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Panoramic Virtual Tours:

Mine Fire Hot Spot
Downtown Centralia Mainstreet Centralia Damaged Hillside

 
 
   
Knoebels Amusement Park (only 15 miles from Centralia!) 
Ghost Towns
Area 51 - Groom Lake
Abandoned PA Turnpike
Defunct Amusement Parks
Abandoned Places

  

Photo Updates:


Centralia in HDR

July 2006 360? Virtual Tour of Downtown Centralia PA

Centralia's Neighbor:
Byrnesville, Pa

Zeisloft's Mobil
Gas Station

July 5th 2008
Centralia PA

Centralia PA 2008
January Photos and 
commentary by
Donald Davis


2006 Photos


2005 Photos
of Centralia


 

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2004 Photos
of Centralia


2003 photos

of Centralia

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2002 photos

of Centralia

360 Degree Virtual Tours of Centralia PA
 

Fire In The Hole
by Kristie Betts
A fictional story based on Centralia
 

The Little
Town That Was

by Donald Hollinger

 

RESIDENTS TO SAVE THE BOROUGH OF CENTRALIA - FACT SHEET #6 - MARCH 1984 - This "Fact Sheet" was transcribed from a photocopied, original March 1984 newsletter from a Centralia organization called "Residents To Save The Borough Of Centralia".  Read the News Letter here


130th Anniversary
of the 1877 Shamokin Uprising and the Great Railroad Strike .. Read More

 

Centralia Today
A Photo Documentary
of Centralia today.

 

Mine Emergency Response Program
Details from the
Saskatchewan
Mine Rescue Manual
 

 

 

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.

Mine Fire History Mine Fire History Historical Photos
Pictures From Today Mine Fire Chronology Visiting Centralia
Centralia Then & Now 360 Virtual Tours Scientific Study
Satellite Photos Downtown Memories

     

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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.  Read More Here
  
What Centralia look like a few short decades ago? Look at a set of comparison pictures from then to now.

Centralia, March 2008


 
Fall in Centralia PA
October 18th 2008
by Donald Davis
 

Centralia Photos by Ryan Warner


DEP gas monitoring

A Lone Home...

 

 

 

 

 Is it legal to visit Centralia? 
This and other Frequently Asked Questions
Here
 

Listen to songs about
Centralia PA

 

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Berry's World cartoon that
ran during the 1980's.

 

Centralia PA, circa 1906

 

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Abandoned streets,
ruins of neighborhoods

 

What Centralia look like a few short decades ago? Look at a set of comparison pictures from then to now click here.

     

     Centralia then...     

     ...Centralia now     

Photo courtesy of: 
Karl Xydexx Jorgensen Modern Ruins

   

 

cut wiresHelp Contribute To Centralia's Story

If you wish to contribute to the story of Centralia, PA either through first hand experience, pictures, stories, reading information or even comments, we would love to hear from you.  You may e-mail us at:

or write to:

Offroaders.com
11 Crozerville Road
Aston, PA 19014

 
  Mine Fire History Mine Fire History Historical Photos
  Pictures From Today Mine Fire Chronology Visiting Centralia
  Centralia Then & Now 360? Virtual Tours Scientific Study
  Satellite, Aerial Photos Downtown Panoramic Centralia Books

  

Other Interesting Things

 

 


 

So you want to Visit Centralia PA?  What you should know before you go to Centralia PA.

 


 

What's near Centralia?

Plan your visit around one of Pennsylvania's best kept secrets located only 15 miles up the road from Centralia...


Knoebels
Amusement Park

Click Below for
 more details...

Knoebels
Amusement Park

 


Silent Hill & Centralia
Centralia PA inspires screenwriter Roger Avary during the making of the movie Silent Hill.
Read More Here...

 

Remembering ...
Byrnesville PA
By Mike Reilley

 
  Books about Centralia
  Maps of Centralia
  Around Town Today
  Local Attractions
 
  Personal Notes
  Additional Reading
  Haunted Centralia?
 
  Gerry McWilliams and
  the album "Centralia"
  
  Silent Hill Inspiration
  Other Mine Fires
  Search Centralia
  Centralia Sites/Books
  
Panoramic Virtual Tours:
Mine Fire Hot Spot
Downtown Centralia Mainstreet Centralia Damaged Hillside
  
 
  Centralia Infrared


Centralia PA in B&W Infrared
Infrared Photography
by Donald Davis

Video Tour
in Infrared of
Centralia PA
by Donald Davis

  

The Little Town That Was
by Donald Hollinger
 
  
Made in U.S.A. - 1987 movie that was filmed on location in Centralia PA See the opening Scene that started in Centralia during the peek of the mine fire disaster

 
 

 

Is Centralia Haunted?
Explore the possibility

  

  

  

Is there Hope
for Centralia?

Maybe...

Through the use of Nitrogen-Enhanced foam the Pinnacle mine fire was extinguished by Cummins Industries, Inc.  Cummins proposes to tackle the Centralia Mine fire and bring an end to the 
40 plus year fire.

Read this White Paper which evaluates the effectiveness of remotely applied nitrogen-enhanced foam to aid in efforts to isolate and suppress a mine fire.