Centralia

Centralia

Centralia, a close-knit town of coal miners once had over 1000 residents in the 60s. A fire that has been burning underground for the past 56 years turned Centralia into a ghost town, or a deserted town,  to be more precise, with 6 residents remaining. It is a town whose zip code already taken away by the postal service, and its name almost erased by the government.

Cemetries

 It’s sad to realize the best kept structures in town were cemeteries.

St. Ignatius Cemetery
Odd Fellows Cemetery

Two of the three cemeteries in Centralia, they are still very well kept. I read people, though left their home because of fire and health hazard came back when they died as generations of their ancestors were buried here. The cemeteries are gated, and mowed nicely. The dump ground behind Odd Fellows Cemetery was where the fire first started, on purpose, to burn trash in landfill preparing for Memorial Day service. It never extinguished.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The other well kept structure is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, last of the 7 churches of Centralia standing. It’s located outside of the fire impact zone, thus was allowed to remain open. It holds Sunday masses.

Side View
View of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the Cemetery

Since the church is private property, I didn’t get to go in there. It supposed to overlook the town of Centralia, but there probably isn’t much to look at from the church of the town and it’s completed deserted.

Graffiti Highway

View from the north end of the “highway”, near St. Ignatius Cemetry (down hill)
View from the south end of the “highway”, near re-routed Rt 61 (up hill)

The Graffiti Highway was once a main road going through Centralia, until the fire started burning underground since 1962 finally deemed the stretch of the road unsafe to drive. There are pot holes, gaping cracks, and buckling asphalt.

Buckle under heat from coal fire underground
Cracks
Gaping crack, strong smell of sulfur
Wall of the gaping crack, charcoal was damp to the touch, black oil smeared all over my hands
Visible sink holes

The nearly one mile long PA-61 (destroyed), it’s official name on Google Map, became a canvas for artists. It’s indeed a fascinating scene. There are layers of drawings, some started to fade, some freshly painted.

This was painted 3 days prior to my visit (10/17/2018)

Even the leaves and tree trunks were getting spay painted.

This tree somehow gives me the most eerie feeling, so fitting for the upcoming Halloween.

Some of the art works are pretty admirable. 

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