Odd Fellows Cemetery holds an important place in Centralia PA and its history. It is right near where the mine fire began in 1962.
In that year the town landfill, which had previously been a strip mine, was set on fire in an attempt to clean it up for Memorial Day. The landfill lie to the north and was adjacent to Odd Fellows Cemetery.
Unfortunately, the fire was not properly extinguished, and it slowly made its way into the abandoned coal mines below the town. The fire is still burning today.
Odd Fellows Cemetery is an interesting place to visit. It’s located on Second Street just north of the closed section of Route 61. The cemetery is surrounded by a wrought iron fence and contains numerous graves.
Many people are left wondering, “Who were the Odd Fellows, and why did they have a cemetery in Centralia, Pennsylvania?”
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows actually dates back several hundred years to England. According to one legend, this fraternal order wasn’t exclusive to the nobility. Rather, even working class individuals could join. This was considered “odd” then, and their name was born.
The Odd Fellows were quite progressive for that time. In fact, it was in 1851 that they became the first national fraternal order to accept both men and women.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows had members throughout the coal region of Pennsylvania, including in Centralia. They were known especially for their dedication to community service.
Odd Fellows projects include caring for the elderly and orphans, supporting education, providing relief for those in need, planting trees to help the environment, and establishing community cemeteries.
Today, Odd Fellows Cemetery serves as a reminder of Centralia, Pennsylvania’s once vibrant past, and of the mine fire that was the town’s undoing.
In one paragraph you have it right: The Independent Order of Odd Fellows
In the other you have it wrong: The International Order of Odd Fellows
Good catch, Dave! Just fixed it 🙂
Is there a list of internments?
I looking for a relative who might be buried there? Is there a site to obtain the names of people buried here?
I am a photo volunteer for the odd Fellows Cemetery. If you let me know the name or names and any dates I can get you a photo of it.
It’s not complete, but findagrave.com has a lot of information. It’s not my website, but I have found several relatives on it.
I am interested in preserving the history and memory of each minor. I have been there and worked with akelaitus funeral home. The miners and family need to be remembered. I noticed about 30 years ago three children under age of 3 buried next to each other. Please let there memory not forgotten
I have many great grand relatives buried there. We now live in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. We are Cranes and Kelly’s. We were call miners and industrial barons that relocated. I love to visit Odd Fellows Cemetery. We came from Wales and settled in Centralia. Moved to Philadelphia and married into the Kelly family. I am amazed.
Do you know why the graves have not been relocated somewhere else? It would be very disturbing for me if I had a loved one buried there.
I have relatives buried there in St. Dominic. Sweeney’s
My Father is buried in odd fellows cemetery Danville Pennsylvania USA
Lt Colonel William J Fausnaught Jr b.1898, d.1978,
I live in Bedford Bedfordshire England 🇬🇧 UK. God bless all,
Is it true what reports said that many of those buried in these cemeteries might have collapsed into the mines? I read an article that said when the fire was directly under the cemetery it was very likely some of the caskets fell into the “voids”.
Was there a funeral home in Centralia? If so, what was the name?
My great-grandpa was an Odd Fellow, my great-grandma was a Rebekah. My grandma, mom and I were Rebekah’s, also. Our home lodges have since closed mainly due to our members passing on from old age, I was the youngest member in my then mid 30’s. I’m in my mid 50’s now. Joined when I was 18.
One thing as to why the Odd Fellows got their name from was not only from the differences in members status, but that the group of men took it upon themselves to care for the widowed, orphaned, those sick and in distress.
Odd Fellows were allowed to join the Rebekah Lodge, but only fairly recently were Rebekahs allowed to join Odd Fellows Lodges.
I have my Great-grandmas Past Noble Grand pin that I wear proudly as well as my own P.N.G. pin
Hemingford Lodge #293
Princess Lodge #65
Hello, I have just learned about the odd fellow and Rebekah. What a blessing to have those as you here to help those in need. I plan to study a bit and then possible see about becoming a Rebekah if I can. My home is in Florida a small town called Lorida. My husband and I are here in Gettysburg because he has a work assignment here for a couple of months. We visited centrailia while out exploring and the Odd Fellows Cemetery stood out to me. So I looked it up and found how caring and giving that they are. How much of a blessing they are and have been.
I am fascinated.
It is very special to read about this here.
Thank you so much for sharing your memories.
God Bless you and your family.