Centralia, Pennsylvania; A Time Capsule Left Behind

Centralia, Pennsylvania is readying for its swan song. The cursed borough’s dramatic saga is coming to a close and media giants no longer come calling as they once did. But time’s approaching for an event that’ll be a measure of how deep a meaning the lost town has in the hearts of the people forced to leave it behind.

The story is well known. A fire in a makeshift landfill just outside Centralia’s limits ignited a seam of anthracite coal in 1962. There were repeated attempts to quash the slow burn by drowning it and by digging containment trenches, but nothing worked. Now, more than fifty years later, the ground underneath Centralia is still aflame.

A wasted hillside abutting a couple of the town’s well-kept cemeteries vents steam and gases from the subterranean blaze. Dead trees lie toppled, killed from beneath. Only the hardiest plants scratch out a living anywhere close to the fire. Nobody can say for sure how long the seam will burn, but 250 years is not inconceivable. Abandoned mine workings supply ample oxygen. There are vast reserves of unmined coal down there.

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Top: The landscape near the active fire

Bottom: Holes bored to monitor the fire

Almost all of Centralia’s residents have moved away. The federal government bought and razed their homes and provided them with resettlement money because of the danger the fire posed to health and property. There are still a few holdouts, though, folks who insist they’re in no danger, who want nothing more than to be left alone.

For decades the town was deeply divided between those who lobbied for intensive government intervention and others who wanted to go about life out of the watchful eyes of bureaucrats and reporters.

Centralia PA

One of Centralia’s few remaining holdouts

The question of what to do with Centralia made it to the highest levels of the federal government. The story was featured on Nightline, in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times Magazine. Three books, Unseen Danger: A Tragedy of People, Government and the Centralia Mine Fire and Fire Underground: The Ongoing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire, both by David DeKok, and The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy by Joan Quigley all trace the sad chronicle.

But for the fire, Centralia would have never garnered much attention. That’s the way many Centralians preferred things. Fires are a part of coal country, they said. Almost half of Pennsylvania’s inactive mines were burning at mid-century. Some chalked it up to a conspiracy by government officials and coal barons to get at the unburned anthracite beneath the town, a theory that has not yet been fully extinguished.

Today Centralia is a ghost town, a grid of abandoned residential streets flecked with the few tidy homes of the diehards who stood firm against government efforts to remove them. Wildflowers bloom in meadows that were once residents’ yards. Weeds have reclaimed buckled sidewalks. There are whispers of human design, a tree-lined driveway, a line of shrubbery–landscaping once planned and tended, now returned to feral overgrowth, competing with other life for mere existence.

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Scenes from abandoned Centralia

Before Centralia entered its long decline, however, residents proudly honored their hardscrabble heritage. Descendants of Irish Catholics and Eastern Europeans hosted a spectacular three-day celebration at Centralia’s centennial in 1966. In her book, Quigley describes that Fourth of July weekend: ten thousand people showed up for the fireworks, concerts and parades. Congressman “Dapper Dan” Flood waved to constituents from the back of a pickup truck during one of them.

One of the signature events was the laying of a time capsule, to be opened at Centralia’s sesquicentennial in 2016. Planners wanted to acknowledge the town’s working-class, pious background, so they included a miner’s lamp, coal and a Bible along with other local souvenirs and literature. They sealed the relics in a child’s burial vault and excavated its temporary resting place under the lawn of American Legion Post 608, no doubt wondering what Centralia would be like when these items next saw the light of day five decades on.

Update, October 2014: As if Centralia hadn’t already encountered its share of heartache, the time capsule offered another sad chapter to the town’s unending saga. The vault containing the time capsule Centralians stowed away in 1966 became the victim of looting in late spring 2014, when an unknown vandal tried unsuccessfully to dig it up. Officials decided to remove the vault for safekeeping and discovered to their dismay that groundwater had seeped inside, ruining most of the time capsule’s contents.

A crowd of about 75 Centralians and their families gathered in October 2014 at an unveiling of the salvageable contents: the miner’s helmet carbide lamp, a pair of ladies’ bloomers signed by townsfolk, coins and a bonnet. After a brief period of public reflection, the items were returned to the original donors and their descendants.

