Centralia, Pennsylvania: Centralia Mine FireCoal veins burning since 1961, almost all of the buildings and people are gone. Unsafe ground, noxious gases -- be careful.
Visitor Tips and News About Centralia Mine Fire
This "town" is slowly disappearing. The grid-like streets are visible, but street signs are hard to come by. It is best to see this eerie "town" sooner than later. Curbs, stop signs, and the destroyed old Rt. 61 are what's left in this forgotten municipality.[Mike, 08/03/2010]
If you happen to be driving by already it might be interesting to look around a bit, but definitely not worth taking a trip to. Of what little there was of this town, not much of anything is left. The noticeable extent of the mine fire is just a little bit of smoke coming out of a few spots in the ground. No smoldering, no extreme heat, nothing that makes you go... wow, that's crazy. The photos people have on here of things like the crack in the road, etc are the entire extent of what you'll see, not just examples. The whole place is just covered in trash. It is very sad what happened there, but not worth your time to visit.[David, 04/22/2010]
Over the decades there has been less and less to see in Centralia. Even in its heyday, there weren't flames leaping from the ground, but some hot cracks, gaping pits, and many venting pipes. It's still a curiosity if you're in the Ashland area checking out other attractions.
My husband recalled memories of passing through the town and seeing the smoke coming from the ground. I was up for a road trip already that day and sought to find it for myself. It took a while to find because only a handful of houses remain. You blink, you miss it. Once we found it it was not as thrilling as I expected.
Centralia is mainly overgrown brush and trees. Three points I must bring up are the wonderful things I noticed. One a lone house is very noticeable from Rt. 61 heading North. On the sidewalk near it is a green bench with the name of the town and the year it was officially founded. Behind that is a well manicured lawn and a Veterans Memorial. The second thing to note (a bit funny) is up on the hill, which is actually Rt. 42, is the town borough building, housing a fire truck and a police car. A final note is the beautiful cemetery further back on Rt. 61. A small patch is paved in front of a well-maintained iron fence.
I recommend giving the town a look see, but take the warnings seriously. We only drove as far as our car could go on the vacant over grown streets. We passed two cars without occupants in the middle of nowhere. Don't now if they were abandoned or what. I never got out of the car. Too creepy.
While Centralia holds a bit of excitement to it, at the same time I was a bit saddened by how the town once was and no longer is.[Amanda, 07/23/2008]
This place was one of the destinations in our trip around PA. We were expecting all these warning signs posted and "Road Closed" barriers blocking off the abandoned Rt. 61 and all that smoke coming out of the ground.
For the most part, we were disappointed. No warning signs, no "road closed" barriers - but the smoking ground didn't disappoint! The fire is now past the St. Ignatus Cemetery and continues to puff out massive clouds of smoke. We followed a family over a hump to the right of the roadblock (in the direction of Ashville, right after the cemetery), and found more smoke in a rocky terrain along with various moldering furniture and rusted junk. There was a toliet ripped off of its base and abandoned here.
If you walk over the hump behind the big arrow sign and go down probably half a mile down the abandoned Rt 61, you can see a massive fissure in the road with lots of smoke coming out. It's easy to find, actually - with all the graffiti written around it.[Nat Balsley, 02/23/2008]
Driving through Pennsylvania, my friend Brian managed to drop his cell phone on the Interstate, where it was picked up by a State Trooper. He said "We all got a big laugh out of it down at the station" when they heard that we were going to Centralia. "You're going to be disappointed - It's just a town with some smoke coming out of the ground."
We were anything but disappointed.[Maeve Sullivan, 01/30/2008]