Centralia, Pennsylvania has lost another resident, bringing its total population to under five people.
In the fall of 2016, Kathi Womer moved out of the borough. By doing so, her home became the property of the State of Pennsylvania and, like with so many of the town’s other buildings, will be demolished.
For years, the Womer family, including Kathi and her parents Carl and Helen, lived at the end of Wood Street in Centralia, PA. They were important fixtures within the community.
In 1962, the Centralia mine fire began only a few hundred feet away from Womer’s house in Odd Fellows Cemetery. Helen Womer was an early activist calling for state and federal officials to take action.
Carl Womer would later serve as the town’s last official mayor. When other residents took settlement offers and left, the Womer’s held on to their home, fought, and stayed.
Helen passed away in 2001 and Carl in 2014. Kathi remained in the borough until 2016, when she moved away. Her relocation is a reminder that the impact of Centralia’s mine fire disaster is still being felt today, over 50 years since it began.
Many thanks to Jason Gunoskey and others who have sent pictures of the Womer’s house since it was abandoned. It’s important to remember that even though this house is now owned by the State of Pennsylvania, it was once someone’s home.
If you are visiting Centralia PA, please be respectful of each home, sign, cemetery, and property. Graffiti, trespass, and littering are still illegal within the borough.