Though the waterlogged time capsule drowned the prospect of a joyous reunion with Centralians from a half-century ago, there remains the sense that continuing story of this dauntless town is far from over.

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Top: The time capsule in the foreground, what’s left of the war memorial at left

Bottom: The stone wall that once guarded the American Legion Hall

Back in 1966, they couldn’t have foreseen that the fire that had been burning on the outskirts of town for four years would still be ablaze fifty years later, or that the smoldering flames, then just a nuisance, would prove the end of the town they were glorifying.

The Centralians of 1966 couldn’t have imagined that this sacred site, in the shadow of the pink cinder block American Legion hall, would one day surrender as a forsaken shrine, that the war memorial within arm’s reach of the time capsule would be moved, like so many residents, a couple towns over.

And now that Centralia’s 150-year anniversary is upon us, the question is, will people return? Will residents who parted ways with their burning town, willingly and otherwise, come back to commemorate Centralia’s life and death? Probably so.

It wasn’t easy for people to leave Centralia. Those who bade farewell did so painfully. Third-generation Centralians clung to their property because they had known no sense of pride and place anywhere else. The few families still there today demonstrate how hard it is to break the tie that binds folks to their hometown, despite the mystifying convergence of time, place and circumstance conspired to erase Centralia from the map.

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Scenes from abandoned Centralia

 

About Ben Swenson

Ben lives in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is writing a book on places of historic value that have been forgotten and are being reclaimed by nature. Abandoned Country is a companion blog to that project. You can contact him at benswenson@cox.net
This entry was posted in Cemeteries, Ghost towns, Industry, Mines. Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Centralia, Pennsylvania; A Time Capsule Left Behind

  1. monte jones says:

    what date is the capsule scheduled to be opened. What property is it on now…we have visited Centralia and have tried to figure out what was where…we don’t really know what we are looking at….

    • Ben Swenson says:

      Monte-I made a few attempts to contact folks in Centralia, but (not surprisingly) no one has called back, and the one gentleman I did get on the phone hung up on me–they’re understandably tired of outside inquiries.

      My best bet is that the capsule will be opened Memorial Day weekend or July 4, the latter being when the town laid the capsule in 1966. These are just guesses, though. If I learn anything more I will repost.

      As to the location, the former American Legion Hall is at the intersection of Peach St. and Centre St.

      Thanks for reading.

      -Ben

      • Jesse says:

        Ben, just wanted to point out;

        The old Legion, and site of the memorial, is at the intersection of Locust and Park; not Peach and Centre.

      • Dean Hooper says:

        Do keep in mind the time capsule has already been removed from it’s vault in the ground because of someone tampering with it. It is safe and stored by the local officials. (I reported this below on July 4, 2014 from the State Police report.)
        That suggests the capsule could be opened anywhere. A better location might be the cemetery where people (former residents, family and friends) seem to gather on special holiday occasions. The land is so wide open now one only will need to look around to see where the crowd is gathered, assuming one selects the right day – July 4th?

    • Michelle Thomas Waite says:

      It was opened in oct of 2014

  2. Sam says:

    Hi Ben,
    My grandparents both met and grew up in Centralia. They grew up there. We went to Centralia back in 2008 for my grandparents to explain their story. I got to see where their homes once stood, where the railroad once lied and we paid respect to those family members who have gone on long before we have. Many of my grandfather’s family is buried in the Russian Orthodox cemetery. My grandmother’s side of her family is buried near the bathtub that sits near St. Ignatius Catholic Church. When visiting, my grandfather was able to make contact with, I believe the mayor of the town. They haven’t seen each other for forty years or so. It was rather sentimental. Now that my grandfather has passed on, my grandmother is looking for anything to help her remember the past. There is only one remaining sibling from my grandfather’s side of the family; the family of 18. I believe Centralia is what she is looking for. My only hope is that she can make it long enough for the time capsule to be opened.
    In good spirits,
    Sam

    • Ben Swenson says:

      Thanks for reading and for the comment, Sam. Your thoughts illustrate how deep a connection people have with Centralia, and that even though this town has in many respects been wiped from the map, it is still very much alive in peoples’ heads and hearts.

  3. D. McKain says:

    Would like to know when the time capsule will be opened. So sad to loose a whole town like that. I think Stephen King wrote a short story about the town.

