There are a number of interesting small and medium-sized towns near Centralia, Pennsylvania. If you are heading to check out the mine fire, consider driving through a few of the following:
Located directly south of Centralia on Route 61, Ashland was incorporated in 1857 and is named for the estate of Henry Clay in Kentucky. Ashland has a number of unique sites including the Pioneer Tunnel, which takes visitors deep inside a former coal mine. It also has the area’s famous mine geyser.
Aristes is found just to the north of Centralia PA along Route 41. The town was named after the Greek statesman Aristides. When families from Centralia were relocated in the 1980s, some of them moved here.
Named for Stephen Girard, Girardville was founded in 1832 and was incorporated in 1872. For unknown reasons, many residents of Schuylkill County refer to the borough as “Gun-Town.” Girardville is located just to the east of Centralia.
Mount Carmel is west of Centralia, Pennsylvania along Route 61 and originally started as a logging town. It was only later that coal was discovered and mined there. The town was incorporated in 1862. Today it is known for its historic buildings and churches.
Located to the northwest of Centralia, Wilburton is an unincorporated area which is home to around 100 people. The town’s American Legion building is now home to two Centralia artifacts: a green Centralia bench and the Centralia Veteran’s Memorial bell.
The borough of Kulpmont was incorporated in 1915 as a coal mining town. It lies to the west of Centralia PA, just past Mount Carmel. The town is home to around 3000 residents.
Frackville is found west of Centralia, just beyond Girardville. The borough was settled in 1861 and incorporated in 1872. It is commonly called “Mountain City” by local residents. Today the town is a popular stopping off point for travelers on Interstate 81. When visiting, the Frackville Museum is a great place to stop and learn about the town’s history.
After driving west from Centralia, Pennsylvania on Route 61 and through Kulpmont, visitors find themselves in Shamokin. Named for the Algonquian word “Schahamokink” meaning “place of the eels,” the town was founded in 1864. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was a thriving coal mining community. The town’s population is around 7000 residents.
I grew up in Mount Carmel and remember when the fire started in 1962. Who knew the devastating affect it would have on the town of Centralia.
I accidentally ended up in Centralia one day when I was out running around on my motorcycle with no particular destination… I never heard about the story of Centralia, so it was very strange and I just remember wanting to get away from there….
Fascinating, when was this? Take any photos?