Pennsylvania is Home to an Abandoned Town Most People Don’t Know

Pennsylvania is a state rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. But it also has a darker side, one that is hidden from most people’s eyes. In the northeastern part of the state, there is a town that was once thriving and prosperous, but is now deserted and decaying. This is the story of Centralia, the abandoned town that most people don’t know.

The Rise and Fall of Centralia

Centralia was founded in 1866 as a coal mining town. It was named after the nearby Centralia Mine, which was one of the largest and most productive in the region. At its peak, Centralia had a population of over 2,000 people, who enjoyed a vibrant community life with churches, schools, shops, and social clubs.

However, Centralia’s fortune began to decline in the 1950s, as the demand for coal decreased and the mines started to close. Many residents left the town in search of better opportunities elsewhere, leaving behind empty buildings and a shrinking tax base. By 1962, Centralia had less than 1,000 inhabitants, and faced a serious problem: a fire that was burning underground.

The Fire that Never Dies

The origin of the fire is still a matter of debate, but the most widely accepted theory is that it was caused by a deliberate burning of trash at a landfill site that was located on top of an abandoned coal mine. The fire ignited the coal seam below, and spread through the network of tunnels and shafts that ran under the town. The fire proved impossible to extinguish, despite several attempts by local and state authorities. The fire consumed the coal, creating toxic gases, sinkholes, and cracks that released smoke and steam.

The fire posed a serious threat to the health and safety of the remaining residents of Centralia, who had to endure the effects of the fire on their daily lives. Some reported headaches, nausea, and respiratory problems from the fumes. Others experienced damage to their homes and properties from the subsidence and erosion. Some even lost their pets and livestock to the fire, as they fell into the holes or suffocated from the smoke.

The Abandonment of Centralia

In 1984, the federal government decided to relocate the residents of Centralia, as the fire was deemed uncontrollable and the town was declared a disaster area. The government offered to buy out the properties of the residents, who had the option to accept the offer or stay at their own risk. Most residents chose to leave, and by 1992, Centralia was officially disincorporated as a municipality. Only a handful of residents remained, who refused to give up their homes and their rights to the land.

Today, Centralia is a ghost town, with only a few buildings and structures left standing. The fire is still burning, and is estimated to last for another 250 years. The town is mostly off-limits to visitors, as it is considered unsafe and illegal to enter. However, some curious and adventurous people still come to see the town, especially the Graffiti Highway, a section of the former Route 61 that was closed and covered with graffiti by the visitors.

The Legacy of Centralia

Centralia is a town that was once alive and prosperous, but is now dead and forgotten. It is a town that was destroyed by a fire that was man-made and unstoppable. It is a town that was abandoned by the government and the society, but not by its loyal and defiant residents. It is a town that is a mystery and a tragedy, but also a lesson and a warning.

Centralia is a town that most people don’t know, but should.

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