    • Ben Swenson says:

      Thanks for reading and for the comment. I tried to contact officials in town to see what weekend in 2016 it will be opened, but I got no responses. My best guess is either Memorial Day weekend or July 4.

      Ben

  4. Michelle Hughes says:

    Hello. I am from Centralia. Myself, both sets of grandparents and both sets of great grandparents all lived in Centralia. It was a small town full of wonderfully spirited and warm hearted people. As kids, we didn’t need video games or computers, we made our own fun. We would ride bikes, go to the basketball courts, the playground, etc. It could snow as much as it wanted and we’d just play in the snow banks all day long. In the summer the entire town of kids would sleep out and just walk and have fun. Parents didn’t need to be afraid for us or worry we’d do anything wrong. It is so sad that people make up stories about ghosts and nonsense. We Centralians were and still are a close group of people. I am sure that when the time capsule is open, there will be many of us there to cherish the memories we have of that wonderful little town.

    • Dean Hooper says:

      Michelle,
      Thank you so much for sharing the closeness among people who lived in Centralia – those relationships came through so well in the two books we have read. And thank you for providing a first person commentary about your own experiences there.

  5. My paternal family live in the ‘patch.’ For those of you who don’t know it was a row of houses between Centralia and Ashland but much closer to Centralia. Had many cousins and uncles there some using the name or Reilley who lived in Centralia proper. My grandfather, step-grandfather and father worked the mines. Never knew my real grandfather who passed before I was born. My step-grandfather – Gerrity, was killed in a mining accident. Ma died when I was in Okinawa in 1969. I took my three grandboys to see the monument to the Blessed Virgin still maintained near the town. It was so depressing thinking of all the fun I had there as a child to see it as it is today. jpmreilly@yahoo.com

    • Ben Swenson says:

      Dear James,

      Thanks very much for sharing your recollections. I think a lot of people share the same sentiment; it is a shame to see all those fond memories in and around Centralia go up in smoke.

      Thanks again.

      Ben

  6. Dean Hooper says:

    Centralia is such an intriguing story. My wife and I have read “Fire Underground: The Ongoing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire” by David DeKok, and “The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy” by Joan Quigley. I recommend both books as they are quite different reads. DeKok’s book feels more technical and Qugley’s seems more interpersonal much like a fiction book, but about real people and events.

    Armed with much of the history and street maps, we visited Centralia on several occasions in 2014. There are six structures remaining and a handful of people live there, who have lost an array of court proceedings but may live out their lives there. However once a building is vacated – it will be leveled. Living in the Harrisburg area, for us it is an easy hour drive to Centralia. I also recommend traveling through Frackville, Ashland, Aristes and Mount Carmel as this gives one an impression of how Centralia was arranged as a turn-of-the-century town built around the mining industry.

    Centralia is centered in our nation’s history. The PA State Police, the first state-wide law enforcement agency of its type in our nation, was created May 2, 1905 specifically to deal with law & order, unrest and strikes that occurred in this area of Pennsylvania. The Great Anthracite Coal Strike in1903 had shut down the nation and required President Roosevelt’s intervention and the National Guard to restore coal production in Pennsylvania.

    This month Centralia lost another resident – Carl Womer of 102 E. Wood street died at age 90 on May 24, 2014. His daughter Kathi still lives in the house which is situated close to the fire’s origin, and the underground fire is said to have passed directly beneath the home. His wife, Helen Womer who is a main player in both books passed in 2001. Another milestone occurred this month – the 52nd anniversary of when the fire started in May 1962.

    So far I too have found the remaining residents reluctant to engage in conversation with outsiders. I suspect they have had an unbelievable amount of contact from strangers in the media. I am hopeful a town reunion will occur on July 4, 2016, the 150th, and then the time capsule is opened. It will likely be the last opportunity for many of us, who are fascinated with Centralia, to show our respects to those people who made history.

    • Ben Swenson says:

      Dean,

      Thanks very much for sharing your insights. These help to put a human face on a story that seems abstract to many people. Sound like I’ll see you when the vault is open!

