Friday, February 7, 2014

The Abandoned Town of Centralia + Fresh Face Friday

Urban exploration can be fun.  Visiting abandoned buildings and areas sounds eerie.  But what happens when an entire town is abandoned?  How does something like this happen?  When I was younger and living in PA, my family went to pick up a car in (ironically named) Ashland, PA.  They had heard about the burning ghost town Centralia, PA that was only a town over.  What better way to take a joy ride in your new car than by strolling through an abandoned town with your kids right?  Well I thought it was cool and I thought about that town years after I'd initially visited.



The History

I didn't remember much about trip so I wanted to go back.  A couple of years ago when I was back in my hometown, B and I decided to make the trip to Centralia.  I had told him all about it and he was excited.  The story behind this town is that in the 1960's a fire had started in the coal mines of this city and it quickly became uncontrollable.  There are many theories as to how the fire started though no one knows for sure.  Firefighters tried to stop the fire but after nearly two decades of trying, it became clear that it was unable to be stopped.  This was unsafe for the town as it created dangerous sink holes and toxic carbon monoxide levels.  I've heard stories in my childhood that if you drive through the town and mostly the now closed road of Route 61, you can see large cracks in the road with smoke coming out.  That image alone was the reason I wanted to visit and see if I could see it for myself.  Route 61 is now completely closed off to the public due to the cracks in the road and not even indicated on some newer maps. Creepy.

Eventually in the 1980's the town was evacuated and the residents were relocated.  But, long time residents can be stubborn and there were a lot of people who did not want to leave the town.  So they stayed.  As the years crept by, it became a ghost town in that no one was there and almost everything in the town was demolished except for a few buildings, homes, and the cemeteries.  Keep in mind that back in the day this used to be a thriving town. I'm talking about in the late1800's.  It has a fascinating history.


So what did I find when I went to Centralia?

Odd Fellows Cemetery



Municipal Building


When B and I visited a couple of summers ago we walked all around the abandoned town.  There were almost no buildings except the municipal building and a few houses (I'm talking like 2 or 3) that oddly enough looked lived in (apparently there are a handful of people still refusing to leave).  It's very strange to see sidewalks that lead to nothing, some rickety streets signs and that's it.  We followed some of the streets to some dead ends and climbed some of the piles of ash and coal.  We did not unfortunately find the cracks with smoke coming out of the ground, but I know that we were in the wrong area.  Each turn that looked like it used to be a residential area was now a pile of ash.  Every now and then you'd see a large pipe coming out of the ground to funnel out some of the smoke.  The fire isn't predicted to halt anytime soon.  It is predicted to burn for possibly the next thousand years.  And this may affect the surrounding areas that are also coal regions.

The most interesting thing we saw was the Odd Fellows Cemetery.  I found it odd indeed that this seemed to be somewhat maintained!  The deceased residents in this town outnumbered the living as I think at this point there were maybe a few residents that were allowed to finish out their lives there, and possibly some squatters and other urban explorers.

Unfortunately at this time in my life I wasn't all about taking pictures so I only have these few that I had captured on my iPhone.  But I know that when I return stateside, I'll explore Centralia again and bring a nice camera with me.  After walking around for a few hours we decided we were starting to get creeped out and decided it was time to go.  We wouldn't have wanted to get caught there after sundown.  It might have turned into the movie SILENT HILL.  I say that jokingly and not jokingly because the movie and video game, Silent Hill was actually inspired by the town of Centralia.  (Did you know that?) And so were quite a  few other things like novels, movies, and documentaries.

Because my pictures are lacking and I want you to get a better feel for the town.  I included this video I found on Youtube made by someone who explored the area.  Take a look!

My work is not yet done here in Centralia.  And I am interested in doing more urban exploring in the future.

Would you visit this town?  Have you ever visited an abandoned building or town?  Let us know in the comments! 

 Now that you're sufficiently creeped out I'd like to remind you to enter my
GIVEAWAY for $25 to Minted.com and to link up below for Fresh Face Friday with We Took the Road Less Traveled!





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38 comments:

  1. Ooh, I've heard some cool things and seen some neat photos of Centralia, it's going on my (ever growing) list of places to visit! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Silent Hill scared the crap out of me...I get the picture, lol.
    A new visitor who's loving your blog.

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  3. hubby and I love "trespassing" on old and abandoned properties....very cool.
    Debbi
    -yankeeburrow

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  4. Oh my goodness! My sister in law is from Ashland, Pa. Not only have I been to Ashland, I've been to Centralia (probably 20 years ago) and I did see the steam coming up out of the cracks in the road. It was creepy!

    I've got to check out the youtube video.

    - The Tablescaper

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  5. I remember reading about this place. I feel so bad for the people who were forced to move. I bet some families had been there for generations. I also think I'd be drawn to attempting to explore there.

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    1. Yes, I think last I check there were only about 7 people there. They are definitely stubborn because there is absolutely nothing there. The government payed to relocate most of the people.

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  6. I've been here once, it was pretty cool. Very Silent Hill vibe. I have some pics and video I'll try and dig up and post on the reddit thread I found this on. My favorite thing I think was a stop sign on the way out of town. It had "Don't" written in graffiti above the "Stop", and "Believin'" below it. Also on the next mountain ridge over there was a large wind farm, it was like the new clean energy of the future taunting the burning remnants of our industrial past.

