June 24, 2011. After a trip to the Yuengling Brewery and the Pioneer Tunnel and Coal Mine, my family decided to take a side trip to Centralia. Before 1962, Centralia was a small, quiet town in the Anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania. In 1962, an out of control underground coal fire caused houses to cave in, highway 61 to be diverted and the town to be condemned.
I visited Centralia 20 years ago and smoke was coming out of the ground everywhere. If you poked a stick down a smoking hole it would sometimes start on fire. Today the abandoned section of Rt. 61 can be seen all crumpled up, split and smoking in spots. The area surrounding the highway is a waste land of rocks lifted to the surface.
Today the abandoned section of highway 61 is now a "canvas" for graffiti artists. The area is not monitored and many hundreds of graffiti statements from "G" rated all the way to "XX" can be seen and some are in color.
On the warm day when we visited, the smoke was light and "misty" and very hard to photograph. I expect to revisit Centralia on a cold winter day and take more photos.
For a detailed account of the fire that will burn for centuries, CLICK HERE