Friday, February 5, 2010

Centralia, Pennsylvania -- Making Headlines Maybe for the Last Time

Good morning Greenies! Many of you know that Matt and I visited the dying & burning town of Centralia, Pennsylvania last summer as part of a weekend road trip to see Jason and Dave Matthews Band play Hershey Park Stadium. The town of Centralia completely mystified both of us as we had heard about it years before and we knew that time was running out to have the chance to see it for ourselves. So when the opportunity, to not only catch two of our favorite acts together on one stage but also visit this town that was only about an hour away from Hershey, presented itself last summer we couldn’t pass it up.

Now I’m really glad we didn’t.

This morning on Yahoo one of the top stories is the fact that the last five residents of the town (yes you read that correctly, only five left) are finally being forced out and their houses are being demolished. When Matt and I visited last summer there were still eleven people living in town.

Six homes evacuated and demolished in six months? There has got to be something pretty major going on there huh?

There is.

In the 1960’s an abandoned mine was used as a garbage burning station. In a strange twist of fate the flames ignited some veins of coal and the fire began to slowly burn out the coal running underground this town. Since then the main road was shut down and diverted due to massive heaves and veins opening on the surface of the pavement, enormous sink holes have been created all around town, residents became sick from carbon monoxide poisoning, and now every resident has been told it is indeed time to go.

There is a certain eerie double edged sword in this and I decided to film a very rough, first timer’s documentary short on the town and the subject of its problem last year. Please feel free to check it out and I recommend reading up on the story, not to mention getting there quick if you intend to check it out as I have suspicions it will not be allowed for very much longer.


Almost Precious said...

Sad in a way, another ghost town that was once a healthy community, it might not have been a Metro-Mecca but people lived there and called it home. Under the circumstances it's understandable, though still sad.
I suppose that after another 100 years or so, the underground coal supply will have burned itself out and then who knows, maybe the property values in Centralia will sky rocket?

Bree said...

This story still totally blows my mind.

Jenn said...

That would be amazing, Anna, if eventually the ground were stable enough to house inhabitants in the town again, even if it is 100 years from now. The thing that is such a bummer about that would be the original residents will really never be able to return and most of their offspring will have already moved on so the town would just never be the same.

It blows me away too Bree. Matt said he wanted to take a road trip last night, I told him we should go back before they don't let us & he's seriously thinking about it. This is just so sad.