      Ben

  7. Dean Hooper says:

    CENTRALIA TIME CAPSULE SAFE AND SOUND
    Staff Report – Citizens Voice
    Published: June 8, 2014

    A time capsule thought to have been tampered with in Centralia has been found safe and sound, according to state police at Bloomsburg.
    Last weekend, police reported that someone used heavy equipment to tamper with the time capsule buried at the Centralia American Legion.
    Police said an investigation revealed that borough officials removed the time capsule after noticing tampering at the site.
    “The time capsule is complete and secure,” police wrote in their updated release.
    The time capsule was placed in 1966 and is scheduled to be opened in 2016.

    http://citizensvoice.com/news/centralia-time-capsule-safe-and-sound-1.1699738

  8. Jon D. says:

    I thought I read that the time capsule will be opened on Memorial Day 2016. Show up on July 4th you may be in for a disappointment.

    My understanding is that there is a Memorial Day service there every year still. It will be at this event they open the time capsule.

    I would guess this time capsule event will be bigger than Groundhog’s Day in Punxsutawney! Lots of people interested in that relic! One of the books I read tells you what’s in it but I forgot.

    I plan on going. I’ve been there 3 times, 2004, 2008, and 2012. Each time there is less and less to see. Of course the cemeteries are still intact.

    • Dean Hooper says:

      Jon,
      I think you may be spot on – the best insurance is be there for Memorial Day – but which one – the traditional May 30 date or the government’s sliding holiday to create a long weekend?

  9. Roger says:

    I plan to go up sometime in fall. From reading this website and others it mentions that there aren’t a lot of home or other buildings left. This may be stupid , but why? The firs are underground, were most torn down due to safety concerns or what? Also what is a good way of knowing exactly where you are there. I’ve heard there are no street signs.

  10. Dean Hooper says:

    Roger,
    The story of Centralia is is intriguing. Do yourself a favor before you visit and read a book or two on the subject. Also find a Centralia, PA map (There is also a Centralia, Washington) on line – the best maps show “before” and “after” the demolition of more than 1,000 properties. The streets are not marked, but the cemeteries and Municipal Building on Locust are still there and using them to orient yourself, you can easily count off the asphalt streets and identify where certain key properties existed and the few structures that remain. You will want a larger map layout than exists in the books.

    This site will give you some good starting info:
    http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/maps.htm
    Here is a pdf map example:
    http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/Centralia.pdf

    Also you can google map the town today, and get a 360 degree view from the municipal building on Locust (PA 42). PA 61 which turns left on Centre Street and Locust continues on PA-42.
    You definitely will want to visit the old highway 61 (near the cemeteries) which became so distorted from the ground fire, that PennDOT closed that section.
    Good luck!

  11. dameon says:

    check out the creepypasta on it its awsome.

  12. The time capsule was opened in October 2014 prematurely due to damage by vandals. There are some photos of this on Tumblr – http://centraliapadevilsfire.tumblr.com/ and on the http://www.facebook.com/centraliapadevilsfire. Centralia is not a all like Silent Hill! But it is great fodder for a real story. I wrote a novel, Centralia PA, Devils Fire (Amazon) that depicts with historical accuracy the history of Centralia and combines the fantasy of demons in the mines (metaphorical representations of the mining companies and mine owners.) Much better tale than Silent Hill… There are a couple of new documentaries out and coming out on the town and also a few new historical books written by local authors that are worth looking at.

  13. Belinda Stillwagon says:

    I stumbled across this article and was intriged by it and have been reading and researching it. Wondering if the town had it’s own school, gas station, grocery stores ect. Do they have to travel far for things or do they just stay in there homes and stuff is brought to them.

    • Dean Hooper says:

      Belinda – It was a complete town, had local things to do and there were neighboring towns were within 10 miles. If you would like to read about the events and how the town eventually was lost, here are two suggestions:
      Fire Underground – by David DeKok
      Slow Burn – by Renee Jacobs

    • Dean Hooper says:

      Keri:
      The fire has pretty much moved on and there is very little evidence of any smoke remaining. The vent pipes are gone. It is certainly safe to travel on the roadways. If you venture into the desolate areas there is always a chance a subsidence might still occur. You can download maps that show all the street names since the street markers have all been stolen over time. There are about 7 residents there and they do not want to be disturbed, but driving by is certainly your right. The residents do not own anything – it belongs to the state. The final court decision was they can stay in their homes throughout their lives or until they move out, then the homes are leveled. About 6 structures remain out of the 1,000 in 1960. The borough building remains and is a major history point where meetings, debates and votes occurred on what to do. The Ukrainian Greek Church on the hill is just outside the town limits and is an interesting place to visit. There were 7 churches at one time. You can read about it on-line.
      The no- trespassing signs are new. My guess is there was a major cleanup by volunteers on Saturday 10/25 in preparation for shooting a 1.5 hour documentary film, and signs may have been put up just to discourage further dumping. The state owns the ground by eminent domain, so unless they are state signs, feel free to walk about but without infringing on a resident’s space. Also if you look above you will see two books I suggested for Belinda.

