My friend Paul mentioned Centralia to me one night when we were hanging out. Since we had nothing much to do, we checked it out on the Internet. There was a website, and I began reading about the disaster. The more I read about Centralia, the more intrigued I was by it, and I realized it was probably only an hour drive from where I live. While other kids were planning trips to the beach for Spring Break, Paul and I decided we would go to Centralia.

Paul and the time capsule

I have always been drawn to the idea of the remains of the apocalypse, for some inexplicable reason. Cities and societies rise, fall and fade away, and they leave ruins and pieces of their lives behind. The Parthenon, Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids of Giza all give clues to the people who lived in the times that these structures were built. What's left of the lives of the people is what I'm interested in. And while Centralia certainly can't be compared to the historical importance of the Great Pyramids, it is a sort of Modern Ruin and the story of the people who once lived there deserves to be told. I guess this is an archeological expedition, in a way. I wanted to document the remains of the town and the people who lived here, because eventually, all traces of the town will be gone and all that will remain of Centralia is that which resides in the memories of its former residents.

I don't intend this site to be a store of scientific information and facts, but rather my experience visiting Centralia. My aims in documenting this adventure were not overtly political, although I do think the circumstances that resulted in the destruction and abandonment of Centralia were ridiculous and could have been easily avoided. To read more about the circumstances, please see the Historical Background page.