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Abandoned Cities from Around the World: Deserted Towns and Other Derelict Places

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Author Topic: Abandoned Cities from Around the World: Deserted Towns and Other Derelict Places  (Read 275 times)
Lisa Wolfe
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« Reply #45 on: June 17, 2009, 01:15:52 pm »



Higher resolution photograph of the Route 61 crack, in Centralia PA.

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« Reply #46 on: June 17, 2009, 01:16:21 pm »

Today

A handful of occupied homes remain in Centralia. However, most of the abandoned buildings have been demolished, and at a casual glance the area now appears to be a field with many paved streets running through it. Some areas are being filled with new-growth forest. Most of Centralia's roads and sidewalks are overgrown with brush, although some areas appear to be mowed.[7] The remaining church in the borough holds weekly Saturday night services, and the borough's four cemeteries are still well-maintained. Centralia's cemeteries now have a far greater population than the town, including one on the hilltop that has smoke rising around and out of it.

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« Reply #47 on: June 17, 2009, 01:16:32 pm »

The only indications of the fire, which underlies some 400 acres (1.6 km²), spreading along four fronts, are low round metal steam vents in the south of the borough, and several signs warning of underground fire, unstable ground, and carbon monoxide. Additional smoke and steam can be seen coming from an abandoned portion of Pennsylvania Route 61, the area just behind the hilltop cemetery, and other cracks in the ground scattered about the area. Route 61 was repaired several times until its final closing. The current route was a detour around the damaged portion during the repairs and became a permanent route in the mid-1990s, thus abandonment occurred to the old route with mounds of dirt being placed at both ends of the former route, effectively blocking the road. Pedestrian traffic is still possible due to a small opening about two feet wide at the north side of the road, but this is muddy and not accessible to the disabled. The underground fire is still burning and will continue to do so for the indefinite future. There are no plans to extinguish the fire, which is consuming an eight-mile seam containing enough coal to fuel it for 250 years.[1]

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« Reply #48 on: June 17, 2009, 01:16:46 pm »

Prior to its demolition in September of 2007, one of the few remaining houses was notable for the five chimney-like support buttresses along each of two opposite sides of the house, where the house was previously supported by a row of adjacent buildings before they were demolished. Another house with similar buttresses is visible from the northern side of the cemetery, just north of the burning, partially subsumed hillside.[8]

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania did not renew the relocation contract at the end of 2005, and the fate of the remaining residents is uncertain.[9]

It is expected that many former residents will return in 2016 to open a time capsule buried in 1966 next to the veterans' memorial.[1]

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« Reply #49 on: June 17, 2009, 01:17:38 pm »

Mineral rights

Several current and former Centralia residents believe the state's eminent domain claim was a ploy to gain the mineral rights to the anthracite coal beneath the borough. Residents estimate its value to be in the billions of dollars, although the exact amount of coal is not known. This is stated in Joan Quigley's The Day the Earth Caved In in a section that indicated Centralia is the only municipality within the Commonwealth that actually owned its mineral rights. Contrasting this was a mine fire, likened to the one here, in a nearby municipality in which the government was successful in extinguishing through similar methods used and proposed for Centralia.[10]
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« Reply #50 on: June 17, 2009, 01:17:58 pm »

Geography

Centralia is located at 40°48′12″N 76°20′30″W / 40.80333°N 76.34167°W / 40.80333; -76.34167 (40.803291, -76.341741).[11] According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.2 square miles (0.6 km²), all land.
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« Reply #51 on: June 17, 2009, 01:18:36 pm »

Demographics

As of the 2000 census,[12] there were 21 people, 10 households, and 7 families residing in the borough. As of March 2004[update], there were eighteen people residing in nine dwellings. (More recent statistics in 2007 report half as many residents.) The population density was 87.5 people per square mile (33.8/km²). There were sixteen housing units at an average density of 66.7 people per square mile (25.7/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 100% white.