  14. Keri says:

    Today my friend and I visited Centralia, as I am super interested in its history. We saw all the cemeteries, but where unable to see the pipes where the smoke still rises from the area the fire started- all the trees where marked with No Trespassing signs and a local drove by us as we were considering what to do. I’m guessing these signs must be fairly new, because other sites said it was viewable. Any ideas? I’d drive back if I knew it was safe and legal to do so….Thanks!

  15. Cecelia (Shaffchick) Ives says:

    My husband and I were very disappointed in hearing that the time capsule was opened early with little to no notification of the former residents. I grew up in Centralia and my mother and aunt were among the towns residents forced to give up their homes. My father served as the Chief of Police in Centralia and most of my family is buried there. That was one event we both looked forward to attending. Another part of history has faded away.

    • Dean Hooper says:

      Cecelia, I feel for you and all the people who have a deep connection to Centralia. I read about the opening on the two sites, CentraliaPA and Centralia Lives. If I felt cheated as a dedicated outsider, I can only imagine how former residents feel about what happened. It could have been a huge celebration, a reunion and lots of good publicity. I see the location should be a historic site that must be preserved with markers and instruction to visitors.
      Once the capsule was removed for safe keeping during the summer, the temptation was too great. Two factions were attempting to control its safekeeping. Apparently one group won and the opening quickly went forward with little notification.

  16. John Eyre says:

    I have found all of these stories and comments remarkable. I have been researching my family’s history and have fond memories of my many visits as a child to Centralia to visit my relatives Ethel and Ferd Hoffman. Their house is gone. Uncle Ferd used to cut hair in his little barber shop in the back of his house.
    My Grandfather was John L Lavelle, the first commander of the American Legion in Centralia, Post 608. He was a highly decorated US Marine in WWI and was considered by many to be a war hero.
    The Lavelle’s are dear to me as well as the Brennan’s ( my greatgreatgrandfather John Brennan, a Civil War veteran, is buried at St. Ignatius’ cemetery), the Curran’s and the Pollard’s.
    I am seeking family members, history or other contacts from Centralia. I am so sad that the town is gone.
    I am open to hear from anyone who can help in my search.
    John Eyre

    c

    • Dean Hooper says:

      John Eyre – You have the right heritage to Centralia (your grandparents, uncle and greatgrandfather) to be admitted to a private Facebook group called Centralia 17927 – membership is entirely made up of former residents and families of former residents. I’m not sure how to contact you other than this message. But to be able to see the Centralia 17927 on FB, the many pictures and personal stories, you first have to be admitted as a member. I do immediately recognize your grandfather’s name and I think the barbershop may the same one of which a photo was posted.
      Here are a couple ways to do become a member:
      1) I have posted the existence of Centralia 17927 onto two sites – Centralia PA and Centralia Lives, both of which are public. You may find my posting it faster on Centralia PA. If you are on Facebook you can add a comment to my post, mention your relatives and include my name (Dean Hooper) so I get a notification that you have commented. I will send a private message back to you and we’ll get you included.
      2) Or you can PM to me if you contact me directly on my FB page using http://www.facebook.com/dean.hooper.108 My town is Hummelstown.
      That should allow you to find my page – then send a private message to me and we’ll get you into Centralia 17927.
      I hope to hear back from you. Dean Hooper

  17. John Eyre says:

    Yea, I want to become a member and make contact with people who recognize the Lavelle’s, Brennan’s, Pollard’s and Curran’s. I am writing a family history and it centers around my Grandparent’s John L Lavelle and his wife Margaret (Pollard) Lavelle and, of course, Centralia.
    My address:
    John Eyre
    2171 Sallie’s Lane
    Winston Salem, NC 27106
    336-922-7585
    johnfeyre@gmail.com.

