Welcome to The Graffiti Highway

In the abandoned town of Centralia, Pennsylvania lies the graffiti highway- a mile long abandoned section of route 61. The highway gets it’s name for it’s overabundance of street art where visitors make their mark. If you’re planning to take a walk down the highway, it can be accessed from a dirt parking lot aside of the St. Ignatius Cemetery. The highway hides behind a large mound of dirt, completely disguising it from the public eye. 

 

The pile of dirt (pictured above) conceals the highway so well that people passing by aren’t even aware of what lies behind it. 

If you’re unaware of what Centralia is, it’s probably because it’s one of Pennsylvania’s least known tourist attractions. Centralia is a modern ghost town, and it’s the absence of what lies there that attracts people the most. In the 1950’s the town’s population resided at around 2,000, but in May of 1962, there was a mine fire that forever changed the town. The fire sat atop a landfill and was unable to be extinguished, thus moving the fire directly beneath the town and the community. It wasn’t until nearly two decades later, in the 1980’s, when carbon monoxide gasses and emerging sinkholes posed a real threat to the community, forcing nearly all of them to migrate somewhere safer. As of 2014, the population was a whopping eight.

I only live thirty minutes from Centralia and I’ve only ever explored the town twice. Quite frankly, there isn’t much to explore besides the graffiti highway. The old streets where houses once resided are all barren, and there isn’t anything to see besides overgrown grass and cracked sidewalks. When I recently visited it was getting dark and a storm was approaching, so I didn’t want to wander too far and get caught in the storm, in minimal sunlight, with my camera equipment (talk about spooky). I admired the graffiti art that laid across the cracked asphalt- some funny, some obscene, and some extremely talented.

 

If you wish to visit Centralia yourself, proceed at your own risk. Stay away from any smoke or steam as it may be toxic. Happy travels!