There were ten households out of which one (10%) had children under the age of 18 living with them, five (50%) were married couples living together, one had a single female householder, and three (30%) were non-families. Three of the households were made up of individuals and one had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10, and the average family size was 2.57.

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« Reply #52 on: June 17, 2009, 01:18:55 pm »

In the borough the population was spread out with one (5%) resident under the age of 18, one from 18 to 24, four (19%) from 25 to 44, seven (33%) from 45 to 64, and eight (38%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 62 years. There were ten females and eleven males with one male under the age of 18.

The median income for a household in the borough was $23,750, and the median income for a family was $28,750. The per capita income for the borough was $16,083. None of the population is below the poverty line.

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« Reply #53 on: June 17, 2009, 01:19:40 pm »



1999 photo showing the abandoned highway, and its replacement
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« Reply #54 on: June 17, 2009, 01:20:20 pm »



Toxic gas and smoke rising from the ground above the underground fire.
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« Reply #55 on: June 17, 2009, 01:21:09 pm »



Local warning sign
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« Reply #56 on: June 17, 2009, 01:21:37 pm »

Police

Though it originally fielded its own three-man department (one full time chief and two part-time officers) during the latter part of the twentieth century, Centralia Borough is now patrolled by the Pennsylvania State Police – Bloomsburg Station.
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« Reply #57 on: June 17, 2009, 01:22:59 pm »

Literature

•   Appalachian Trail, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, describes a visit to the town.
•   Jennifer Finney Boylan's novel The Planets (written under the name James Boylan) and its sequel The Constellations are both set in Centralia.
•   Centralia is the hometown of the main character in the novel Dirty Blonde by Lisa Scottoline.
•   In the 2003 book Bubbles Ablaze by Sarah Strohmeyer, Centralia is the inspiration for the fictional town of Limbo, Pennsylvania.
•   In March 1991, Centralia was the subject of an article ("Don't Go There") in National Lampoon magazine.
•   The main character in Joyce Carol Oates' The Tattooed Girl, Alma Busch, is from Centralia.
•   Douglas Soderberg's 1986 one-act play The Root of Chaos is set in Centralia.
•   People's June 22, 1981 issue discusses the borough's dilemma in "A Town with a Hot Problem Decides Not to Move Mountains but to Move Itself".
•   TIME also presents Centralia's problems in its June 22, 1981 issue, in "The Hottest Town in America".
•   Centralia is documented in photographs and oral histories in Slow Burn: A Photodocument of Centralia, Pennsylvania by Renee Jacobs, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986.
•   Centralia is the model for the eponymous fictional town of Coal Run (novel) written by Tawni O'Dell. The book is about the life of Ivan Zoschenko, a former football hero known locally as The Great Ivan Z, but who is now the deputy of a nearby town. Ivan grew up in Coal Run, which, like Centralia, is nearly abandoned because of underground fires in the coal seams beneath the town. However, Coal Run's fires are a result of mine explosion that took the life of 96 men, including Ivan's father.
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« Reply #58 on: June 17, 2009, 01:24:10 pm »

Film

•   The town and its few remaining residents are the focus of Chris Perkel and Georgie Roland's 2007 feature-length documentary The Town That Was.[13]
•   The town is the inspiration for the 1991 cult film Nothing But Trouble, written by Dan Aykroyd.
•   In the 2006 horror film Silent Hill, the town of Silent Hill has been abandoned due to a prolonged mine fire, which director Christophe Gans says was inspired by Centralia. Aspects of this are shown throughout the movie, such as characters wandering through the misty version of Silent Hill wearing mining gear.
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« Reply #59 on: June 17, 2009, 01:24:54 pm »

Comics

•   The town is included in a short documentary on the Broken Saints web comic DVD set.
•   Centralia appears in Alan Moore's Saga of the Swamp Thing in the 1985 story arc "The Nukeface Papers".
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