My oldest, Marine Girl, was getting ready for boot camp and she had one road trip request for her mum, she wanted to visit Centralia. I was up for it since I’m into all kinds of creepy, weird places so we gassed up the Honda and headed out. (This was in 2012.)
Marine Girl, Art Girl and I tried in vain for a long time to find anything worth looking at. Cell service at that time was spotty and it isn’t like there is anyone to ask directions of. So we trespassed, we turned around many, many times and finally we found the abandoned highway most folks consider the highlight of a trip to Centralia.
From the town you can see a wind farm in the distance, the giant turbines silently spinning. (Even more creepy…)
Centralia is a town that was in Columbia County. A mine fire has been burning in, around and under the town since 1962. The town was condemned by the state in 1992. The zip code for the town was closed in 2002 and currently less than ten residents remain. Originally it was they demanded they leave but a 2013 accord has allowed them to stay until death. (More creepy…) You can read all you want to know on Wikipedia here.
It was a fascinating place to visit, but, it is still burning. There is some smoke, but not much. The ground is hot in many places.
If you visit the closed portion of Route 61 be warned it is full of graffiti of an adult nature – both verbal and pictorial. I had a hard time taking an unoffensive photo four years ago, I can only imagine what it is like now. This is not a place for young children. Take them to one of the cemeteries if you must take them. I can only imagine what being buried underground near a mine fire must do to a body buried there. (Creepy and gross.)
So, Centralia isn’t a safe place, you will be trespassing nearly everywhere you go and yet I bet you’ll want to visit if you are close by. So here is a map: