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September 11th, 2001 => Environmental Disasters & Mass Tragedies => Topic started by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 01:15:35 am



Title: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 01:15:35 am
A modern day
Ghost Town, Centralia Pennsylvania

September 2007, Centralia PA  - The home that stood in defiance of the mine fire along the southern side of Locust Street in Centralia PA, directly across the street from where the fire originated in 1962, is gone.  The home, originally owned by Centralia resident, Joe Moyer, then later owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, stood along Rt. 54/61 greeting passerby's as the last remaining residential structure along Locust Street.  Located across Park Street from the War Memorial commemorating Centralia War Veterans, this well maintained home symbolized the plight of the Centralia people as it remained occupied by Centralia residence until the summer of 2007 when it was torn down.  This home was one of only a few remaining homes within the borough of Centralia and was well recognized by it's brick supporting columns that propped the home up after a jointing row homes had been demolished around it.  Today there only remains an empty lot and memories of a home and a family.  The demolition photos were submitted by Sharon L. Clark of Morgantown, PA.
 


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 01:16:35 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/5-2001/Dcp_2200.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 01:17:13 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/100_1804.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 01:17:39 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/lone-home.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 01:18:21 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/bench.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 01:18:28 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/bench.jpg)

War Memorial commemorating Centralia War Veterans


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 01:19:53 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/5-2001/Dcp_2199.jpg)

http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/ghosttown.htm


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 01:52:17 am
Centralia, PA

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_-_OMl505-tM/Ruy5ZaF4ZhI/AAAAAAAAAOA/zT7aRYKjeIE/s320/Centralia-MeDowntownII-OTIS.jpg)

July 31, 2007 ó Centralia, PA, has no multi-screen movie theater.  Centralia, PA, has no fast food restaurants.  Centralia, PA, has no downtown area.  Centralia, PA, doesnít even have a zip code.  What Centralia does have, though, is a 400-acre-and-growing underground coal fire directly beneath it that has burned for 45 years and will burn for a few hundred more. Your town sucks by comparison.

The perennially burning ghost town of Centralia is definitely in the upper echelon of American oddities.  Why?  Because itís a perennially burning ghost town, naturally.  Of course, it doesnít have the only underground coal fire in the world, nor does it have the largest or the oldest.  But it does have the spookiest story, I think.  Plus itís within relatively easy commuting distance for me, so that gives it a leg up as far as Iím concerned.

Hereís how it happened.  The year was 1962 and, as so many of my own personal anecdotes start, some people were burning trash.  Itís a perfectly acceptable practice.  However, in this instance, they were burning the trash near what almost every article on the topic refers to as an ďexposed coal seam.Ē  I donít know much about mining, but that definitely sounds like something that I donít want to set on fire (and thatís a very small list for me).  Which is, of course, what happened.  The coal seam turned out to be Journey to the Center of the Earth deep, Attack of the 50-Foot Woman huge, and The Land that Time Forgot inaccessible.  The underground fire caused sink holes to gape; roads to heave and crack; deadly gases and smoke to waft like ghost armies, and it endangered the lives of many pets, children, and the elderly.  The federal government had to eventually permanently evacuate the town.  Mostly, anyway.  A few recalcitrants wouldnít move, opting instead to brave the danger zone and invent the usual conspiracy theories.  Much of the town was razed.  The fire continued to burn, but now it burns triumphantly.

A few decades later, enter me.  I came across this oddity in an absolutely embarrassing way.  Movies.  I hate when I learn about the existence of something because a movie was made about it.  Makes me feel late to the party.  And Iíve pretty much learned everything I know from movies, so you do the math.  Anyway, two movies in particular used the idea of Centralia as a framework to hang their stories on: Nothing But Trouble (1991) and Silent Hill (2006).  And I name them not because you should see them, but solely so that I can make an as-yet-to-be-determined Digital Underground reference later.

So a foray to Centralia has been percolating in the coffee maker of my mind for a while.  And in that aforementioned mind of mine, I had imagined Centralia to be a place awash in fogs of thick, deadly vapors; porcupined with warning signs; andómuch like my Aunt Eleanorócompletely inhospitable to visitors.  I envisioned mutated animals, barbed wire, and EPA agents in bright yellow HAZMAT suits.  I had planned on cobbling a map together from various arcane and semi-trustworthy Internet sites, painting my face black, donning one of those paper filter masks that were all the rage in China a few years back, dictating my last will and testament, and violating softly enforced trespassing laws.
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_-_OMl505-tM/Rq977N5axAI/AAAAAAAAAHA/eaPoJZsfmsk/s320/Centralia-DangerSign-OTIS.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 01:53:18 am
(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-_OMl505-tM/Rq97vt5aw_I/AAAAAAAAAG4/Gmm0M5mz4fs/s320/Centralia-Rt.61CrackI-OTIS.jpg)

And, as happens often enough for me to question everything about my existence, I was wrong.  More or less.

You see, Centralia is right off of Rt. 61 in Pennsylvania.  And by “off” I mean “on.”  You can drive through the town without even realizing that you’re driving over the nearest thing to a milieu of hell this side of Hieronymus Bosch’s painting.  Apparently, at one time the road was detoured away from the town, but for reasons that I’m sure make Centralia much less mysterious, that’s not the case anymore.  Honestly, I wish that the way to Centralia was Shambala-like in its guarded secrecy.  First, so that I could feel initiated.  Second, so that I could blast the secret all over the Internet.  Literally, though, just go to Pennsylvania and take Rt. 61 until you get there.