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  7. Great post! I can't wait to check out all the link up bloggers :)

    AJ | www.TheAJMinute.com

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  8. Very interesting! I had no idea it existed and would be intrigued to visit it myself.

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  9. Enjoyed your post! I love ghost towns! I've been to a couple so far and hope to visit more in the future. I will keep this one in mind. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Nancie, I can't wait to visit more abandoned towns and buildings. Especially in Europe.

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  10. I enjoyed your story, and it is so crazy! I enjoy going to ghost towns and seeing how people lived before me. But, I have never visited a town that was abandoned so recently. There is a lake here in Arizona called Seneca Lake. It used to have wonderful cabins to rent and lovely picnic grounds. My husband and I were looking for a restroom for our young daughter and pulled off. There were shanty lean too's all around, port a potties, and large lights like at sporting events. It was the strangest thing. Obviously it was known these people were living there. It was incredibly creepy, and we couldn't wait to get out of there!

    Thanks for sharing, lovely blog! Kari

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  11. Hi I am a new follower to your lovely blog (Via GFC, G+, twitter and Blogvin)and it really feel pleasure meeting new awesome bloggers like you. Thanks for co-hosting this hop. I would love it if you follow me back

    my blog: wilsontom.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for reading Wilson! And thanks for being a new follower!

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  12. Wow, this does sound like a creepy, albeit fascinating place! I can't believe that this fire still burns!

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    1. I know it's kind of crazy that its close to my hometown too!

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  13. When I saw Centralia, I had to stop by! I live in Wilkes Barre about 2 hours from Centralia. On the Travel Channel, America Declassified did a segment on Centralia. Here is a link if you are interested:
    http://www.travelchannel.com/video/city-on-fire
    People still actually live there and refuse to leave!!

    Hugs,
    Deb

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    1. Hey Debbie, I knew you were from PA so I figured you had probably been there. Thanks so much for the link, I've never seen this and I am watching it right now!

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  14. Hi--I'm visiting via We Call It Junkin' :) This post is so interesting! I love stuff like this. I'm going to look Centralia up on the map because my husband's from Pittsburgh, so we drive there from Albany regularly. Have a great week, Diana

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    1. Hi Diana, Centralia isn't really close to Pittsburgh but if you're ever headed towards this direction it would be worth making a stop.
      Centralia is more central PA.

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  15. I am from Georgia and had never heard of this town. Wow - it is so interesting and, now, I want to visit!! Thanks for sharing this!!

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  16. Wow, this is so interseting. I would totally visit this place. Seems really eerie

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  17. I love going to abandoned towns! I went to a ghost town outside of Vegas once and it's so creepy but so interesting. Thanks for joining the linkup!

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    1. Awesome, I'm sure Vegas has quite a few since it's in the desert. I can't wait to visit more!

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  18. Not a place I would want to be at night, either. However, would be interesting to visit during the day. Is the fire still a threat? I've never heard of anything burning for so long. Did you see any smoke?

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    1. That's the craziest part.. the fire is still a threat. They could never put it out and it's suppose to burn for maybe another thousand years. Also the nearby towns are old mining towns so it will eventually spread. i know a lot of people in these nearby towns too.

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  19. This was fascinating, Brittany Ruth, I've never heard of it, but my husband had. I watched the video, too. What a tragedy! Thank you for sharing this on my History & Home Link Party this week, take care - Dawn @ We Call It Junkin.com

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  20. I can't figure out what is so appealing about ghost towns and abandoned buildings, but they are so enticing. I live in PA, but have never heard of this town. It's probably across the state from where I am (near Pittsburgh) Thanks for sharing at Fridays Unfolded!

    Alison
    Nancherrow

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    1. Great to meet another blogger from PA! Yep you're right it's not close to Pittsburgh. Actually most people even in PA haven't heard of this place. It's a really small town.

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  21. I came back to tell you I've featured this on my Link Party Features Pinterest Board this week! -Dawn

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  22. Good grief! The place has been on fire for fifty years?

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  23. Oh yes...reminds me of zombies and walking dead! Oh my!

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  24. Hey, you have a blog hop? Cool, just like your post. In Chicago, where I am from there is a place called the lost cemetery. It is real creepy as it is located in the middle of woods. Call me weird, but I love exploring old cemeteries, and looking at the head stones. Thanks for sharing again on Tuesdays With a Twist.

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    1. Hi Joyce, I was cohosting a blog hop with We Took the Road Less Traveled. I'd love to stumble upon a cemetery in the woods. Most of the time they are the only things leftover from towns long gone.

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  25. I saw this on totally posted tuesday and initially only saw the 'Centralia.' I got super pumped because the town I live in is called Centralia, and no one ever talks about us! Well, turns out that still no one is talking about us. Anywho, this is an amazingly interesting post! I love roaming around abandoned properties and cemeteries and things. I see a trip to Centralia, PA in my future!

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  26. Brittany, Centralia really seems to be an eerie, but quite interesting place to visit. Even if not many houses appear to be remaining today, it still must be a strange feeling to be walking through an abandoned city. While your photos were already quite telling, the recommended video was even more drastic in showing the street conditions and the steaming ground. So, thanks for the good tip, I will definitely try to check out Centralia next time when in the area… :)

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I love to hear from readers! Questions and comments welcome. I try to respond to everyone (I respond back to your comments on the comments page so check back for a response). Thanks for reading!

-Brittany Ruth