So a buddy of mine mentioned not so long ago that a movie favorite, Silent Hill, was inspired by a town that just so happens to be located in the state I live in, Pennsylvania. Apparently Centralia, PA, a town of what used to be over 1,000 before a coal mine fire in 62′ has dropped down to 10 as of 2013 and is pretty much off the maps.
The spontaneous side decided to come out of me this past Saturday, which led to a call to the mentioned friend, and we headed west soon after. From Philadelphia, it’s about a 2 1/2 hour car ride. Thats not so bad, but add in a thunder storm and no clear direction and it gets a little iffy. Setting out with expectations of finding some foggy terrain, burned down buildings, and maybe a few sketchy characters, when we did make it there was no such findings (damn motion pictures). I’m not sure if the weather was the reason for not coming across the smoke that was supposedly seen by others emitting from the ground or the fact that we may not have been in the right section of the town.
Following vague directions online or directions pre-google.maps-era we found ourselves circling around hoping to find a clear sign that pointed “This Way”, no such luck. We finally found a local to help with directions and to our surprise lots more people had our crazy idea that day.
Graffiti Highway, what was once apart of Route 61 (the main road), is now closed off and hidden behind some dirt hills right next to a cemetary. It’s a long stretch of assorted colored tourist tags on mangled uneven black top as far as the eye can see. A little upsetting I had completely forgot to bring some spray paint to add to the landmark, but it’s all in memory now.
While there we even got a quick show between some guys on long boards, quads and two off road Jeeps. It was super unexpected, seeing as how the road is not only closed off, but surrounded by steep forest hills and the ground itself being so damaged. I would say it’s worth the trip, but if you’re interested in going, I’d suggest looking at the below diagram to help you out. I couldn’t believe out of everyone who visits, no one’s thought to help post up more concise walking directions.
Here ya go…
You can use google maps, by inputting “Centralia, PA”. It will leave you right at a four way stop sign intersection Locust St & Centre Street. On Locust Street you can either follow route 42 or route 61, stay route 61, but you do not want to follow it through where the road bends. Saint Ignatius Cemetery will be on your righthand side with two lots you can park in. Lot 2 (see below) is closest to access Graffiti Highway. You’ll find it directly behind the No Trespassing and yellow turn sign, you may have to do some climbing.
Hope this helps!