As you drive on Rt. 61 past the town of Ashland (you might also at some point pass the ruin of an old drive-in movie theater that has officially become, in a life full of regrets, the greatest regret of my life because I did not stop and take a picture of it), you’ll eventually see off to the left side of the road a large mound of dirt and a warning sign.  The pile of dirt blocks off an old section of Rt. 61 that led to Centralia and was rendered unusable as a road by the underground fire.  The space in front of the dirt pile comes in quite handy as a parking lot for visitors.  The warning sign presages most of those really terrifying things that I originally though were going to be there, but it functions more as a photo op than any kind of deterrent, so I took one, feeling all the while like a crow using a scarecrow as a perch.  But at least it’s way cooler than a mere “Welcome to Centralia” sign, despite the outstanding opportunity for a slogan.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 01:53:54 am
(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-_OMl505-tM/Rt3o0k9sphI/AAAAAAAAALk/1qH2ISYOwhE/s320/Centralia-TimeCapsule-OTIS.jpg)

We parked, clambered over the dirt, and walked about half a mile over undulating asphalt until we arrived at a giant smoking crack.  Actually, that’s giant [comma] smoking crack.  I don’t want to give you images of half-baked canned vegetable mascots.  Wait.  Yes, I do.  My first few steps on this road did, admittedly, make me feel a bit vertiginous.  It’s a weird feeling to not be able to trust a planet.  It only lasted a few seconds before I realized I was just falling for the hype.  So don’t fall for the hype (I reserve the right to remove that statement from the article on the first news report of a death in Centralia due to “sudden collapse of the ground”).  In my case, after a bit of walking, I could see people ahead of me hanging out at the fissure, so any slight worry soon dissipated.

The fissure is pretty impressive.  I mean, you’re not going to fall in and become prey to Morlocks, but seeing an asphalt road completely ripped and contorted is enough to make you nod your head in a satisfying way.  Add on top of that the smoke drifting out of it, and you’ve got yourself something really worth seeing.  And graffiti-ing, as well, apparently… unfortunately, in a most uninspired manner (graffiti smart, kids).  You can see in the picture that someone was slow-charring a teddy bear in the fissure.  Sad, but not a bad way to send it off.  Certainly all of my childhood stuffed animals went out in way more horrible ways.

Once you get tired of ogling the crevice, it’s time to move on to the actual town.  I assume that you can get there by continuing down the rest of the old road, but we decided to head back to the car and drive a little bit further down the new Rt. 61 to get there.  On the way out, we nodded to two teenage girls who asked us how far to the fissure just like someone would ask for the nearest gas station.  Yup.  And blind men, pets, and children are now climbing Mt. Everest.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 01:54:46 am
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_-_OMl505-tM/Rq97HN5aw8I/AAAAAAAAAGg/HNAuy--rcAw/s320/Centralia-Smoke-OTIS.jpg)

You’ve probably already guessed it based on the tone of this article, but the town itself wasn’t foreboding or terrifying or even really that exhilarating.  Might have to do with the weather that day.  I visited Centralia on a day about as sunny as Sesame Street.  Maybe that hurt the atmosphere.  Maybe that made me more objective.  Maybe all that’s irrelevant.  But here’s hoping that if you ever visit it, you get it overcast and lonesome.  When I went, about ten people were hanging out at various spots throughout the field that Centralia has basically become.  Even had a convoy of four-wheelers joy ride noisily through the town while I was there.  In the past decade or two, Centralia might have been a lot more ominous, I don’t know.

Currently, Centralia consists almost in toto of a small grid of overgrown streets, a few cemeteries (definite style points for keeping those intact), a single row house sans row that is only still standing because it has been buttressed by chimney-looking ribs of red brick, an old smoking landfill, some suspiciously well-maintained green park benches, a humble-looking veterans memorial in the form of a bell, and a small marble slab covering a time capsule slated for opening in 2016 that’s just too easy to make jokes about (and that’s the line I use when I can’t come up with any jokes).  We parked on the side of Rt. 61, walked around a bit, sat on a park bench, looked at the few things there were to look at, took some pictures, and then hopped back in the car and drove down a few dead end streets for kicks.  That’s pretty much everything you do when you visit Centralia.  Should have brought a picnic lunch.

Now, smoke was rising from the ground, but, like I mentioned, mostly from the landfill area.  The smoke can make your throat a bit scratchy...especially if you’re standing in it for stupid pictures, but I doubt that’s because it’s particularly toxic (once again, reserving the right to remove that line).  That’s just what smoke does to your throat, whether it’s blowing from a 45-year-old underground coal fire or from an old toaster oven with a frayed power chord (which, despite arguments to the contrary, still makes amazing toast).


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 01:55:52 am
(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-_OMl505-tM/Rq966t5aw7I/AAAAAAAAAGY/pZ-uSpeYSaU/s320/Centralia-Bench-OTIS.jpg)


Based on my single visit to the place, saying youíve been to Centralia is degrees cooler than actually being in Centralia, at least at this point in time.  But who knows what tourism-worthy devastation the fire will wreak in the future.  And that also doesnít knock it out of the aforementioned upper echelon, either, because, unlike Nothing But Trouble, the story of Centralia remains a good tale regardless.  And never pass up a chance to see smoke rising from cracks in the ground.  If thereís one thing you take away from this article, I want it to be that.

