The Town That Was

Categories: History, Biography
1hr 10min | 2007
In 1962, a trash fire ignited a seam of anthracite coal beneath Centralia, Pennsylvania, a once thriving mining town of over 1600 people. By the mid 1980's, giant plumes of smoke and deadly carbon monoxide gases billowed from fissures in the ground, the local highway cracked and collapsed, trees were bleached white and petrified, as the fire continued to rage unchecked.

It wasn't until a young boy nearly died after falling into a smoldering mine subsidence that the government was pressed into action. After estimating the cost of extinguishing the fire at over a half a billion dollars, the government opted to raze the town and relocate its residents.

Today, 11 die-hards remain. Filmed over a period of five years with interviews ranging from former residents to Congressmen, THE TOWN THAT WAS is an intimate portrait of John Lokitis, the youngest remaining Centralian, and his quixotic fight to keep alive a hometown that has literally disintegrated under his feet. His unbowed determination and steadfast refusal to acknowledge defeat reveal a man, a town, a region, and a way of life abandoned and forgotten

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Topics: Trash, Alternative Living, Closed Caption, Environment, Pollution, Pennsylvania, Mining Town
Reviews: A+ 34 Fans
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null
null
July 6, 2014
A
cheryl jack
cheryl jack
May 5, 2014
A+
P.D.
P.D.
April 28, 2014
A
This is a touching, poignant story on a variety of levels, at once. I was enthralled, immediately, upon first viewing. I couldn't find the film anywhere, thereafter, and had told several folks about it. I was heartened to find it at SnagFilms, and watched it again, last night.
Mike DiCello
Mike DiCello
April 18, 2014
A+
Billy Remulak
Billy Remulak
April 3, 2014
A+
Fantastic picture of a town that has gone from a living breathing world to a metaphor.
Chris Sebes
Chris Sebes
March 30, 2014
A
Great film about a thriving town that was forced off the land. Beautiful musical accompaniment. A bit too shaky on the camera work sometimes. But overall, a great film. I bought the DVD shortly after it was released.
Robert Vallies
Robert Vallies
March 29, 2014
A+
Shawn Cicero
Shawn Cicero
February 5, 2014
The sad part is the land will never go back, this land still sits on Multi-billion dollar Anthracite Coal so moving back or rebuilding is never going to happen. The sad part is they give the story of the boy who fell in, I seriously doubt it, I really think it was fabricated to pull heart strings. Nothing like that happened since. Right now, they are digging up the hills around the land making there money trying to pull it from underneath. If it got more attention it would end.
Andy K
Andy K
December 16, 2013
B+
I had know about Centralia over the decades so a few years ago I realized it was about two hours away so a friend and I put our bikes on the car and went to Centralia and biked the "streets". It was so-so as the fires are mostly out directly under Centralia. There was a little smoke and some sulfur smell. But seeing the film made me realize how big the town once was. From what I can tell the only house there was the one use as the backdrop of many of the interviews. The town now is mainly the cemetery and a young forest that has grids of streets in it. Apparently locals go there to stroll like in a park.
jim
jim
November 9, 2013
A+