Here’s a real treat. It’s a 1957 home movie that features a drive through Centralia, Pennsylvania and a few of the surrounding areas.
The film begins near Frackville and then shows a few scenes of Ashland before featuring Centralia around the 1:14 mark. Most of the movie is captured from vantage point of a passenger in the front seat of a car.
The footage of Centralia, PA is shot from Route 61 heading north. The car crests the hill at the south end of town and begins to enter into Centralia. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church can be seen on the wooded hill in the distance. The car slows down and parks along the right side of Locust Avenue.
In the next scene, several people come out of a house and get into the car. They are identified as Charles and Bessie (Elizabeth Welsh) Tighe, Mae Welsh, and several grandchildren. The Tighe’s ran a candy store in Centralia and were a fixture within the community.
The car starts again and shows a few more scenes of the borough as it heads north on Locust Avenue/Route 61. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church is, once again, clearly visible in the distance. The remaining shots show an old coal breaker, as well as a few scenes of the Bloomsburg Fair. This appears to the final destination of the family.
The film is a real treasure because it actually lets us peer into Centralia, Pennsylvania before the mine fire started burning in 1962. From the footage, one can see the town as it once was. Homes, businesses, trees, and parked cars line Locust Avenue.
It’s a wonderful memory of a place that has since been erased.