All right, itís a bit abrupt, but weíre at the end, and Iíve no Digital Underground reference to show for it.  Pretty hideous considering the content centers on a coal fire that is, of all things, underground.  Iím sure someone will e-mail me the perfect punch line, though.  I hate you for your cleverness in advance.  But I will steal it, update this article, and give you no credit.  Fair warning...of complete unfairness.

http://www.oddthingsiveseen.com/2007/07/centralia-pa.html


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 02:00:35 am
Byrnesville, Pennsylvania

Byrnesville, Pennsylvania, is a town located in Columbia County, Pennsylvania. It was located about halfway between Centralia and Ashland. A map with GPS coordinates can be seen here. In 1985, the population of Byrnesville was approximately 75.

Byrnesville was founded in 1856. Most of the residents were Irish Catholics who worked in the local anthracite coal mines. An elementary school was located in Byrnesville but was discontinued in the 1930s.

Byrnesville was one of the casualties of the Centralia mine fire. The last home in Byrnesville was torn down in 1996, which spelled the end for this town. The only remaining structures there now are a religious shrine on a hillside, a storage trailer, and an unused garage.

The present-day routing of Pennsylvania Route 61 follows what was an old logging road through Byrnesville, bypassing sections of four-lane highway which have been heavily damaged with subsidence from the underground fire.




Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 02:01:41 am
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fd/PA_61_Centralia_and_Byrnesville.jpg)

The clearing that was once Byrnesville


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 02:04:00 am
Byrnesville history:

The village of Byrnesville no longer exists. It began in 1856 and was completely dismantled by 1996.

Byrnesville was a small village located in Central Pennsylvania. It was divided into two parts, Upper and Lower Byrnesville. The first homes were built in Lower Byrnesville around 1856 and in Upper Byrnesville around 1865.
The homes were built to house employees of a nearby coal company. Byrnesville was located in the Anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania and coal mining and processing was its main industry. The population over the years varied as the coal mines had good and bad times. The majority of the people who first settled there were mostly Irish immigrants. Through the years the village was inhabited mostly by Irish Catholics. They attended St. Ignatius Church in nearby Centralia. An elementary school was located in early Byrnesville but was discontinued in the early 1930s. After that the children attended Conyngham Township schools and St. ignatius Catholic school in Centralia.
Byrnesville was named after the Byrnes family who were the first settlers. Small grocery stores were operated by the Reilley, Byrnes and Gaughan families. A barroom was owned by another Gaughan family. Most of the shopping was done at nearby larger towns of Mount Carmel and Ashland.
Byrnesville was part of and was governed by Conyngham township and Columbia County. After World War 2 ended, the coal mining industry started to decline and many of the younger people moved to other areas to find work.
In the 1960s a fire ignited a coal seam near Centralia and it continued to burn underground and spread to adjoining areas. A federal government project relocated families out of Byrnesville in the 1980s because of the smoke and fumes from the underground mine fire. The population of Byrnesville just before the exodus from the fire was approximately 75 people living in 29 homes. The last family moved in 1996 and the final house was torn down at that time. The only remaining structures there now are a religious shrine on a hillside, a storage trailer, and an unused garage. Because the fire destroyed a part of nearby Route 61, it is now rerouted through the former village of Byrnesville. (Historical information submitted by Mike Reilley)
The founding of Byrnesville: 1856

http://www.usacitiesonline.com/pacountybyrnesville.htm


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 19, 2009, 02:23:19 am

    * June 22, 1981
    * Vol. 15
    * No. 24

A Town with a Hot Problem Decides Not to Move Mountains but to Move Itself

By Greg Walter
The citizens of Centralia, Pa. aren't kidding when they talk about having a hot time in the old town tonight. The surface temperature in Joan Girolami's backyard has been measured at 626°F. Around town the ground frequently collapses into holes that spew out scalding clouds of smoke and gas. Some houses tilt crazily out of line and are wired inside with expensive gas detectors that ring and buzz when the air is no longer safe to breathe. In Centralia, even the dead cannot rest in peace. Graves in the town's two cemeteries are believed to have dropped into the abyss of fire that rages below them. Thirteen-year-old Todd Domboski nearly met the same fate last Valentine's Day when the ground in his grandmother's backyard sank under his feet and he plunged screaming into a 12-foot chasm filled with deadly carbon monoxide. Luckily, his fall was broken by a tree root and his cousin pulled him out. "The smoke was so thick I couldn't see anything," he remembers. "I was only in there a minute, but it seemed like an hour."

The Dantesque specter that haunts Centralia is the product of a 19-year-old fire that smolders below the borough of 1,100 in Pennsylvania's coal country. The fire was discovered in May 1962 in an abandoned strip mine that was being used as a garbage dump. It could have been extinguished then at a cost of $50,000, according to one study. However, state and federal officials demanded that half of that cost come from the county. Local officials were unable to pay, and the fire was covered up. Since then the blaze has spread through the mining tunnels under the town at an estimated rate of 500 feet per year. Sulfurous fumes now billow into the air from 1,800 boreholes that have been driven into the ground to relieve the pressure.

Today it possibly would cost more than $100 million to extinguish the fire, and the process would require evacuation of a large part of Centralia. On May 19 the town's citizens voted 434 to 204 to approve a nonbinding referendum supporting the evacuation. That step was largely symbolic, however, and thus far the only aid the town has received is a $1.1 million emergency grant from the U.S. Interior Department, a large portion of which will be used to buy 26 endangered homes and relocate their owners. Says Christine Oakum, 28, one of those homeowners: "We'd rather give up our homes than one of our children."

