Road Trip! Part II

Read here for Part I of my Memorial Day Weekend Road Trip.
(Click on photos to see a larger view. To see ALL of the photos from our road trip, please check out my flickr photostream.)

We left the Wildlife Conservation and since we were both off all day, we decided to keep going. After a while....and frankly, I don't have the slightest idea how we got there, we just kept driving along....we ended up in Minersville, PA.

In Minersville we stopped for a quick bite and gas. We found this crazy statue. The statue itself isn't crazy at all, it's a lovely tribute to people who have lost their lives to coal mines. The crazy part is that it is in the parking lot of a Turkey Hill.

We also saw this awesome display in someone's yard!

We decided, well, we have gone this far, let's go to Centralia!
We passed this cool pub along the way!

I am by no means an expert on the history of Centralia, and I encourage you to do your own research if you decide to venture there. But I can give you a few little details, as I have been reading a book about Centralia and have done some research. I actually also remember driving through Centralia as a child many times on our way elsewhere and my parents telling me about the fire and seeing it go from a "normal" seeming town to one with fewer and fewer homes.
Centralia was a booming coal mining town. In fact, Centralia means Center of Commerce. There were lots of houses and businesses during the coal mining times. (lol, I am not a historian, I am not sure when that was!) Anyway in 1962, garbage was taken to a pit, as was the regular status quo, and bured. They thought the fire was out. Unfortunately, however, the fire had caught in an abandoned coal mine.

A variety of things were tried to put out the fire. Eventually, the government pulled funding for trying to put out the fire. Ironically if they had put forth the funds then, a lot of money, not to mention peoples' homes, would have been saved.

The fire still burns underground all these years later. You can actually see smoke coming up from the ground.

This once booming town is now a ghost town.

We have tried to go to Centralia before, but a random blizzard broke out and we couldn't see anything.

Here are some photos....click to make them larger!
This was a street we drove down. It just stopped and was overgrown.

View from a hill....you can't really tell where the houses were because everything is all grown over.

Here you can actually see the smoke coming out of the ground. (The smoke didn't photograph well!)

View from a hill....you can see coal in the distance.

In Centralia, there is a problem of sink holes. In 1982 a child fell into one. Thankfully he grabbed a root and his friend pulled him out quickly; however, the gases could kill you very quickly.
Another such hole appeared in Route 61. It is blocked off on 2 sides and the road is detoured around now. We walked back to see it. There was all kinds of crazy graffiti and such. I actually think it is considered tresspassing to go back there, but it isn't posted.

While we were on the old Rt. 61, we actually felt a little off kilter and woozy. The road was on a tilt, and it was super creepy, so that may have added to the wooziness.

There was a house on this road. This is the coolest road sign ever!

I must say, I was completely shocked that there were other people visiting. It seemed so strange, but then again, I guess it shouldn't.

One last thing, you can't find Centralia on a map or by mapquest. I am not going to encourage or discourage you to go there, but it is in Northeast Pennsylvania. You can google it and find some info (with bad directions....lol) but if you can get to Ashland, turn at the Mays Drive in. You will go up a hill and there's a hard right turn in the road -- that's where the detour around the damaged part of Rt 61 is, although it is no longer marked. You will see the other side of the closed road and a cemetary. You are then in Centralia. If you don't know what you are looking for, you might miss it because it just looks like you are driving through the mountains and there are a couple of houses.

We then hit the road again.....

The exciting conclusion on the next installment: Road Trip! Part III

Until then, take care!

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