12 Must-See Attractions In Centralia Pa

things to do in centralia pa

Nestled in the heart of Pennsylvania lies a ghost town that has become a popular destination for thrill-seekers and history-lovers alike. Centralia, Pennsylvania, may have been abandoned after a coal mine fire started in 1962, but it still boasts an array of attractions that are worth exploring. From eerie cemeteries to bubbling steams and graffiti-covered highways, here are the 12 must-see attractions that make Centralia a unique and unforgettable experience.

Thing to Do Description
Graffiti Highway An abandoned stretch of Route 61 covered in colorful artwork
Centralia Mine Fire See the remnants of a burning coal mine and learn about the town's history
Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine Tour Take a trolley ride and explore an authentic coal mine
Roaring Creek Tract Hike or bike through nature trails and see diverse wildlife
Fire Tower Climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the surrounding area
Centralia Cemetery Pay respects to the town's former residents and learn about their stories
Ashland Pioneer Tunnel Tour the mine and museum and learn about the area's coal mining history
Girard Park Enjoy a picnic, go fishing, or take a walk around the pond


Graffiti Highway

Source: www.cnn.com

Centralia, Pennsylvania is a small town in Columbia County that has gained national attention due to an underground mine fire that has been burning since 1962. The fire caused most of the town’s residents to evacuate, leaving behind an eerie ghost town that has become a popular destination for visitors and urban explorers alike.

Among the various intriguing sights in Centralia, one of the most popular is Graffiti Highway. This stretch of road was once part of Route 61 but has been closed off since 1993 due to the fire. Over time, it has become a canvas for graffiti artists who have covered nearly every inch of the pavement with their unique artwork.

The origins of Graffiti Highway can be traced back to the early 2000s, when the road was still relatively obscure. A local group of artists began venturing out to the road to create graffiti, and over time, it caught on as a popular spot for others to do the same. The artwork ranges from simple tags to intricate murals, making it a vibrant and engaging display.

Despite its popularity, Graffiti Highway has not been without controversy. In 2020, the landowner decided to bulldoze the road, presumably to prevent any further damage to the environment. This move was met with backlash from those who had come to love the graffiti and saw it as an important piece of Centralia’s history.

While the future of Graffiti Highway remains uncertain, visitors can still check out the site and appreciate the beauty of the art that has been left behind. It’s a unique destination that offers a glimpse into a part of Pennsylvania’s history that is both tragic and truly fascinating.


Centralia Mine Fire

Source: www.wgal.com
Characteristic Description
NameCentralia mine fire
WebsiteGo to website

Centralia, Pennsylvania, is a small, abandoned coal mining town that has been on fire for over 50 years. The Centralia Mine Fire, which started in 1962, has burned up the underground mines, leading to dangerous cracks and sinkholes on the surface. The fire is still raging and there is no definitive way to extinguish it.

The fire started when a garbage dump was set on fire. The fire then spread to an exposed coal seam, igniting it and causing the fire to spread throughout the mines. The fire has been fueled by decades of coal in the abandoned mines and has created significant environmental and health impacts.

As the fire has continued to burn, it has caused damage to the ground, air, and water in and around Centralia. The resulting carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and other toxic gases released into the air have created an ongoing public health crisis. Additionally, the fire has melted underground water pipes, creating dangerous sinkholes and cracks in roads, homes, and landmarks in the town.

The situation in Centralia has led to many efforts to address and contain the fire. These efforts include pumping water into the mines to cool the fire and placing trenches around the perimeter of the affected area to prevent further spread of the flames. However, no plan has fully solved the problem, and the Centralia Mine Fire continues to burn to this day.

Despite the danger, a few residents have remained in Centralia. With only a handful of residents remaining, the abandoned town has become somewhat of an eerie tourist destination for those interested in the strange and unsettling history of the site.

In conclusion, the Centralia Mine Fire is a tragic event that has had significant environmental and public health impacts. The ongoing fire has burned for over 50 years and has created numerous dangers for those nearby. While efforts have been made to contain the fire, there is no definitive way to extinguish the flames. The town of Centralia serves as a powerful reminder of the dangers of unchecked environmental impacts and the importance of considering the long-term effects of human actions.

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Abandoned houses and buildings

Source: www.centraliapa.org

Centralia, PA is a small town that was once a bustling community with over 2,000 residents. However, it is now known for its eerie abandoned houses and buildings that dot the town. The town became a ghost town due to an underground fire that has been burning since 1962. As a result, many of the houses and buildings in Centralia had to be abandoned due to safety concerns.

