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A modern day Ghost Town

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Author Topic: A modern day Ghost Town  (Read 4455 times)
Lisa Wolfe
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« on: June 19, 2009, 01:54:46 am »


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).
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