That's so fascinating! It's wonderfully creepy the way the smoke is rising out of the ground.

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Brunhilde_Valkyrie

(no subject)

from: brunhildevalkyr
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
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I grew up about about a 1/2 hour away from Centralia. I remember when a lot more people still lived there and they were constantly having sink holes and cave ins. It was really a surreal place when there were more buildings. It's still really odd to see the road all buckled and smoke rising from beneath.

The sad thing about the story of Centralia is that they could have extinguished the fire, but they decided it was too expensive to do so at the time. They probably could have recovered a good chunk of the cost by mining the coal rather than letting it just burn off. They figured it would have burned it's self out by now. It turned out the fire was much worse and the coal seam much larger than they could have imagined.

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wiffly_shwoo

(no subject)

from: wiffly_shwoo
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
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I love your photos. I find Centralia so creepy. Thanks for posting.

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Katura

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from: katura
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 11:25 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! I actually didn't find it too creepy, although the "welcome to hell" graffiti does something to set a certain mood, especially at sunset. :)

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atomgal

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from: atomgal
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 08:54 pm (UTC)
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This may sound stupid, but how dangerous is it to go walking around there? Since a few people still live there, I was thinking it must not be that bad, but on the other hand, only a few people still live there. ;) At any rate, thanks for posting these photos!

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Katura

(no subject)

from: katura
date: Mar. 2nd, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC)
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From my experience, it doesn't seem too bad today. Probably the biggest threat is inhaling the fumes (especially if you're kneeling down near smoking areas to take photos - I felt a headache coming on so I got myself to a clear area). The bulldozed area is a tripping hazard only because the ground is very uneven. The ground in smoky areas is warm and soft, so caution is best advised there.

It used to be worse. A sinkhole opened up beneath a 12 year old boy in the 80s (luckily someone was standing nearby to help him). After that is when the state started relocating people. Those who stayed behind were the stubborn ones who didn't want to be kicked out of their homes.

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pansypoo

(no subject)

from: pansypoo
date: Mar. 3rd, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC)
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abandoned canning can be the scariest of all.

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Katura

(no subject)

from: katura
date: Mar. 3rd, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
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Hahaha! It's funny you say that, actually, because coming across those jars was probably the only time I was creeped out while I was there. We came into that area from behind that sofa. I saw the jars, exclaimed, and then told my sister to brace herself. I'm still not sure what it is that's in them!

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OMG! it's Maggie!

(no subject)

from: divas
date: Oct. 6th, 2010 02:49 pm (UTC)
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Where did you have to walk/drive to see that house?

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Katura

(no subject)

from: katura
date: Oct. 8th, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC)
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The bath house is along the still-in-use section of Route 61, a little past the point that was blocked off. You really can't miss it while driving in. It's right against the side of the road.

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