The abandoned houses and buildings in Centralia tell a story of a once thriving town that has been left to deteriorate. The buildings have fallen into disrepair and have become overgrown by vegetation, which adds to the eerie atmosphere of the town.

One of the most famous abandoned buildings in Centralia is the St. Ignatius Church. The church was built in 1912 and was once the heart of the town's community. However, the church had to be abandoned in 1993 due to safety concerns related to the underground fire. The church now stands as a haunting reminder of what the town used to be.

Another famous abandoned building in Centralia is the borough building. The building was once used by the town's government, but it too had to be abandoned due to the fire. The building now sits empty, with paint peeling from the walls and broken windows.

The abandoned houses in Centralia are just as eerie as the abandoned buildings. Many of the houses have been left untouched since the 1960s and 70s, with personal belongings still left inside. Some of the houses have been overgrown by vegetation, which makes them difficult to see from the road.

Overall, the abandoned houses and buildings in Centralia tell a story of a once thriving town that has been left to deteriorate due to the underground fire. While the town is now a ghost town, it remains an intriguing place to visit for those interested in abandoned buildings and history.


Centralia Cemetery

Source: gravereviews.com

Located in the borough of Centralia in Pennsylvania, the Centralia Cemetery has become a popular destination for tourists and paranormal enthusiasts. This small cemetery is located on the outskirts of the town and is known for its eerie atmosphere and haunted tales.

The cemetery, like the town of Centralia, has been abandoned for several decades. It is believed that the last person buried here was in the 1960s. After the tragic mine fire that broke out in 1962 in Centralia, the town's population dwindled, and eventually, the cemetery also became abandoned.

Despite its abandoned state, the Centralia Cemetery has garnered attention and has been featured in several paranormal-themed TV shows. The cemetery's strange atmosphere has led people to believe that it is home to several ghosts and supernatural occurrences.

One of the most popular stories surrounding the cemetery is the legend of the seven gates of hell. According to this legend, there are seven gates in the cemetery that lead to the underworld. It is believed that those who pass through all seven gates will eventually reach hell. While this legend is just a myth, it has added to the eerie reputation of the Centralia Cemetery.

Visitors to the cemetery have reported strange sightings such as orbs, eerie whispers, and ghostly apparitions. Some have even claimed that they have seen the ghost of a woman in a white dress, who roams around the cemetery late at night.

Apart from its supernatural reputation, the Centralia Cemetery is also a historical landmark. The graves here are a testament to the town's rich history, and the inscriptions on the headstones offer a glimpse into the lives of those who once lived here.

Despite its abandoned state and eerie reputation, the Centralia Cemetery continues to attract visitors from all over the world. It is a must-visit for those who are interested in paranormal activities and are brave enough to experience the supernatural firsthand. However, visitors should keep in mind that the cemetery is located in a remote area and is not properly maintained, so they should take all necessary precautions.


St. Ignatius Cemetery

Source: www.findagrave.com
Characteristic Description
NameSt. Ignatius Cemetery
TypeCemetery in Columbia County, Pennsylvania

Centralia, Pennsylvania is a small town that has become known for its abandoned streets and cityscape due to a coal mine fire burning below the ground since 1962. One of the remaining structures in Centralia is St. Ignatius Cemetery, which is located off of Locust Avenue.

Despite the lack of maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery, many of the headstones and grave markers are still intact. Visitors to the cemetery will notice the unique history of the area, with many of the grave markers dating back to the early 1900s.

One of the interesting features of St. Ignatius Cemetery is the Marian grotto, which was constructed in the 1940s by the church parishioners. The grotto is an outdoor shrine dedicated to the Blessed Mother Mary and is a small, quiet place to sit and reflect.

While the cemetery is located in Centralia, it remains a separate entity from the town and continues to be cared for by the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg. Despite the tragic history of Centralia and the abandoned town surrounding St. Ignatius Cemetery, the cemetery serves as a reminder of the life that once existed in the area.

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Buck Mountain Slope

Source: www.interestingpennsylvania.com

Centralia, Pennsylvania is a small borough in Columbia County that was once home to nearly 1,500 people. Today, however, the population of Centralia nears zero due to a decades-long underground coal fire that has been raging beneath the town since 1962. One of the areas that has been deeply affected by the underground fire is the Buck Mountain Slope, which has become a focal point of the Centralia story.