Surprisingly, citizen concern about Centralia's plight was slow to develop. When Mrs. Oakum and her husband, Tom, a state employee, bought their small house on Centralia's main street in 1975, they were told that the fires "were going the other way." They were misinformed. Today their house is equipped with machines to detect the levels of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and oxygen. "Suppose someone isn't protected from the gas and gets a headache," she worries. "The natural thing for them to do is take a couple of aspirin and lie down to rest. It could be their last rest." Lately Mrs. Oakum has taken to writing letters to federal government officials. The results, however, have been less than satisfactory. President Carter passed her note on to the Bureau of Mines. President Reagan has yet to respond. "Finally," she says, "I wrote a letter to the Secretary of Health. I got a letter back telling me that I shouldn't let my children sniff the cracks in the floor. Can you beat that?"

Another angry Centralian is Agnes Owens, a 65-year-old widow. Two years ago one of Mrs. Owens' sons died of a kidney disease. Another son, also afflicted with the disease, moved to Seattle after doctors told him that his condition was aggravated by the gases in his mother's house. Now Mrs. Owens herself is planning to flee her hometown. "I want to stay but I'm scared. I'm leaving this fall for good. To keep your sanity that's what you have to do," she said. "If I was offered foreign aid, I'd take it," she added bitterly. "My own government isn't helping me much."

Despite the inferno below them and the gases that seep into their basements, some Centralians do not want to leave their homes and remain convinced that it's all a plot by coal companies to drive them off valuable land since the borough owns mineral rights to the coal below. (Other rumored villains have variously included anonymous Arabs and large energy cartels.) Helen Womer, 52, lives in the "hot" section of town but doesn't believe that she is in danger, and she refuses to install a gas-detection machine in her house. "We're not afraid of the gases, and we're not going to become slaves to a machine," she says. "We burn coal for heat and always have. If we had one of those machines, it would be going off all the time." She and her husband, Carl, informed federal officials that they are not about to leave. "I'm not going to let the coal barons win," she vows.

Catharene Jurgill, 19, however, is less concerned about mineral rights and coal conspiracies than she is about the fate of her unborn baby. Expecting her second child next month, she learned from a county health official at a recent town meeting that living in her Centralia neighborhood could be dangerous to pregnant women and their babies in the first trimester. "Nobody knows what the gases do to an unborn child," she says. "I guess I'm the test. I feel like a guinea pig."

Meanwhile, the fire burns on—despite a local gag that three dozen spirited Centralians once tried to extinguish the blaze by mass micturition into a mine shaft. Rats are beginning to appear in town, driven from their lairs by the heat. Some officials have become worried that the fire is now threatening a six-inch natural gas main that runs under Route 61. A yellow school bus stands ready on a field in the event that an unexpected evacuation of the town is required. "We're sitting on a time bomb," says Ed Polites, 45, outgoing president of the Centralia borough council. "What we're afraid of is that it will take someone's death from the fire before we'll get help."

 http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20079574,00.html


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:16:15 am
When you first arrive in Centralia, it will almost seem like a normal town. There are well-kepts lawns and a few scattered houses with people living in them. If you didn't know what was going on underground, you'd assume it was just another small town.

You need to drive to center of town to get the full effect of what has happened to Centralia. Picture a town of 1,100 people --- with 99% of the buildings removed with little or no trace they even existed. If you want a good comparison, drive up the main road through Ashland, the town just south of Centralia. I use Ashland as a point of reference for what Centralia looked like before the mine fire.

Today, Centralia is crisscrossed by a grid of empty streets, with a few lonely row houses in random places. It has a surreal, Twilight Zone feeling to it.

http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/centralia_gallery.htm


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:16:55 am
(http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/img/centralia1.jpg)

Locust Ave. in Centralia, PA - looking south.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:18:20 am
(http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/img/centralia2.jpg)

Highway 61, looking north.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:18:57 am
(http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/img/centralia4.jpg)

Burned woods near Highway 61.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:19:34 am
(http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/img/centralia5.jpg)

Smoking wasteland
near South St.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:20:07 am
(http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/img/centralia6.jpg)

Highway 61, looking south.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:20:34 am
(http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/img/centralia7.jpg)


Closeup view of the crack in Highway 61.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:21:12 am
(http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/img/centralia8.jpg)

The Speed Spot, which burned down years ago.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:21:42 am
(http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/img/centralia9.jpg)

The Centralia, PA post office, no longer there.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:22:09 am
(http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/img/centralia10.jpg)

Sign warning of toxic fumes and mine subsidence.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:22:27 am
(http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/img/centralia11.jpg)

St. Ignatius Church, before.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:22:53 am
(http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/img/centralia12.jpg)

St. Ignatius Church, after.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:23:17 am
(http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/img/centralia13.jpg)

One of the row homes, no longer there.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:23:42 am
(http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/img/centralia14.jpg)

St. Ignatius Church, front.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:24:01 am
(http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/img/centralia15.jpg)

Inside St. Ignatius Church before it was torn down.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:24:55 am
How to Get to Centralia, PA

   1. Follow I-81 to the exit for Frackville.
   2. Follow Rt. 61 North through Frackville into Ashland.
   3. Rt. 61 will go up a long hill in Ashland. Make a right turn at the top of the hill and continue following Rt. 61.
   4. Follow Rt. 61 about 2 miles into Centralia. Just before you get into Centralia the road will make a sharp turn off to the right. That is the closed section of highway with the crack in it. It's easier to get to from the top of the hill.
   5. Continue following Rt. 61 up the hill. You will get to Locust Avenue, the main street that runs North-South through Centralia and goes through the center of town. You can park in the unpaved lot on the right side of the road at the top of the hill, then walk down the closed section of highway to the crack.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:25:23 am
Things to See in Centralia, PA

On the south side of Centralia is a section of four-lane divided highway which was closed in the 1980s. The reason: A huge crack in the southbound lanes, with smoke billowing out of it from the mine fire below. From the center of town, head south up the hill to the big yellow arrow signs. Park and walk down the closed highway about five minutes. You can't miss it.

http://www.xydexx.com/modernruins/centralia_things.htm

(NOTE: Due to the presence of toxic gases from the mine fire, proceed at your own risk.)

