The Graffiti Highway to Fire

For those writing, this is a great inspiration. Not just for horror or spooky atmosphere but also for how a culture can be damaged due to nature.  Or how about a town that has been cut off for centuries that has now been discovered.  How about an art statement by an artist character. What if the road was created with the names of the dead or those of heroic stature.  Maybe the road and town were done deliberately to begin a war. So many possibilities.

This 3/4 of a mile road only acquired the name Graffiti Highway in 2010. Before that, the name was Route 61. In 1993 the highway was closed due nearby underground fire that weakened the integrity of the road’s structure.


It was not until after 2007 that the abandoned highway began to see an increase in graffiti. This sudden increase in graffiti may or may not be tied into the movie Silent Hill, which came out in 2006 with the road being a location shoot.

Now just what city did this highway connect to? That would be of course Centralia, Pennsylvania.

Today Centralia is a modern day near-ghost town due to a fire. Not just any fire but an underground coal mine fire that, since 1962, has been burning. One long burning fire that cannot be extinguished.

Near-ghost town, what an odd phrase to see. The reason why the term “near-ghost town” is use is despite the dangerous conditions, people still live there. When the fire broke out, all the real estate was claimed by the state through eminent domain. A number of people refused to move and remained but that number dwindled down over the years. By 2013 only number seven citizens were left, and after a challenge with the state, these seven finally were allowed permission to live there legally until they died.

The reason for the fire, one would think, would be crystal clear. But apparently there are several possibilities as no one knows for certain. All the reason center around failure of the city to finish installing a fire-resistant clay barrier between each layer of the landfill to prevent a coal fire.

The first reason is the most common one to see. That the fire was started by an attempt to clean up the city dump. The fire to burn off trash has been done for years prior but at a different location. In this new location, no one considered the nearby coal when they proceeded to do the same action. So on May 27, 1962, they did what was commonly done and sadly that fire ignited through an unsealed seam.

A second reason centers on the day before, May 26th, with a trash hauler who dumped hot coals into the trash and thus the fire spread.

A third reason was proposed that the Bast Colliery fire of 1932 was never extinguished and that it slowly burned to the landfill are when it took off.

So whatever the reason was for the fire to begin, it did. And the results has been death, destruction, and loss of quality of life.



Graffiti Highway, Centralia Pennsylvania

Graffiti Highway

The state no longer owns Centralia’s ‘Graffiti Highway.’ Who does?

Pennsylvania’s illegal tourist attraction: The Graffiti Highway

Police pause issuing citations at Graffiti Highway

Pennsylvania’s ‘graffiti highway’: See it from the sky

Centralia, Pennsylvania,_Pennsylvania

Visiting Centralia: Pennsylvania’s Toxic Ghost Town

Centralia Mine Fire

I Live In Centralia, PA: It’s America’s Creepiest Ghost Town

Centralia, PA and the Graffiti Highway

How to find Graffiti Highway

Abandoned Route 61 “Graffiti Highway” Centralia, Pennsylvania

Centralia Fire – PBS – 1982

Centralia – Full Documentary

What’s Left in Centralia, Pennsylvania? : An Eerie, Final Look at America’s Ghost Town…



About jasterling

One part of my life is in the science of anthropology and archaeology where I did comparative work. My other life that I am now pursuing is writing along the lines of fantasy/sci fi fictional writing as my one way to stay sane in this other insane world. Please enjoy the selections you will find in my blog.
This entry was posted in Art, Artists, fire, general information, graffiti, highway, Inspiration, road, write, Writer, Writers and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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