The Buck Mountain Slope was a former mining site where miners extracted coal deep beneath the earth's surface. The mine operated for many years until it was abandoned in the late 1950s. However, this is where the Centralia story takes a turn for the worse. The mine was left with many voids and cavities, which later became a breeding ground for the fire that still burns beneath the surface of the town.

The fire smoldered for years until it finally burst into an inferno in 1962, causing evacuation orders to be issued for the safety of residents. Despite efforts to put out the fire, it continued to spread beneath the surface of the town, causing homes and buildings to collapse and releasing deadly gases into the air. The Buck Mountain Slope area was one of the most heavily affected areas, as large clouds of smoke and toxic fumes often rose from the slope.

The effects of the Buck Mountain Slope fire were devastating, and today, it is one of the most noticeable reminders of the Centralia disaster. The terrain is an ashy gray color, and the slope is covered in large cracks and crevices caused by the ground sinking into the fire's voids beneath. The smell of sulfur and burning coal can still be detected in the air, making it difficult to imagine what life must have been like in this once-thriving town.

Despite the danger and widespread destruction, some residents of Centralia refused to leave their homes and businesses. The Buck Mountain Slope area is now one of the only reminders of a time when people could still call Centralia home. In 1992, the governor of Pennsylvania declared Centralia a federal disaster area, and the remaining residents were forced to leave the town.

Today, the Buck Mountain Slope remains an eerie reminder of the Centralia disaster. Although efforts have been made to contain the fire, it still burns beneath the surface and is expected to continue for hundreds of years. The slope serves as a cautionary tale of how the consequences of industrialization and neglect can have catastrophic and long-lasting effects on our environment and communities.

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Centralia Borough Park

Source: en.wikipedia.org
Characteristic Description
WebsiteGo to website

The park was formally established in 1978, with the purpose of providing residents and visitors with a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. The park spans over 10 acres and features a variety of amenities that cater to a range of interests. The park has a playground for children, picnic tables and grills for family gatherings, and sports fields that are used for baseball and softball games.

One of the unique features of the park is a memorial garden that was established to honor the victims of the mine fire. The garden features a plaque that lists the names of the 11 residents who remained in Centralia until their death. The garden serves as a reminder of the tragic events that occurred in the area and the resilience of the community.

Despite its dark history, Centralia Borough Park is a place of beauty and tranquility. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful afternoon surrounded by nature, with the subtle reminder of the tragedy that occurred beneath the ground. The park is a testament to the importance of preserving open spaces for future generations, and the resilience of those who call Centralia home.


Dogtown Road Cemetery

Source: michaelkleen.com

Centralia, Pennsylvania, is a town that has been abandoned due to a mine fire burning beneath its surface since the early 1960s. However, one place that still remains in Centralia is the Dogtown Road Cemetery. This cemetery is located near the edge of the abandoned town and is the final resting place for many of the residents who once lived in Centralia.

The Dogtown Road Cemetery is a peaceful and serene place, despite its unique location. The cemetery is surrounded by trees, and the grass is always neatly trimmed. The graves are marked with simple stone markers, some of which are over a century old. The cemetery's atmosphere is haunting, with many of the graves dating back to the late 1800s, giving visitors a glimpse into the past of the once-thriving coal mining town.

While the cemetery is now a popular tourist destination, it has been a place of controversy. When the mine fire started, the government attempted to relocate the residents of Centralia, but several people refused to leave. The ones who stayed behind were forced to live in the middle of an environmentally hazardous area, and soon, it became apparent that they too would have to leave.

However, some of the families refused to let the remains of their loved ones be disturbed. They fought to keep the cemetery intact, even as the mine fire spread and the trees around it began to die. The cemetery's gate was replaced in 2011, and since then, it has become a popular spot for tourists who want to visit the abandoned town.

The Dogtown Road Cemetery has an eerie history, and it is a testament to the tenacity of the families who refused to leave Centralia. It is a place of both somber reflection and respect for the people who once called this town their home. Visitors often leave flowers and other memorials on the graves, a show of reverence for those who remain buried in this historic cemetery.

In conclusion, the Dogtown Road Cemetery in Centralia, Pennsylvania, is a unique and haunting place that serves as a reminder of the town's past. It's a place where visitors can pay their respects to the people who once lived in Centralia and explore the eerie history surrounding the abandoned town.