In my experience the residents have been interesting to talk to, but I'm not sure how they feel about all the attention their town has been gotten. If you see any of them in the park in the center of town and want to talk to them, be polite and remember you're a visitor there.

In Ashland (the town just south of Centralia) is the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine. Your chance to tour an abandoned coal mine in the original mine carts and learn all about coal mining. A fun and educational tour; I highly recommend it.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:27:34 am
Here is additional information about Centralia and the surrounding area.
Books

    * DeKok, David. Unseen Danger : A Tragedy of People, Government, and the Centralia Mine Fire.
    * Jacobs, Renee - Slow Burn: A Photodocument of Centralia, Pennsylvania.
    * Kroll-Smith, J. Stephen and Couch, Stephen Robert. The Real Disaster is Above Ground: A Mine Fire & Social Conflict.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:37:29 am
(http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k176/badasscat/970header-1.jpg)

Sunday, May 03, 2009
Silent Hill and Centralia, PA

I'm not the first to write about this, and there's no particular reason for me to do it now. But this is one of those real-life stories that's seeped into popular culture without most people even knowing there's truth behind it. And it's got all the elements to make for bona fide folklore.

This is also my excuse to show the trailer of one of my favorite video games of all time, Silent Hill 2. If you never played this game, it's a story about a guy who gets a letter from his dead wife telling him she's waiting for him in the town of Silent Hill. He loves her, so of course he goes, fighting his way through his own version of hell to find her. The game is one big emotional mindfuck, which is something this series has always had over every other horror video game series out there. Even if you don't like video games, if you're into art or film of any kind, you should be able to appreciate this.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:38:17 am
You might remember the movie from 2006. Like most film adaptations of video games, it was somewhat dumbed down and a lot more straightforward in plot than any of the games. But it wasn't too bad. There's a full trailer on YouTube, but I actually think the first teaser they released was a lot more creative (and spooky):

One thing the movie did do, though, is attempt to explain a little bit of the town's backstory - which from what I remember is one of the first few games' central mysteries. (It was later explained in more detail in the PSP game Silent Hill Origins.) And that backstory was lifted by screenwriter Roger Avary right out of Centralia, Pennsylvania.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:38:42 am
Centralia was a town in Pennsylvania coal country, with a series of mines running beneath the town. In 1962, one of these mines caught fire, and the coal began to burn. It hasn't stopped burning since.

The fire and smoke were never as thick from a visual standpoint as they are in Silent Hill, though there were and are pockets of thick smoke on the outskirts of town.

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_GeUoqt1lLXY/Sf5dj3SAxEI/AAAAAAAAFKU/dq2qKhl6PLc/s400/centralia.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:39:46 am
Centralia, for all intents and purposes, no longer exists (though about 15 die-hards still live within the old town limits). It can't even really be classified a ghost town, which it was through much of the 1980's. The fire and smoke drove most of the residents out, and the government no longer puts the town on official maps. It even lost its zip code a while back. One of the most amazing images of the town today is simply the Google map satellite view:

(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_GeUoqt1lLXY/Sf5erV4PZSI/AAAAAAAAFK8/tnGYISAR300/s400/Fullscreen+capture+532009+111722+PM.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:40:13 am
50 years ago, that would have been a bustling town filled with structures. Today, most have been torn down and the ground turned to dust. Nothing grows there but the hardiest of plants because of the heat. It's somewhere between a desert and a lava flow.

The old Route 61 - the main road running through the town - has buckled under the heat of the underground fire, and was closed years ago.

(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_GeUoqt1lLXY/Sf5dkGJRh1I/AAAAAAAAFKc/y5eRkp4mKnE/s400/centraliaroad.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:41:01 am
This is one of those places that really does have a series of "ROAD CLOSED" signs across it, like you see in the movies. The entire town is bypassed by Route 61 today.

I've never read that the original Team Silent used Centralia, PA as inspiration for the first Silent Hill, but I like to think they did. It was a Japanese-developed game about an American small town, so they clearly did some research. Regardless, though, the story of Centralia is one of those sad but unbelievable stories that seem somehow unique to this country.

http://www.alphabetcityblog.com/2009/05/silent-hill-and-centralia-pa.html


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:42:54 am
Centralia Pennsylvania
...truth is stranger than fiction.
A Pennsylvania community consumed by
an underground mine fire.

If you were driving north on route 61 in the heart of the Anthracite coal region in Pennsylvania in recent years, you may have come across a detour of 61 at the top of a hill in a community called Ashland.  Thinking nothing of it you would have followed the detour signs that took you around some possible road construction or a bridge being worked on.  You're then reconnected with Rt. 61 again.

Many have followed this path in recent years with little knowledge of the on going story of this little detour and the town that no longer is really a town.  If you had disregarded the detour signs and make the right that 61 north takes through Ashland your first clue that something isn't right would be the abrupt end to route 61 as it once was.
 

