This Haunting Road Trip Through Pennsylvania Ghost Towns Is One You Won’t Forget
Fill up the gas tank and get ready to hit the road on a haunting road trip you’ll never forget. But, first, come along on a virtual tour of some of the towns that sit forgotten by time along the Pennsylvania landscape.
A couple of notes before we start our virtual journey. If you head out on the road for real – and we hope you do! – always ensure that you are on public property. Avoid trespassing on private property and stay alert to your surroundings to ensure your safety. But, just as important, have a blast! Off we go on our haunting road trip. (See our detailed directions here.)
2. Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike
Let’s start where most Pennsylvanians’ road trips start: On the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This time, however, you’re heading to an abandoned stretch of the turnpike that now sits abandoned. The 13 miles haven’t been used since 1968. You’ll have to leave your car behind – no motor vehicles permitted – but you can bike or hike down the abandoned railroad which takes you through tunnels that, once pristine, are now littered with graffiti and covered on the outside with greenery.
Centralia is, perhaps, the most famous of all ghost towns in Pennsylvania. A fire started in the mines in 1962 and continued to burn, eventually chasing townspeople from Centralia. Today, less than a dozen people remain in their homes in Centralia where the fire continues to burn to this day and could conceivably burn for several hundred more years. The rest of the town has been officially condemned. Interested in learning more? Click here to watch a five minute film on Centralia.
4. Fricks Locks
Once a bustling 18th century village along the Schuylkill Canal, both Fricks Locks and the canal now sit abandoned. Fortunately for ghost hunters and others to whom the ghost town beckons, Fricks Locks earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places to ensure its preservation. Join a tour of Fricks Locks, which is held every other Saturday from May through October, led by a guide from the East Coventry Historical Commission.
5. Eckley Miners’ Village
Time stands still at Eckley Miners’ Village, which was founded in 1854. Today, the village is a museum that takes visitors back to a simpler time. Stroll through the village to see buildings stuck in time: Slater Picker’s House (1854), Immaculate Conception Church (1861), and the Company Store (1968). Plan your tour of Eckley Miners’ Village by visiting the village’s official website here.
6. Concrete City
Concrete City is, quite literally, a concrete city of what was then modern day housing built in 1911 by Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad for whom it perceived as its most important employees. Those who spoke native English and who worked in such respected positions as technician or shopman earned the privilege of living in the housing complex that featured amenities like street lamps, a community swimming pool, and a baseball field. The buildings housed 40 of an estimated 1,700 employees. Concrete City became a ghost town in pretty much the blink of an eye when the company and miners abandoned it in 1924.
Ricketts, a lumber town turned ghost town, played a pivotal role in the development of Pennsylvania in the early 1900s. Long ago, from 1890 to 1913 to be exact, Ricketts was a busy, happy town with homes, businesses, a two-room schoolhouse, and a hotel comprising the downtown area during its heyday. But eventually the boom turned to bust and by 1914 only a handful of residents remained in Ricketts. The rest set off in search of better opportunities.
Like many towns in Pennsylvania, Fallbrook earned its place in history books because of its massive success as a coal mining town in the late 1860s. By the turn of the 20th century, however, the coal had all been mined, forcing miners and their families to abandon the town. Fallbrook has now stood abandoned for over a century, becoming a popular spot for tourists and ghost hunters to visit. In fact, ghost hunters claim that Fallbrook Cemetery is haunted.
9. Ghost Town Trail
Let’s now end our virtual road trip the way we started it: On foot or on bike. The 36 mile Ghost Town Trail passes by the remains of what were once vibrant towns, such as Bracken and Scott Glenn. Click here to plan your trek along the trail in Indiana County.
Ready to road trip? Or, maybe this isn’t the exact route you would take. Learn about other famous ghost towns scattered throughout Pennsylvania by clicking here.