Columbia County Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Memorial

Source: www.mygenealogyaddiction.com
Characteristic Description
NameCentralia Battlefield Historical Site
TypeMilitary cemetery in Boone County, Missouri
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.7 / 27
Address19101 N Rangeline Rd, Centralia, MO 65240

The Columbia County Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Memorial stands tall in the small, abandoned town of Centralia, Pennsylvania. This monument pays tribute to the Union soldiers who fought and died during the Civil War.

Centralia, once a bustling coal mining town, became infamous for a coal fire that ignited in 1962 and has burned underground ever since. The town has been virtually abandoned, with most of the residents relocating due to the health risks associated with the constant smoke and poisonous gases.

Despite the eerie atmosphere that surrounds Centralia, the Columbia County Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Memorial stands as a solemn reminder of the courage and sacrifice displayed by Union soldiers during the Civil War.

The monument comprises a simple, yet elegant, white marble column that stands approximately 25 feet tall. On top of the column rests a bronze statue of a Union soldier, holding a rifle and standing in vigilance.

The statue was created by artist Casper Buberl and depicts a Union soldier at the ready, surveying the surrounding landscape as if on guard duty. The inscription on the column reads, “Erected by the Columbia County Posts, No. 110 and No. 128, Grand Army of the Republic, in honor of their deceased comrades.”

The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization composed of Union veterans who had served in the Civil War. The Columbia County Posts of this fraternal organization were responsible for erecting the Civil War Memorial in Centralia.

While the town of Centralia may be abandoned, its Civil War Memorial stands as a testament to the bravery and sacrifice displayed by Union soldiers during one of the darkest periods in American history. Anyone who visits Centralia should take the time to visit this striking monument and pay homage to the memory of those who gave their lives in defense of the Union.

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Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine

Source: nationalparkswitht.com
Characteristic Description
NamePioneer Tunnel Coal Mine & Steam Train
TypeTourist attraction in Ashland, Pennsylvania
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.7 / 532
Address20th &, Oak St, Ashland, PA 17921
Phone(570) 875-3850
HoursThursday - Closed
Friday - Closed
Saturday - 10 AM–4:30 PM
Sunday - 10 AM–4:30 PM
Monday(Memorial Day) - Closed
Tuesday - Closed
Wednesday - Closed

Centralia, a small borough located in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, is primarily known for its abandoned coal mine fire that has been burning underground since 1962. Despite this environmental disaster, the town is renowned for its prominent tourist attraction, Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine.

The tour takes visitors through the Anthracite coal fields, allowing them to observe the hard work and history of miners who used to work in the mines. The 35-minute mine ride, which is led by an experienced guide, showcases original equipment and environments, including an original air-powered drilling rig and a steam-powered locomotive from the early 1900s.

Further, interested guests may also partake in the Anthracite Nature Trail, which offers a leisurely 1.3-mile hike through the mountainside and offers memorable views of the valley below and Centralia Borough. Also, visitors can explore the original narrow-gauge track equipment, including locomotives, coal cars, and a real mine rescue wagon.

In addition to its historical significance, Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine is also well-known for its ghost story. Many tourists and workers at the tunnel claim to have seen the ghost of a miner who died in the 1920s, along with strange happenings such as lights flickering and doors opening and closing. This spooky tale has contributed to the excitement and curiosity of visitors to the site.

Overall, Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine stands as a testament to the town's coal mining heritage. It presents an opportunity for tourists to learn and understand the mining process, explore the environment, and even uncover a bit of the town's mysterious past. So if you're ever in Centralia, irrespective of your age, don't miss the chance to take a train tour and explore the coal mine.


Knoebels Amusement Park

Source: www.interestingpennsylvania.com
Characteristic Description
NameKnoebels Amusement Resort
TypeAmusement park in Columbia County, Pennsylvania
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.8 / 25,148
Address391 Knoebels Blvd, Elysburg, PA 17824
Phone(800) 487-4386
HoursThursday - 10 AM–6 PM
Friday - 12–8 PM
Saturday - 12–8 PM
Sunday - 12–8 PM
Monday(Memorial Day) - 12–7 PM
Tuesday - 10 AM–6 PM
Wednesday - 10 AM–6 PM

Centralia, Pennsylvania may be a town that is now abandoned, but it is home to a family-friendly attraction that will bring fun and excitement for visitors. Knoebels Amusement Park is a renowned amusement park located in Elysburg, Pennsylvania that is about a 30-minute drive from the Centralia area.