This road closure seems to be more than just a little construction up around the bend.  At closer inspection it would seem to be a more permanent close of the road.  If you were to look to your right and follow a small, slightly less engineered road down and around the closed route 61 it would re-emerge at the beginning of the story.   Centralia.

steam-rising-4.jpg (53708 bytes)The ruins of Centralia Pennsylvania no longer exists on some maps.  The story began sometime in 1962 along the outskirts of town when trash was burned in the pit of an abandoned strip mine, which connected to a coal vein running near the surface.  The burning trash caught the exposed vein of coal on fire.  The fire was thought to be extinguished but it apparently wasn't when it erupted in the pit a few days later.  Again the fire was doused with water for hours and thought to be out.  But it wasn't.   The coal then began to burn underground.  That was in 1962.   For the next two decades, workers battled the fire, flushing the mines with water and fly ash, excavated the burning material and dug trenches, backfilled, drilling again and again in an attempt to find the boundaries of the fire and  plan to put the fire out or at least contain it.

All efforts failed to do either as government officials delayed to take any real action to save the village.  By the early 1980s the fire had affected approximately 200 acres and homes had to be abandoned as carbon monoxide levels reached life threatening levels.   An engineering study concluded in 1983 that the fire could burn for another century or even more and "could conceivably spread over an area of approximately 3,700 acres."

As time passed, each feeble attempt to do anything to stop the fire or help the residents of Centralia would cost more and more due to the fires progression.  Over 47 years and 40 million dollars later the fire still burns through old coal mines and veins under the town and the surrounding hillsides on several fronts.  The fire, smoke, fumes and toxic gases that came up through the back yards, basements and streets of Centralia literally ripped the town apart.   Most of the homes were condemned and residents were relocated over the years with grants from the federal government although some die-hards refused to be bought out and some still remain in the town.  Today Centralia is a virtual ghost town with only a few remaining residents.  As they continue to live in their beloved homes now owned by the federal government, people pass every day along Route 61, most totally unaware of the history surrounding them and the sad story of Centralia.


Studies have shown that if the fire is not contained it will continue to spread following the rich coal deposits and eventually threaten the neighboring town of Ashland, less that two miles away.  Many people including former (and current) residents of Centralia insist that there is more to this story than meets the eye.  Some believe that the rich deposits of coal beneath the town itself is the reason for the forced relocation of the towns people and to force the town to go defunct, giving up its mineral rights.  The stories around what is happening here vary depending on who you talk to or what you read.   What is certain is what has happened to this small community and the fact that Centralia as it once was, will never be again.

http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/centralia.htm


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:45:14 am
Centralia Pennsylvania

The following photos were sent in by Ray Barnett
Pictures Taken June 17, 2005

Why do we go there?  Because it's just so damn interesting. I mean, who knew such a place existed, and especially in boring 'ol PA? It's much like your site says, you can quite easily pass right through it without even realizing it... but it really is an interesting place. One thing I would like to mention about it that you didn't mention on your site (maybe you weren't affected?) is that spending even a small amount of time there in proximity to the vent holes will have negative effects on your health, particularly breathing and throat problems. We spent about 30 minutes up in the area around the vents, on the hill (where the cemetery featured in the pics I sent is), and after we left everyone was complaining of sore/scratchy throats for the following hour or two.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:46:53 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/Ray_Barnett/St_Ignatius_Cemetery_Centralia_PA_small.jpg)

I've been considering some method of avoiding this the next time we visit... perhaps something like wearing painters masks, but I'm not sure how much those would even help.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:47:29 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/Ray_Barnett/Centralia_Smoky_Holes_1_small.jpg)

We plan to spend a lot more time there this coming trip. This trip, we just stopped by Centralia on our way between a wedding and the reception.

I'm glad someone put such time and dedication into giving Centralia a presence on the web, and I hope the pictures are something you can use.

-Ray Barnett


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:48:08 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/Ray_Barnett/Centralia_House_with_Braces_small.JPG)

These supports of one of the few homes left in Centralia mask hidden I-beams that support the home that was once part of a series of row homes.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:48:32 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/Ray_Barnett/Centralia_Smoky_Holes_2_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:49:16 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/Ray_Barnett/Centralia_Smoky_Holes_3_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:49:41 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/Ray_Barnett/Centralia_Smoky_Holes_4_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:50:03 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/Ray_Barnett/Centralia_Smoky_Holes_5_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:50:27 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/Ray_Barnett/Centralia_Smoky_Holes_6_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:51:44 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/Ray_Barnett/Centralia_Smoky_Holes_7_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:52:13 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/Ray_Barnett/Centralia_Smoky_Holes_8_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:52:41 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/Ray_Barnett/Centralia_Wasteland_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:53:19 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/Ray_Barnett/Centralia_Smoky_Holes_9_small.jpg)

Old bricks from demolished home in the foreground as smoke rises behind the fallen tree.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:53:52 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/Ray_Barnett/Kyle_in_the_Wasteland_small.jpg)


We'll be heading back there again with some new people, some engineering students who have studied the (failed) efforts to stop the fire, etc... their insights should make the trip even more interesting. I am from the Pittsburgh area and have a few friends who live in Ashland.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:54:12 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/images/Ray_Barnett/Mine_Fire_Warning_Sign_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:56:04 am
Centralia Pennsylvania

This next set of pictures comes from an unlikely source.  Jeroen Vervloet lives in the Netherlands.  When planning a visit to the U.S., he learned of  Centralia's story and decided to visit the remains of this small town.  While in Centralia he took these pictures and upon his return, contacted us.  Here are his pictures, and his impressions of of a visit to Centralia PA.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:56:23 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0030_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:56:38 am
We planned a visit of almost four weeks to to the U.S. to go to the Fall Carlisle/Hershey PA car show. I was checking out the internet for anything interesting around Carlisle/ York and I came to this fantastic website about Centralia. This is why we visited Centralia.

