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The Abandoned Coal Mining Towns of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, known for its rich coal mining history, is home to several abandoned coal mining towns.​ One of the most famous of these is Centralia, a ghost town located in Columbia County.​ Centralia’s story is a cautionary tale of the devastating consequences of a coal mine fire that has been burning underground since 1962.​

The town of Centralia traces its origin back to 1842 when the Locust Mountain Coal and Iron Company bought the land for mining purposes.​ The town quickly grew with 14 active coal mines and a population of around 2٫500 residents by the early 20th century.​ However٫ as the coal mining industry started to decline٫ so did the town.​

In 1962٫ a landfill fire spread to an abandoned coal mine and ignited a seam of coal.​ This fire underground spread rapidly٫ causing the ground to crack and releasing hazardous gases into the air. It soon became clear that Centralia was no longer safe for its residents٫ and a gradual evacuation took place over the following decades.

Today, Centralia is a near-ghost town with only a handful of residents remaining.​ The abandoned buildings and crumbling streets serve as a reminder of a once-thriving community.​ The underground coal fire continues to burn and has made the land uninhabitable.

Visiting Centralia, Pennsylvania is a unique experience, offering a glimpse into a town frozen in time.​ Visitors can drive through the town and witness the remaining structures that have been engulfed by nature.​ However, it is essential to exercise caution when exploring the area due to the potential hazards associated with the underground fire.​

In addition to Centralia, there are other abandoned coal mining towns worth mentioning in Pennsylvania. For example, Eckley Miners Village near Weatherly was a municipally for coal miners in the 1860s. The village now operates as a museum and allows visitors to learn about the region’s coal mining history through walking tours.

Overall, abandoned coal mining towns in Pennsylvania stand as a testament to the rise and fall of the coal industry in the region.​ These towns serve as reminders of the challenges faced by communities dependent on the coal mining industry and the long-lasting consequences that can result from the decline of this industry.​