The park's highlights include the Phoenix, a classic wooden coaster that has been in operation since 1985, and the Twister, a wooden coaster that is known for its sharp turns and drops. Meanwhile, thrill-seekers should try the StratosFear, a drop tower that is 148 feet tall. Aside from these rides, children will enjoy the park's kiddie rides such as the Kozmo's Kurves, a mini coaster that is perfect for kids under five, and the The Striking Lighthouse, a rotating ride that will take them soaring up and down.

For those visitors who are looking to cool down, the park's Crystal Pool is a perfect spot for them. Visitors can dip into the pool and slide down the water slides. The park also features a campground where visitors can set up their tents or RVs and enjoy the fun atmosphere that Knoebels offers.

Knoebels is also known for its dining options. Visitors can find traditional carnival food like funnel cakes and hot dogs, as well as sit-down restaurants that offer burgers, pizza, and more. Besides, guests can enjoy the park's famous hand-dipped ice cream that comes in a wide array of flavors.

Overall, Knoebels Amusement Park is a must-visit attraction if you are in the Centralia area. With its unique free admission and parking policy and a variety of rides and games for all ages, Knoebels is a perfect family destination that offers great value for your money. With its nostalgic atmosphere, Knoebels Amusement Park will undoubtedly bring back your fondest childhood memories and create new ones for you and your family.


Ricketts Glen State Park

Source: cameraandacanvas.com
Characteristic Description
NameRicketts Glen State Park
TypeState park in Pennsylvania
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.8 / 4,333
Address695 PA-487, Benton, PA 17814
Phone(570) 477-5675

Centralia, PA is a nearby town that has gained notoriety for a fire that has been burning underground since 1962. The fire was started by burning trash in an old mine, and it eventually spread to underground coal seams. As a result, the land above the fire has been unstable and unsafe for habitation, leading to the abandonment of the town.

While Ricketts Glen State Park is not directly affected by the fire in Centralia, the two areas are often mentioned in the same breath due to their proximity. Visitors to Ricketts Glen should be aware of the history of Centralia and the ongoing fire, but should not be deterred from enjoying the natural beauty of the park.

At Ricketts Glen, visitors can hike along miles of trails that wind through forests, past streams, and along the stunning waterfalls of Kitchen Creek. The Falls Trail, which is the most popular trail in the park, is a 7.2-mile loop that takes hikers past 21 waterfalls. The trail is challenging in places, with steep steps and rocky terrain, but the views are worth the effort.

In addition to hiking, Ricketts Glen State Park offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and picnicking. The park has two lakes with boat launches and fishing piers, and there are plenty of picnic tables and grills scattered throughout the park.

Overall, Ricketts Glen State Park is a beautiful and peaceful natural area that is well worth a visit. While the nearby town of Centralia is a cautionary tale of the dangers of underground fires, it should not prevent visitors from enjoying the beauty of the park and its stunning waterfalls.

Frequently asked questions

- Centralia is near a number of state parks and hiking trails including Ricketts Glen State Park and the Pine Creek Rail Trail, which offer hiking, biking, and stunning natural scenery. The borough's own graffiti highway, a mile-long abandoned stretch of Route 61, is also a popular spot for urban exploration.

- Yes, Centralia has a rich history that is reflected in several sites in and around the area. These include the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine & Steam Train, which offers tours and rides through a restored coal mine, and the Ashland Coal Mining Company's abandoned coal processing plant which offers another glimpse into the town's mining past.

- Centralia is a small town, but residents and visitors alike look forward to the annual Centralia Christmas Celebration and the Hose Hook & Ladder Co.'s Fireman's Fair, held in early August. The 4th of July parade and community celebration is also a fun event for families.

- Centralia has a few family-owned and operated eateries, offering delicious homestyle cooking and classic diner fare. The Main Street Pub and Grill serves up burgers, sandwiches, and other pub fare, while the Parkview Cafe offers a delicious breakfast and lunch menu.

- Yes, visitors can take a guided tour of Centralia led by locals who will point out the notable landmarks and provide historical context about the once-thriving town. Tours typically include a walk around the abandoned parts of the town, a visit to the old cemetery and other significant places.

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