First of all you can not believe what you are seeing when you walk over the hot pavement and smell the strange smoke that is coming out of the ground the second thing that catches the eye are the totally empty and abandoned streets. You can still see where the houses were, and everything is overgrown by trees bushes etc etc. We only saw one house left just across the Centralia municipal building.  When you see this it is almost unthinkable that this once was a town with 1100+ people.

We visited the Pioneer Coal mine in Ashland PA and what a great way to see, look, feel and smell how people worked
in the early 1900' s in the coalmines. a highly real recommended destination.

We learned that the coal vein (that is burning) goes all the way back to Ashland and it would take hundreds of years to "burn out".  We think Ashland is a typical American "Old Town" that looks great with only one main street and all the houses on the sides of the road. This is a adventure on it's own ..........for us in a very crowded Holland the parts that I really like about America is that they always leave everything as it is and build something new on another place/spot
so that we can still see how it was before!!

Please go and take a look at this great (what was a town) that is now almost a piece of History that is "Burning" since 1961 because maybe when the last people are gone, the government will remove and dig out the whole town to end the mining fire and although it is very tragic to look at it's also Very interesting to learn from.

best regards (From Holland), Jeroen Vervloet


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:57:22 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0031_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:57:45 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0031b.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:57:58 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0032_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:58:11 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0033_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:58:27 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0033b_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:58:39 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0034_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:58:53 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0035_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:59:10 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0036_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 05:59:22 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0036b_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:00:07 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0037_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:00:49 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0037b_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:01:17 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0038_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:01:33 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0040_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:01:52 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0041_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:02:11 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0042_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:02:29 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0043_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:02:41 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0044_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:02:54 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0045_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:03:43 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0045_small1.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:03:55 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0046_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:04:14 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0047_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:04:29 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0048_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:04:44 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0049_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:04:56 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0049b_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:05:09 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0050_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:05:23 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0050b_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:05:39 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0051_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:05:50 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0051b_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:06:45 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0058_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:07:12 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0059_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:07:37 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0060_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:08:16 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0060_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:08:42 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0060b_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:09:06 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/hillside_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:09:21 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/IMG_0205_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:09:44 am
http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/IMG_0205b_small.jpg


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:09:53 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/IMG_0205b_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:10:36 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/IMG_0206_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:10:51 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Img_0211_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:11:03 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Img_0212_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:11:21 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/IMG_0213_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:11:39 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/IMG_0213b_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:11:56 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/IMG_0215_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:12:12 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/IMG_0215b_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:12:28 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/IMG_0216_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:12:42 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/IMG_0216b_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:12:59 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Img_0217_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:13:10 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Img_0218_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:13:21 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/IMG_0224_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:13:39 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/61-crack_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:13:51 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Img_0212b_small.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 21, 2009, 06:14:27 am
(http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/jeroen_vervloet/Dscf0053_small.jpg)

http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/photos15.htm


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 26, 2009, 11:51:17 pm
(http://www.centraliaminefire.com/images/Archive1.jpg)

Centralia 1983


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 26, 2009, 11:51:34 pm
(http://www.centraliaminefire.com/images/Archive2.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 26, 2009, 11:51:43 pm
(http://www.centraliaminefire.com/images/Archive2.jpg)

Centralia Aerial 1983


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 26, 2009, 11:52:18 pm
(http://www.centraliaminefire.com/images/Archive3.jpg)

Checking the gas line-198


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 26, 2009, 11:53:34 pm
(http://www.centraliaminefire.com/images/Archive4.jpg)

End of a Centralia House, 1984


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 26, 2009, 11:54:07 pm
(http://www.centraliaminefire.com/images/Archive5.jpg)

Locust Avenue, Centralia's main street, 1983


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 26, 2009, 11:54:49 pm
(http://www.centraliaminefire.com/images/Archive6.jpg)

Mine Fire at Surface-1983

http://www.centraliaminefire.com/archive.html


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 26, 2009, 11:57:46 pm
Centralia in the News

Big news on the relocation front


Those of you who follow the Centralia message boards already know this, but the state has begun moving the last dozen or so diehards out of Centralia. I confirmed this about two months ago with Steve Fishman, general counsel of the Department of Community and Economic Development, when I was writing the revised and updated version of Unseen Danger (now to be titled Fire Underground) that will be out Sept. 1 from Globe Pequot Press. My new book includes the old one but adds three new chapters and 50 color photos and takes the story up to the present time. I asked him if everyone was going to be moved out, and he said yes. If you recall, the Casey Administration invoked eminent domain against the handful of remaining Centralia residents in 1992. Some then left, but about a dozen stayed, living rent free and tax free in their homes but unable to touch the money paid for them until they actually left. Casey didn't want to force anyone out, and neither did Tom Ridge. Ed Rendell has agreed to be the bad guy. John Lokitis, Jr., star of the documentary, The Town That Was, and who according to Schuylkill County records has purchased a home near Ashland, told the Cent-Cony newsgroup that he has to be gone by Labor Day. Fishman told me the eviction timetable would depend on resolution of court cases filed by the residents challenging the eminent domain prices paid for their homes.

http://www.centraliaminefire.com/news.html


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 26, 2009, 11:59:25 pm
(http://www.m-light.com/SquidCentralia/Centraliaesiehart.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 27, 2009, 12:05:25 am
Remains of a Sofa
Centralia, Pennsylvania


(http://www.m-light.com/SquidCentralia/CentralFkrProper.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 27, 2009, 12:06:53 am
Stretch of Highway in Centralia

Flickr photographer "divinemisscopa" wrote the following about her photograph below: "Here you can see a large crevice in a stretch of highway, now abandoned, leading to Centralia, PA. There was smoke rising from the center of the crack, however, it was difficult to capture it in this photograph. I woke up this morning with a sore throat, undoubtably caused by sucking in this stuff for an hour or so yesterday."

