On the way back from my camping trip to Watkins Glen we stopped off in Centralia, PA – this is a whole town that was evacuated due to a fire that started in the Coal Mine below. The fire has been burning since 1962. Some people didn’t want to leave, but eventually most of them were forced out. I am always surprised at how many people come to see this — well — area of nothing but shrubs, weeds and cemeteries – there was even a person selling hotdogs at a stand on the side of the main road (that’s a new one).
You can wander around the abandoned roads and hope to see smoke that still escapes from the cracks in the pavement and dirt to this day, although to be honest each time I go there, there is less and less smoke visible. We didn’t see any on this hot summer day. I am going to go back in the winter because supposedly you can see it better then so I’ll talk more about the town in that post.
We stopped by an area that has become known as the Graffiti Highway – the main road leading into Centralia was closed off and over the years people who have wandered back there have left their mark on literally everything possible: the road, rocks, and even leaves on trees and bushes. It is surreal to see this area that is tucked away – you would miss it if you didn’t know where it was. It’s not hard at all to find – actually right off the new road that goes into the center of the town, but it just looks like dirt piles and overgrown vegetation from the outside.
I have mixed feelings about graffiti – I can appreciate it when it’s actually a picture of something, but when people just paint dicks and curse words (which is what the majority of the graffiti here is) its just stupid….and ya know there’s the whole vandalism thing. I will say I absolutely can not stand it on scenic trails (like the pinnacle in PA along the AT), but here….a long forgotten unused section of road – is it really hurting anything? It just adds to the eerie feeling of the town.
If this was on a t-shirt I would so buy it:
It is crazy to see how much more graffiti there is now – the last time I was here was in 2009 while shooting a zombie webisode for my friend —ohhh yeah – I got to be a zombie with fake blood, cool contacts that whited my eyes out and everything….too bad I didn’t get to eat anyone before I was shot in the head and killed – LOL! Quite a difference in the road huh? Also you can see a tiny bit of smoke escaping from the cracks in these pics.
What are your thoughts on graffiti? Anyone else ever visit here or have plans to go?
Click HERE for a great website about the Graffiti Highway and Centralia if you want more info!