URBAN SETTING


MISSION #10 – Welcome to Centralia, PA

LOCATION: Centralia, PA

Here is a brief bio  of Centralia, PA courtesy of Wikipedia –

Centralia is a borough and ghost town in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States. Its population has dwindled from over 1,000 residents in 1981 to 12 in 2005,[1] 9 in 2007, and 7 in 2010[2] as a result of a mine fire burning beneath the borough since 1962. Centralia is now the least-populous municipality in Pennsylvania, with four fewer residents than the borough of S.N.P.J.

Centralia is part of the Bloomsburg–Berwick Micropolitan Statistical Area. The borough is completely surrounded by Conyngham Township.

All properties in the borough were claimed under eminent domain by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1992 (and all buildings therein were condemned), and Centralia’s ZIP code was revoked by the Post Office in 2002.[1] However, a few residents continue to reside there in spite of a failed lawsuit to reverse the eminent domain claim.

..the full article can be found here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centralia,_Pennsylvania)

PERSONAL STORY

This adventure happened sometime ago so a few of the details are a lil fuzzy. For some reason the photos have never been posted. Nevertheless I am bringing them to you now.

I first learned of Centralia through a documentary/exploration from Palladium Boots. You can watch the video at this link (http://www.palladiumboots.com/exploration/centralia).

Since I lived in PA I knew I had to make the trip to see this town for myself. Centralia was a bit of a distance from where I was living at the time, so the adventure was an entire day affair.

One would think that finding a ghost town would be easy, but every road I took seemed to diverge me away from where I wanted to be.Eventually I found Centralia and immediately noticed reminance of a town that is no longer standing.

Driving down what was once neighborhood streets all that could be seen was driveways which led to nothing. Some of the driveways were covered by brush most just led to open fields. Below is one of many driveways which now lead to nothing.

I decided to park my car in of these driveways to hide my car from people passing by. Except for handful of people the town is abandoned. At the moment I was driving a blue volkswagon beatle, and that would stick out like a sore thumb.

I left the car and took off on foot. I instantly smelled a strong presence of sulfur. I followed the smell til I found where it is was coming from. The sulfur was escaping the ground through several outlets along a hillside

The heat under my feet was intense and after exploring the hills for several minutes I became noticeably dizzy. My visions became blurry and I realized it was time to move on. As I was about to leave the area a large black drove up and I stood still as I figured that would be better than running. I was glad I stayed because I had the honor of meeting Charlie. Charlie was a large man who was once a resident of Centralia. He immediately greeting me with a smile and hand shake and asked if I had saw anything interesting. He continued to tell me about his past with Centralia and other places that I need to see before I leave. Charlie then brought me to his parents graveyard just 20ft from where the sulfur was escaping the ground. I was worried for his parents resting place being destroyed by the far, but he assured me that they would be alright. Just as we were about to part ways he handed me a souvener, two shiny pieces of coal.

As Charlie began to drive off in the truck he stopped and pointed me in a direction I should travel. He shouted towards me that I need to see two things before I leave; the time capsule and the abandoned highway. He waved goodbye and was gone.

The time capsule was buried in 1966 and is to be opened 2016. I tried to research the contents of the capsule, but was unsuccessful.

The abandoned Highway 61 was once the main entrance into Centralia, but was abandoned due the coal mine fires. The roads have since been warped by the fire and in some places severly cracked. You can see steam, sulfur and smoke escaping through several parts of the highway.

As the sun finally set, my day in Centralia came to an end. I saw how a man made disaster could affect thousands of people. I met citizens of Centralia still in high spirits after dealing with a terrible situation out of their control.

Thank you again for reading.

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[…] Photo borrowed from Urban Setting […]

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