Hejira

centralia, day two

march 9. 2000

(Another image intensive one, folks. Last time for a while, I promise.)

We managed to start out earlier today than we did yesterday. After viewing the video I had made yesterday (which I thought sucked, and is why I decided to concentrate mostly on still pictures today), we bought more film, and headed back to Centralia.

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We thought it odd that there was a sign for a town that, for all intents and purposes, no longer existed. At least we knew we were going in the right direction.

sign to Centralia

the washhouseinside the washhouse

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Our first stop was the wash house, a decrepit old structure that the miners would wash up in after a hard day's work. As you can see, the roof was full of holes and the floor of the building was covered with debris and garbage. There was a brief thunderstorm, which we waited out in my car, while eating a picnic lunch. Once the sun emerged, it turned out to be a devastatingly beautiful day.

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This picture doesn't do it justice, but the view of the mountains from here, coupled with the brilliant blue sky, was incredible. The little figure in the distance is Paul.

wow

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We visited several graveyards in Centralia. The one on the left seemed like it was in pretty bad shape. The fence around it was rusted and several of the stones were crooked and overgrown with weeds. The one on the right, which was an orthodox cemetery of some sort (I could tell by the crosses), was immaculate, with an elegant stone wall around it. Kind of ironic, because the landfill where the mine fire ignited sat right next to it.

the graveyardgraveyard redux

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The landfill. Filled with junk, garbage, broken down structures and dead trees. There was foul smelling sulfury smoke rising out of the ground, smoke from the burning coal under the ground. The landfill is on a hill, above where Centralia used to be, but the coal vein runs under the entire town, which is why it eventually had to be abandoned.

a shackthe landfill

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We did venture into town more, although there wasn't much to see. The largest building in town was the municipal building, which housed some fire trucks, an ambulance of some sort and the Centralia police. A police force for 46 people. At one point the police force came out the door and asked us if we needed any assistance. We told him no, we were just visiting.

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So that's about all there is right now. The Centralia Project is coming. I have 70 digital pictures, 4 rolls of film (two color and two black and white), and a stack of polaroids. They will all eventually be on the Centralia Project website, along with a more detailed account of the our days spent there.

So stay tuned.