Gnoza Knows It | Is anyone still living in Centralia?


Someone wanted to know if there is anyone still living in Centralia. That's the town in Columbia County that is pretty much deserted because of a mine fire that was set back in the early 1960's.

I visited the borough formerly known as Centralia nearly one year ago.

We literally drove through it three times before we realized we were actually there.

I had seen pictures of the borough from years before and did not expect to see open lots where weeds were growing. But as you looked closer you could see the sidewalks and steps.

What the heck happened?

Long story short, the borough decided to burn the trash in its landfill back in 1962. The fire spread to the underground coal, yada yada yada.

In the next 20 to 30 years, the ground started to cave in at spots, dangerous gas came from the underground fire and residents were either bought out of their homes by the federal government or evicted. The homes were demolished, along with businesses and churches.

Okay, now to answer the question, there apparently are people still living here.

A handful of residents, most of them from the Hynoski family, reached a settlement with the state and county back in 2013 to stay in their homes.

And there is a business there that still operates.

I say apparently because we heard someone in their backyard, knocked on their door, but got no response. Can't blame them really. There have been a ton of tourists coming through over the years.

We were no different.

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