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The Town That Was

The Town That Was
1:10:50 | 2007

Categories: History, Biography

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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Reviews: A 38 Fans
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Comments

null
t********m
February 1, 2015
B
null
m********m
January 23, 2015
A+
Donna Freet
January 20, 2015
A
I went to the Company Store in Centralia as a young child when my grandfather was an electrician in the mines. I remember a large fissure opening up along the road over time. It was a sad time for the people who lived there.
Walter Crawford
w********m
January 18, 2015
A
great movie
null
s********m
January 18, 2015
null
s********m
January 18, 2015
I've bin going threw centrelia since 1979 my father owns a cabin in numedia so we live in. Ashland and would go threw centrelia every weekend now there is nothing its sad
null
s********m
January 18, 2015
null
s********m
January 18, 2015
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b********m
January 17, 2015
The town that was: was a great film I give it A . But I was wondering has the fire gone up towards Artistes, or Down towards Ashland or near Mt Carmel at all. Is it just the town of Centrailia that's on fire. And on a map could u show how far it's spread. And our those people that were in the movie that are still leaving there still leaving there?
null
c********m
July 6, 2014
A
cheryl jack
n********m
May 5, 2014
A+
P.D.
o********m
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
d********m
April 18, 2014
A+
Billy Remulak
r********m
April 3, 2014
A+
Fantastic picture of a town that has gone from a living breathing world to a metaphor.
Chris Sebes
c********m
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
w********m
March 29, 2014
A+
Shawn Cicero
s********m
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
a********m
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
j********m
November 9, 2013
A+
William Haskins
w********m
October 11, 2013
A+
Norm Richards
n********m
September 2, 2013
A
Simply well done.
Elizabeth Dommel
s********m
August 11, 2013
A
Kimberly Thomason
k********m
August 7, 2013
A
Wonderful documentary on a town burned out from a raging coal fire and the people still living there who decided to stay although dangerous to keep the memory alive and probably some still hoping that maybe one day it will return. Its their home please respect it and the people if you visit.
Corey Mondello
c********m
August 20, 2012
thanks to the reagan administration, by not helping this town, the whole thing was destroyed, much like another asswipe, gw bush, who let new orleans get destroyed and half the middle east. conservative ideology does not help anyone, accept those who want to keep their dirty hands on the money and power. wonder if any "liberal" administrations have turned their back on the american people...i doubt it. the liberal states give the conservative states through the government welfare plan.