Centralia, PA by Rogue Valley from the album: Rogue Valley Geese in the Flyway

Let Rogue Valley, my favorite band, from Minneapolis, Minnesota be your guide to the modern ghost town of Centralia, PA

'Pennsylvania 61
through the very heart for some
where industry has long been gone
looks like any old abandoned town
it looks like any other place
forgotten and left to waste
its residents have long been chased away

steam rises from the fields
smoke-clouds skim the streets
a fire burns underneath the fallen city

this old mining community
is hotter than the planet mercury
a statuette without a face
disfigured and erased

four hundred acres all unseen
been burning since 1960
the government gave it up
paid money for all the people to move out
they took their pictures and precious things
their families, their histories
level it all, let nature reclaim this town

smoke rises from the hills
like some kind of poison spell
the mines are smoldering still
after fifty years

they’ll burn for a hundred more
hollowing a harrowing core
the coal went when the soul went
the other way down
Pennsylvania 61

level it all

don’t look back on Pennsylvania 61’

You can listen to Rogue Valley’s fantastic brand of Americana at their Bandcamp, like them on Facebook, and find out more about their expansive ‘Four Seasons’ albums through their website.

The old grain elevator is standing there still. The Murrieta Sentinel, the tallest building in town. Young Emma Hale took photographs of it with that box camera of hers. It’s standing there right alongside where the tracks of the California Southern Railroad once ran through town. The trains stopped running in 1935 and it really brought an end to the tourism from the Hot Springs down the road - Emma Hale worked at the springs and walked the six miles there and back every day - and then the Fountain House Hotel burned to the ground that very same year.

Things got real quiet for a real long time. Just the dry goods store - well, that’s the donut shop now - we got a filling station, a post office. My grandparents bought wood paneling from the scrap shop on Main Street for their log cabin out in the then-quiet wine country. It was calm for about fifty years here.

The great interstate system was born and a concrete ribbon was poured through the middle of town, parallel to Old Highway 395, and I-15 brought waves of new commuter families looking for a home. The horse ranches gave way to housing tracts and I found myself here, only a few years old, running through the construction rubble of the residential developments. My father would drive us down the winding back road of Washington Ave. to the only hobby shop in town.

I grew up here, safe in perfect suburban summers that tasted like hot, wet asphalt, wrapped in mild falls with Thanksgiving and Christmas and the long nights all alive with the smell of familysmoke, and every house dim and warm. I first fell in love here with a girl that moved out from Levittown, Pennsylvania. We hung wind chimes in trees in the parking lots of the monochrome retail plazas, and she wrapped her arms around me in the dry creek bed that the train tracks once ran parallel to.

Yes, in 1935 the last train rolled through town and they tore up the tracks, in 1995 my father and I were pulling trading cards from foil packs, in 2005 I was in love and was not looking back. And that old grain elevator is standing there still.

americanguide:

#AmericanGuideWeek starts TOMORROW. That’s right - TOMORROW. Start Instagtramming, kodachroming, scribbling, writing, fiddling, drawing, drawling and hashtagging.
SHOW US YOUR STATE. BE A GUIDE.
Tag your Tumblr photos, illustrations and writing that describe the America you live in and the America you travel through — people, places and things. This is a collaboration, folks: a living, Tumblifying documentary about the USA. You’ll be reblogged or featured on The American Guide.   
Join our 19,000 followers on Tumblr—Follow your guide and see America.


Click here for more on The American Guide media project; click here for more on how to become an American Guide. Check out the WPA-made inspiration for this image and most importantly… REBLOG THE POSTER AND SPREAD THE WORD.

americanguide:

#AmericanGuideWeek starts TOMORROW. That’s right - TOMORROW. Start Instagtramming, kodachroming, scribbling, writing, fiddling, drawing, drawling and hashtagging.

SHOW US YOUR STATE. BE A GUIDE.

Tag your Tumblr photos, illustrations and writing that describe the America you live in and the America you travel through — people, places and things. This is a collaboration, folks: a living, Tumblifying documentary about the USA. You’ll be reblogged or featured on The American Guide.   

Join our 19,000 followers on Tumblr—Follow your guide and see America.

Click here for more on The American Guide media project; click here for more on how to become an American Guide. Check out the WPA-made inspiration for this image and most importantly… REBLOG THE POSTER AND SPREAD THE WORD.


Elsa ate from her lunch box, watching the light die and the dark come up out of the ground. When they stopped at a town the elevators loomed high and angular against the darkening sky, and the spout of a watertank outside the window was like the upraised trunk of a huge elephant. A little later, when it was black as a wall outside, the porter came in and lighted the kerosene lamps at the ends of the car. The girl leaned her head against the dark reflecting glass and watched the strange, unknown, lonely country flow past like a banner of darkness stated with tiny ephemeral lights. After a while she slept, and when she woke they were in Fargo.
Wallace Stegner, The Big Rock Candy Mountain (1943)
swanngalleries:

Montana Circa 1935
Traveling by train cross-country may not be the most popular transportation option any more, but the railroad has always had a certain romantic quality. By Gustav Krollman.
From Vintage Posters, August 1st, 2012

swanngalleries:

Montana Circa 1935

Traveling by train cross-country may not be the most popular transportation option any more, but the railroad has always had a certain romantic quality. By Gustav Krollman.

From Vintage Posters, August 1st, 2012

And here for the first time in my life I saw my beloved Mississippi River, dry in the summer haze, low water, with its big rank smell that smells like the raw body of America itself because it washes it up. Rock Island - railroad tracks, shacks, small downtown section; and over the bridge to Davenport, same kind of town, all smelling of sawdust in the warm midwest sun.
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
cardboardamerica:

West Wind Motel - McLean, Texas 
U.S. 66 and Interstate 40 Phone HR 9-2445 Box 201 - McLean, Texas Located in the heart of cattle, oil and ranching area of Texas. Television - wall to wall carpet - refrigerated air - panel ray heat. Good restaurant near by. E.J. and Grace Windom Owners and Managers

cardboardamerica:

West Wind Motel - McLean, Texas 

U.S. 66 and Interstate 40
Phone HR 9-2445
Box 201 - McLean, Texas
Located in the heart of cattle, oil and ranching area of Texas.
Television - wall to wall carpet - refrigerated air - panel ray heat. Good restaurant near by.
E.J. and Grace Windom
Owners and Managers

mainefrontier:

Aroostook County picnic, ca 1910, photo by Isaac Simpson

mainefrontier:

Aroostook County picnic, ca 1910, photo by Isaac Simpson

cardboardamerica:

The Milk Farm - Dixon, California
This very unusual restaurant is located 20 miles west of Sacramento on U.S. 40. The colorful, informal atmosphere, and the excellent home-style cuisine attract a daily average of 2000 satisfied customers. Kiddies love to eat under the big “Moo-Cow”

cardboardamerica:

The Milk Farm - Dixon, California

This very unusual restaurant is located 20 miles west of Sacramento on U.S. 40. The colorful, informal atmosphere, and the excellent home-style cuisine attract a daily average of 2000 satisfied customers. Kiddies love to eat under the big “Moo-Cow”

mainefrontier:

Aroostook Co., Maine, 1940

mainefrontier:

Aroostook Co., Maine, 1940