    • Matt Hoover says:

      Its actually cool to know that someone else in NC is interested in this place. I’ve wanted to visit so much and I do alot of research on it. So great to know that others in NC are interested.

      • John Eyre says:

        Matt, Just like you said it was good to find someone else from NC who is interested in Centralia, Pa. My family is from there and I have been doing family research. I have already reconnected with 2 long lost cousins, Susie (Hoffman) Fetterman and Howard ( Howie) Pollard through this website. Its been a great experience. We should exchange notes and anecdotes.
        John Eyre

  18. SBOBET says:

    This is a very good article. Thank you for a great information.

  19. Ken Lipkin says:

    As being out-worlders to Centralia (Long Island, NY), we were first introduced to Centralia in 1984 when my son was only 7 months old. Our neighbors wife came from Hershey and told us about the town. We spent much time in Hershey, Bloomsburg Fair area and Knoebels Area and always made it a point to visit the area, not as gawkers, but as concerned citizens of this great country. In the future one of my 3 sons wrote a paper about Centralia only to receive rave reviews from the NY locals who knew nothing this area, pictures and all. They were super astonished by this area.

    If anyone does obtain and further details on the time capsule opening, please let me know.

    Thanks
    Ken Lipkin

    • I was at the opening of the time capsule. I took a bunch of photos and mingled with some of the former residents. There are some photos on my website, centraliapadevilsfire.com.

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  21. Alan rodgers says:

    Doing a family history and just found a draft registration for my paternal grandfather that showed he was born in Centralia.This is a shock as I always believed he lived all his life in Montgomery co. His name was George Garfield Griffiths born Jan 1,1881,with his twin Benjamin Arthur Griffiths.They were definitely of Welsh origin which of course in many ways ties into the mining life.If anyone reads this memo and can put me onto a way that I might glean more info I would be most appreciative
    Regards
    Alan

    • Dean Hooper says:

      Alan,
      I have a couple good Facebook Groups for you – Centralia Lives (open to anyone) or Centralia 17927 (private group of those who lived of had ancestors in Centralia). I can get you into the latter where we have some good historians. I would need to friend you on Facebook and then submit your name for approval to an administrator which happens quickly. To get started you might go to Centralia Lives and the first post is a “sticky” (always on top) by Dean Hooper on Centralia 17927. Dean

  22. Judy Markel says:

    Just visited Centralia, last week of August. The people that have stayed, have done a beautiful job with their homes and yards. I admire them for their courage and determination. I was there years ago, smell of sulfur and the caving of the roads and ground were so evident. I can remember seeing smoke coming out of the cracks and feel the the heat coming up. Hopefully some day they can rebuild the town.

  23. Lenny M says:

    Hello everyone my mother and her 5 brothers were born and raised in Centralia,I happen to have the misfortune of being there the day the fire started.I was 5 years old at time hanging out with my brother Jack and cousin Ricky on Memorial Day morning 1962. Someone poured some gasoline in pit to burn trash lit it and that was the start of it.Very sad.

    • Dean Hooper says:

      Lenny, You might be a candidate for a private Facebook Group called “Centralia 17927” which consists of former Centralians and individuals whose family lived there. Quite a few will know your mother’s name. Centralia Lives (open to anyone) or Centralia 17927 (private group of those who lived of had ancestors in Centralia). I can get you into the latter where we have some good historians. I would need to friend you on Facebook and then submit your name for approval to an administrator which happens quickly. To get started you might go to Centralia Lives and the first post is a “sticky” (always on top) by Dean Hooper on Centralia 17927. Dean

  24. Laura Sprau says:

    I wonder about the people left and those who left. I pray your all’s hearts heal. I weep watching films about your beloved town on U tube. Is that sweet man still decorating with the old town,s Christmas decorations. That was so touching. Will there ever be a Centralia museum in a nearby community? Will there be community reunions near the old town. Don’t let your love for your neighbors die with the town. Much love, Laura Spray Fremont Ohio

    • James P. Reilly says:

      Centralia was a place you could have used as Mayberry. I especially loved the smaller area called the ‘patch.’ All of the people there were considerate, loving, fun people and it was a wonderful quite lovely place to live.

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