America’s Man-made Ghost Town: Centralia, PA

Centralia is a modern-day ghost town created by man.

Centralia, PA was an ordinary town with a steady population of a thousand or so residents. Centrally located within the state, Centralia was a coal mining town. In 1962, local volunteer firefighters sought to clean up the town’s landfill and set it on fire. The fire was never extinguished and went subterranean. In 1972, then-mayor Jim Coddington, owner of the local gas station, recorded elevated temperatures in his gasoline tanks. It wasn’t until 1981, when 12-year-old Todd Domboski fell into a sinkhole, that the government took notice. By then roads were cracking with hot steam floating up.

Congress allocated $42 million to relocate the town. All but a handful of residents left. In 1992, the US government proclaimed eminent domain and reclaimed the land. After demolishing the houses and buildings, the government let nature take over. Today, only 5 residents remain. However, the town is a popular “Dark Travel” destination. Please remain vigilant and respect the land if visiting.