(http://www.m-light.com/SquidCentralia/CentraliaRoad.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 27, 2009, 12:07:07 am
Stretch of Highway in Centralia

Flickr photographer "divinemisscopa" wrote the following about her photograph below: "Here you can see a large crevice in a stretch of highway, now abandoned, leading to Centralia, PA. There was smoke rising from the center of the crack, however, it was difficult to capture it in this photograph. I woke up this morning with a sore throat, undoubtably caused by sucking in this stuff for an hour or so yesterday."

(http://www.m-light.com/SquidCentralia/CentraliaRoad.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 27, 2009, 12:09:50 am
Smoke wafts from a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) monitoring hole in Centralia, Pennsylvania.

(http://www.m-light.com/SquidCentralia/CentraliaWiki.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 27, 2009, 12:10:46 am
"Panoramic view of [what was] Route 61 through Centralia, Pennsylvania

(http://www.m-light.com/SquidCentralia/CentraliaWiki61.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 27, 2009, 12:11:44 am
Cinder Block Shrine
Brynesville, Pennsylvania

The town of Centralia has been devastated. The neighboring village of Brynesville has also been abandoned because of fire. The last home there was demolished in 1996. All that exists now in Brynesville are the ruins of the coal miner's washhouse and this shrine, made of cinder blocks and old bathtubs.(See photo below)
(http://www.m-light.com/SquidCentralia/CentraliaShrine.jpg)


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 27, 2009, 12:14:16 am
Why Did It Get So Out of Control?
How Could This Happen?

Information Courtesy of the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia

"One theory asserts that in May 1962, Centralia Borough Council hired five members of the volunteer fire company to clean up the town landfill, located in an abandoned strip mine pit next to the Odd Fellows Cemetery. This had been done prior to Memorial Day in previous years, when the landfill was in a different location. The firefighters, as they had in the past, set the dump on fire, and let it burn for a time. Unlike in previous years, however, the fire was not extinguished."

"The fire remained burning underground and spread through a hole in the rock pit into the abandoned coal mines beneath Centralia. Attempts to extinguish the fire were unsuccessful and it continued to burn throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Adverse health effects were reported by several people due to the byproducts of the fire, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and lack of healthy oxygen levels."

"In 1979, locals became aware of the scale of the problem when a gas-station owner and then mayor, John Coddington, inserted a stick into one of his underground tanks to check the fuel level. When he withdrew it, it seemed hot, so he lowered a thermometer down on a string and was shocked to discover that the temperature of the gasoline in the tank was 172 °F (77.8 °C). Statewide attention to the fire began to increase, culminating in 1981 when 12-year-old resident Todd Domboski fell into a subsidence four feet wide by 150 feet (46 m) deep that suddenly opened beneath his feet in a backyard."

"In 1984, Congress allocated more than $42 million for relocation efforts. Most of the residents accepted buyout offers and moved to the nearby communities of Mount Carmel and Ashland. A few families opted to stay despite warnings from state officials."

"In 1992, Pennsylvania claimed eminent domain on all properties in the borough, condemning all the buildings within. A subsequent legal effort by residents to have the decision reversed failed. In 2002, the United States Postal Service revoked Centralia's ZIP Code, 17927."

Information Courtesy of the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia

http://www.squidoo.com/real-life-horror-story


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on June 27, 2009, 12:20:00 am
In 1962, a little fire in Centralia (Pennsylvania) migrated into an exposed vein of anthracite coal under the town. The flames on the surface were successfully extinguished, but the coal continued to burn underground for many years, so that in 1984 the fire was completely out of control and the city had to be evacuated.

(http://bp2.blogger.com/_7_gMFng3OpY/RfkjccTKIFI/AAAAAAAABLg/RAqKhOAxur4/s400/330084239_7e48c9d5e1A.jpg)

Nowadays, Centralia is an abandoned and ghostly place. The fire still burns beneath the town and there is enough coal to feed the fire for up to 250 years.

http://fogonazos.blogspot.com/2007/03/centralia-mouth-of-hell.html


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on July 31, 2010, 06:30:45 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/cf/Old_Mine_Fire_1969.jpg/566px-Old_Mine_Fire_1969.jpg)

A small part of the Centralia mine fire as it appeared after being exposed during an excavation in 1969


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on July 31, 2010, 06:32:03 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/00/Centralia_smoke_rising.jpg/450px-Centralia_smoke_rising.jpg)

Smoke rising from the ground in Centralia, Pennsylvania, site of an underground coal seam fire.


Title: Re: A modern day Ghost Town
Post by: Lisa Wolfe on July 31, 2010, 06:34:53 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/b9/Centralia_wafting.png/800px-Centralia_wafting.png)

A plume of smoke wafts from the ground in Centralia, Pennsylvania, site of an underground coal seam fire.